Culture / Life / News & Politics

The Four Children: A Passover Guide to Equality

We are smack dab in the middle of Passover, which my gentile friends and non-practicing Jewish brethren and sistren and gender non-conformren friends might not realize.

Every year, my people gather around the table to tell the tale of Moses and the Jewish people and our exodus from Egypt where we were slaves under Pharaoh.

Lucky for you, that’s just about where my tutelage ends.

I will, however, refer to one section of the Haggadah (the book we use to tell the story) called The Four Sons (or The Four Children in more modern Haggadahs).  We read four questions about the meaning of Passover in the voice of four different kinds of children who represent various perspectives and personalities.  We read their questions and customized answers so that anyone coming from any angle can arrive at the same conclusions.  We were slaves.  Now we’re free.  We are so happy about that.  Basically.

In honor of the recent SCOTUS hearings, I bring you The Four Children:  A Passover Guide to Equality.
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The Wise Kid 480px-Sonia_Sotomayor_in_SCOTUS_robe_crop

How could it be that there are citizens of this great country who are denied equal rights guaranteed us under the constitution?

To this kid, you respond:

The constitution is a document that serves as our foundation.  It is our government representatives and legislators who are responsible for taking words written over 200 years ago and interpreting them to respond to the needs of a modern society.  As you may know from taking the bus for the first time or welcoming a new sibling, change can be difficult, even for grown ups.

As is often the case with major overhauls of the law, our legislators are slow to make changes unless they are absolutely sure that no one will actually notice when they finally do make those changes.  It’s like going to work and doing the job you want to have instead of the job you already have so that your eventual promotion is nothing more than a technicality.

Stale DOMA lawyer Paul Clement said that “if 10 years from now, there were only nine states left that didn’t have gay marriage, the federal government might be fully entitled to force the remaining states to recognize such unions.

In 1967 when The U.S. Supreme Court ruled anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional, 16 states still banned interracial marriages.  Perhaps we won’t have to wait until we have only 9 states left standing, but we’ve got to keep on trucking because all roads lead to equality even though we may be doing our fair share of off-roading.
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The Wicked Kid 6a00d8341c730253ef017ee636872e970d-800wi

Why make life so hard for yourselves?  On paper, it doesn’t make any sense.  When two women get married, they have to pay for two diamond engagement rings and two designer dresses and decide who, if anyone, will carry the other across the threshold of their house that they have to work extra hard to pay for as they hit their heads against two glass ceilings.  They have to suffer hormonal shifts from two menstrual cycles and then hot flashes from two menopauses.  Their children must suffer two guilt trips from two mothers asking why they never call and their spouses-to-be will have to suffer two mothers-in-law. Seems foolish and selfish and wrong.

To this kid, you respond:

Sure are a lot of obstacles, not to mention second-class citizenship.  Why WOULD any woman want to marry another woman?  Must be a powerful love.
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The Simple Kid ap110414021409

Why can’t gays get married? 

To this kid you answer:

People tend to fear what they don’t know and they dread being proved stupid. Galileo was sentenced to life imprisonment for his heretical beliefs that the sun and not Earth was the center of our universe.  Equal rights for gay people is the round world flying in the face of flat-world thinking.  We’ll get there but there may be stormy seas ahead.
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The Kid who Does Not Know How to Ask a Question 220px-Elena_Kagan_Official_SCOTUS_Portrait_(2013)

You say to that kid:

You are living history.  This is a time to recognize oppression, join forces with your allies and fight for what’s right.  This fight is not always pretty.  People become emotionally charged and mean-spirited and even aggressively hostile when they feel the world is changing before they are ready to change with it.  Don’t let the haters get you down.  This battle for civil rights is like legislative detox – your skin might break out and you might sweat profusely and become uncomfortably bloated and gaseous but, at the end of the detox, the nation will be cleansed and we’ll all radiate a healthy glow of equality.

Fight for equality with love in your heart, and you will always be in the right no matter what the laws says.

Now who’s up for a hard-boiled egg and some gefilte fish?

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  1. Can’t stop laughing at that pic of the Wicked Kid. Also – don’t make me eat gefilte fish.

  2. maybe it’s just the day, but this made me weepy. you are very wise.

    • It’s definitely the day as was yesterday and the day before that because we can feel each other’s pain and hope even behind the quips. I’m right there with you reading all of the tweets, blog posts and articles about equality. All choked up.

  3. This is frigging brilliant. And big-hearted. And a beautiful way to weave the two big ole happenings together.

    Also thank you for not making me look at a picture of Clarence Thomas. Am I the only one who can only think of you-know-what on a Coke can when I see an image of him? Whole thing usually ruins my appetite. So thank you for that. And sorry for the brain worm.

    • Thank you, Polly! I wrote a lot of words, words, words before I got to this piece. Had to get past the “AND ANOTHER THING…” tone to find the Political/Passover mash up to celebrate these exciting days. I might have added Clarence in the first draft, but he didn’t make the cut for this one.

  4. Har! And serves him right. Chump. Er, Honorable Chump.

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