I have disagreed with Jeff on many things over the years. I have been angry and disappointed about decisions he has made, I was a part of a civil disobedience that spawned a tent city because of Jeff's vote on a sidewalk ordinance. But never, in all of my active years in this community have I or anyone I align myself with ever thought it would be OK to target Jeff's sexuality. This, like throwing a rock through a window, does nothing to further civil discourse. These kinds of actS only divide us.
There have been many issues over the last few years that have divided our community. Conference centers, sidewalk ordinances, RV parking bans, noise ordinances, nuclear subs, nuclear free zones, port protests, etc. All of this focus on division is destroying us. If we don't find some common ground, nothing we do will ever revitalize our city. We are entering into a period of great uncertainty and perhaps very tough economic times. The one thing that will get us through it is a strong community where the members stand by one another.
In interpretations of the Chinese language, the symbol for 'crisis' is comprised of two symbols, one meaning danger, the other meaning opportunity. I see this as two divergent paths before us.
The dangerous path is one where we let this heinous act go as if it were nothing, as if because Jeff is a public figure he should expect or deserves this kind of treatment. That response, I fear, would open the door to more hateful actions and even violence in our community. Violence like the kind that took place outside of Jake's a few weeks ago, when a group of gay men were attacked by a group of straight men amidst homophobic slurs.
The opportunity that we have is to pull together as a community, and not only to support Jeff, but to send a strong and clear message to the perpetrators of these acts that they are weak, that they have no power over Jeff or anyone else in our community, and that we do not, no matter who it's directed against or how we feel about them personally or politically, tolerate hate speech or crimes in our community. We do this not because we magically agree with Jeff all of a sudden, in fact we shouldn't do for Jeff at all, we do it for ourselves, our neighbors, our children, for the future of our community, and because hate has no place here.