Tonight I was minding my own business, getting ready to go to the swimming pool for my thrice-weekly hour of jumping around in the water like a lunatic at aqua aerobics when I saw a tweet pop up on my computer screen.
"Saw Yes on 8 protesters at Mills & Main" wrote Luna-X, one of my hometown twitterers. She is someone I have never met, but know as a kindred spirit from her tweets.
Proposition 8 on the California ballot seeks to make gay marriage, which is now legal in our fine state, illegal AGAIN. I would be crushed to see it pass.
"I have markers and cardboard - you wanna go?" I tweeted back.
And just like that, a counter protest was born. I put on my cute dress (might as well look nice if you are going to be standing on a street corner) and my Superhero necklace (for love and power!), made a "No on H8TE" sign and headed out.
I got to the very wide, very busy street corner before Luna-X and there were only two sign-wavers, standing back from the street a bit. I could not see their signs, but I thought I would alert them to my presence.
I stuck my fingers in my mouth and whistled. I can whistle LOUD. To my great surprise, the protesters smiled and waved and then shook their signs "No on 8"!
Turns out the Yes on 8 people had been there and gone already. Luna-X showed up and we did the happy hugging of internet friends who have never met before. Soon, about 6 more of our people showed up, then one confused looking lady with a tiny Yes on 8 bumper sticker.
I greeted her warmly and we chatted for a minute. I told her the scoop that her pals had come and gone, and she said she would probably leave. She seemed pretty nice. We agreed that we were proud to be Americans and that there was no reason to hate.
"What group are you with?" she asked.
"We aren't organized," I said. "Somebody saw the Yes people and put the word out. It is the power of the internet." Ah, crap, giving secrets away. Now those people will know about the Internet!
Then two of her fellow believers showed up with signs and they all stood in one group, with the No on 8 people spread out a little more. Our signs were definitely better because theirs were printed on flimsy plastic and crumpled up and were hard to see.
Both sides got their share of honks, with us getting about 90 percent to their 10 percent. But they were a smaller group, and some of our supporters went round and round the block. Our favorite honk came from a city bus. Either that or a little girl of about nine who leaned out the window and did a full-on, fist pumping cheer.
One of the cute lesbians talked with the Yes people quite a bit. The two ladies were cool, but there was one pinch-faced unhappy looking middle aged guy who was determined to be cranky. Sarah, the lesbian, had grown up in the church and had wanted to be a missionary, so she could speak the Christian lingo and she said they had a good conversation.
Sarah is in the middle - her sign says "Yes on 8 = Hate"
As darkness fell and it began to get cold, the Yes people left, with the nicest lady wishing us "Good luck" as she went.
I stayed a bit more and then headed off to the gym. All in all, a good day in democracy.