Fairness, not rights
does not compute
So we know that fear of gays trumps fear of being drafted, and not just in rural Ohio. Not after Fallujah, but we're not there yet. So why does this matter?
First, the gay rights groups deserve a lot of blame, but not for expecting basic human rights. Put simply, they're still amateurs. They don't get that people don't like gays. It's hard because most of the leaders live in gay enclaves in urban America, and only remember their childhoods as something to escape from.
Personally, if I hear another whining moron say we need to appeal to Southern whites, I will personally hit them over the head with a bat. We don't. Because they're the past. The GOP is going to regret courting Dixie, because Southern whites are shrinking, not growing. The culture issues killed us with....hispanics. Who, when it counts, are as, if not more, conservative in their personal lives. It's the GOP who won the culture argument this round with them.
But gay groups keep assuming that people will see the light and endorse their rights as humans.
Look, if civil rights had been a ballot initative and not a law, well, we'd still have Jim Crow. You think Michigan would have been any more liberal than Alabama? Please. As long as you let people vote, they will vote against your rights.
The cold, hard fact is that if there was a ballot iniative to restrict the rights of cat owners, it would pass. Much less gay people.
My first experience in this was when I was in college. I was watching Tony Brown's Journal, a black public affiars show on PBS. They had a lesbian activist debate some minister up in Boston. The audience was black and you could see from the look on her face that she thought she was in a friendly crowd and the minister was some kind of freak.
Well, I took one look at that, and realized that white people are often woefully ignorant about blacks. She was in a hostile crowd and didn't even know it. It was as if someone gave a non-soccer loving American a Celtic jersey and sat them in a section of Rangers fans. The cluelessness was amusing to see, because the poor woman didn't get why the audience was so hostile to her. She had no clue. None. Zero.
As the audience's openly derisive and hostile questions hammered her, she was clearly surprised and not a little astonished. I was laughing. Why? Because I knew she was in trouble. Any sentinent black person knew she was in trouble. Because blacks are seriously homophobic.
Well, gay rights groups have framed this as an issue of rights and the only people in America who think faggots have rights are faggots. Even liberal Upper East Siders would be pissed to see their handsome 17 year old son liplocking with his male best friend. All those HRC giving matrons might tolerate a little LUG from the girls, but they expect the people giving their sons blowjobs to have tits and a genetically -created vagina. Lesbianism is cute until you take it seriously. As a way to pass the time, sure, as someone you bring to holiday dinners, not so fast....
Gays will not only never have the right to marry but never be taken seriously until it is no longer an issue of rights. It has to be reframed as an issue of fairness. When most people see two men getting married, it's about as visually logical as seeing a dog fuck a cat. It does not compute.
It has to be reframed as an issue of fairness and families. Which is what it is. Stridently claiming that "I should be married" works as well as a black man squiring his pretty blonde girlfriend to a debutante ball in Montogomery, Alabama in 1962. And you got about the same result, without the lyinching from a lamppost. Instead the issue has to be about families, and caring for the sick and the cruel things families do. That's going to work a lot better than claiming rights.
People think civil rights happened because Martin Luther King made a few good speeches. Wrong. Most white people were more than glad to countenance the repression of blacks, and not just in the South, as long as they didn't have to see it. When they confronted it, they were stunned at the caliber of man who would set a dog on a teenage girl or curse a five year old. Well, a lot of people are stunned that if asked, they would ban gay marriage. Well, no shit. Of course they would. The thing to do is to make it about laws and judges and not opinions.
But what needs to happen is two things: one, the utter hypocrisy of the GOP needs to be hammered home. How is it OK for Dick Cheney's daughter to be gay and in a gay relationship, while the GOP runs on a platform of hate. Gays have to be willing to play some really nasty hardball with their enemies, for one.
Second, people need to stress the stories of how families were ruined because they couldn't legally protect their relationship. How unfair it was that other people could now make those decisions for you, when all you were doing was living your life.
ACT UP went dormant as the treatment for AIDS got better. Well, if you want the legal protection of the law for your relationships, people are going to have to fight like hell. They can't call pushing back a ballot amendment a good thing, because it's defensive. Civil rights happened because it was personalized. Because Emmitt Till was tortured and tossed in a river for a whistle. Because it was humanized. Right now, mostly, you see smug gay men blathering about rights and people spreading lies as arguments. When you see two men say they could care less if the Anglican Church splits over gays, it sends a bad message to people that this is selfish hedonism and not the way people live.
Showing up outside a closeted gay politician's house one Sunday with a press conference may not be nice, but it shows you're playing for keeps.
A lot of people deny this, but Americans hate to be seen as unfair. More than anything. Americans pride themselves on it. That's what you attack. Many of those same voters didn't see real people behind those iniatives, just something they don't quite understand. They didn't see any consequences behind it, any thing which would hurt them. Like a right to privacy in their lives. Too many gay politicians think it's a battle about being liked and understood. It isn't. People still dislike blacks, but they can't get away with discriminating against them. And the reason is that it became an issue of fairness, not of preference. If you say this is unfair, and doesn't affect your lives, you'll do better than talking about rights to people who don't think you deserve any.
posted by Steve @ 8:41:00 AM