Friday, August 13, 2010

Revolutions...Backlash...and Prop 8

Hello everyone...before we get started, I have just one thing to get off my chest. Judge Vuaghn Walker lifted the stay on his prop 8 decision effective on the 18th of this, from a couple who made it in on the last window of opportunity...


Get in there and make it happen people. We never know when that door is gonna slam shut again.

But this little nugget of joy actually brings us to the subject of todays post....revolution. Its a word that gets thrown around alot these days and usually means that something is not going the way the user hopes. Judge Walkers ruling has stirred alot of pots....anger and not-so veiled threats of violence are becoming increasingly commonplace sentiments expressed by those who appose gay marriage. And of course, those feelings are whipped into a frenzy by irresponsible pundits seeing a chance to gather the dissaffected to themselves.

Originally, I wanted to write this post in the week following Judge Walkers ruling...but...because I wanted to focus on the positive aspects of the rulling, and because I don't think its good to give too much weight to the crazy extremist end of the spectrum, I let it go. After all, the things I was seeing in the news were just isolated incidents...or so I thought. Then, Maggie Gallagher, her anti-gay matrimonial majesty, came along with her own call to revolution that has reinvigorated the idea that such extreme thoughts are the only way to preserve their vision of society. But first...the background...

Gunplay has been coming up alot in public discourse and virtually within minutes of the Prop 8 decision came an angry backlash. While the republican party may have been silent on the issue...their ultra-conservative base was not. Here I was, all happy over the decision and going about my "marry" way when I came upon a post in Good As You spreading along an image that originated in the uber-conservative website Free Republic...who's followers refer to themselves as  freepers. The name always remindes me of zombie B movies and these guys can always be counted on for the most horrific of opinions. This is their solution to gay marriage...

From the LA Times, My second encounter with heightened anti-gay hostility came in the form of a vandalism in at a Los Angelas museum. An angry museum goer ripped the two men off the top of this cake sculpture and threw around the museum, ostensibly in a fit of post Prop 8 anger.

By themselves these incidents don't amount to much. They are just the angry reponses of individuals with no other outlets for there anger. It wasn't until more stories began to surface that a weird pattern began to take shape.

Then their comes the ever present, and completely unrealistic republican fantasy of changing the 14th amendment. Its due process and equall protection clauses being the cornerstones of the majority of our rights as American citizens...its also the portion of the constitution most inconvenient when you want to....say...stop latino people on the street and demand proof of their citizenship...or prevent gay people from sueing the state for marriage rights. Well, when asked about whether or not altering the 14th amendment is an appropriate tactic for halting gay marriage did not immediately deny the possibility. from The Washington Blade:

 "I haven’t looked at the impact of the decision yet as far as what, if any, action needs to be taken. I’ve been on the immigration issue, the defense authorization bill and this START treaty, so I really have not had an opportunity to talk to my people about it."

Excuse me Senator McCain, but whats to discuss? Should this answer not have been an automatic "HELL NO"? First, it takes far too much much to alter the U.S. constitution and those who like the idea as a way of dealing with uppity minorities simply don't have that kind of support...not even from the freeper community. Secondly I have to wonder if the Senator is going into his own freeper territory after his last angry rant on the senate floor about the Matthew Sheppard Hate Crimes Act. But what the hell? If things don't go the way we want, we will just destroy everyones protections so we can return america to 1950? They want to go back to a time when racial minorities had no visibility and even fewer rights...abortions happened in back alleys..and gays we sent to mental institutions? This is what America means to them? Not..."give me your poor, your tired, your huddles masses yearning to be free"....nope...we want things the way they used to be and we will rattle our sabres, brandish our semi-automatic rifles, and detroy the foundations of our liberty to make it happen... Madness

However damaging the Senators intentions may be, I still considered them as separate from the events I labeled above. I wrote it off as angry people making their own angry statements about events they feel helpless to alter....But then......

Along came her anti-matrimonialness, Maggie Gallagher with a call to arms to support her particular brand of "culture war"...(emphasis mine)

"In a few weeks the Republicans will produce a document that purports to lay bare core GOP principles. Do they care enough about principle to stand against Walker's judicial tyranny, his outrageous attempt to brand decent, good Americans as hateful and irrational bigots because they voted for marriage as one man and one woman? We shall see.

But, I suspect they won't. I remember how the Republican establishment responded in the early days to the abortion issue. I remember how the wives (like Cindy McCain) were outraged that their husbands could be so backward as to oppose abortion rights. Too many pols see the wind now at their backs and will succumb to the temptation to dodge the tough bullet -- to avoid the media hit and the gay rights' dollars. Who will have the courage to speak for the majority here and our constitutional system of government?"

Gay rights dollars? this woman for real? If our dollars were really that powerfull this fight would already be over. Also...who really needs to have courage to speak for a majority? True courage is in standing up for the little guy and try as she might to cast themselves as such...NOM and those they represent are NOT the little guy. And finally, its rich that she makes mention of our constitutional system of government when she is trying her hardest to get the American public to ignore certain parts of that same constitution and the governmental system which maintains it.

But soon after, she gets to the  point. Its not about fairness or voters rights. Her mission is about whipping up anger, hatred, and disenfranchisment in the American public and that anger has only one

American politics are in a quasi-revolutionary phase.

The people, symbolized first in the eruptions of Tea Parties, are rebelling against elites who believe they can ignore our voices and our values...

...Rush Limbaugh had his finger on the truth. In the nearly half-hour speech he gave after the Proposition 8 ruling ("the American people are boiling over!"), Rush said that Walker "did not just slap down the will of 7 million voters.

Those 7 million voters were put on trial -- a kangaroo court where everything was stacked against them. ... Those of you who voted for Prop 8 in California are guilty of hate crimes. You were thinking discrimination. That's what this judge has said! Truly unprecedented."

Yes, it is. We are entering into a new phase in the battle not only for marriage, but for self-government, for the legitimacy of the views and values of the Ameircan people.

This is a fight we cannot dodge, and must and will win.

Buckle down, it's going to be a ride!
Using battle as a metaphor in politics is nothing new. I have done it myself in many a posting. The issue here at hand here is that you will never find gay people arming themselves for real combat...or throwing the metaphorical noose over a tree limb in order to intimidate someone...which is what that gun pictures intent really was. Metaphor and analogies are one thing, but when it has the potential to spill over into real action we have a tremendous responsibility to select our words carefully.

There is so much anger and division being brought about in the American public because of completely irresponsible punditry like this. If you scare the people bad enough, someone...somewhere is going to act on that fear and a tragedy will result. The simmering anger running through the hearts of some people is evidenced in the examples I gave above and also in stories of tea baggers spitting on politicians on the steps of Congress. People like Maggie Gallagher have no problem tapping into that emotion and further intensifying it to serve her purpose.

My father...bless a staunch conservative, and lives on a constant diet of Limbaugh, Glen Beck, and Ann Coulter. I can't tell you how many times he has brought up the notion that America is heading for civil  war because "liberalls are shoving their ideals down our throats". I fully believe that this is not a conclusion he arrived at on his own, but one carefully cultivated by the conservative talking heads he listens to. They have used peoples fear of change in small but horribly destructive ways. The phantoms they are conjured to scare us, change with every presidency that they are not in power...first it was the Clintons selling America to China. Now its Obama and and a laundry list of gripes.....and us, the gay community, for daring to be treated as equal citizens. We are the phantoms they raise up to incite fear that the American way of life is in danger when all their really is to fear itself.

To my own father I have to say "could you fire that first shot?" When it means real death will it be worth the price? Will your pundits stand behind you then...or will they decry you as crackpots? Will Maggie Gallagher and Rush Limbaugh stand with you on the front lines or will they retreat to whatever hole they can find to hide in? Would your sense of rightness then vanish in the cold light of day when you have to look into the eyes of another American that you have raised a weapon against...when you have to look into his eyes and see an enemy instead of a fellow American. Will you then realise that he had a family and aspirations for his life, just like you? dad has been to war...I know that if he felt it what he was fighting for was right, he would do what he needs to, having seen the awfull realities of war. He still has terrible nightmares about his days in Vietnam that leaving him crawling on the floor, screaming in his sleep...he knows what war really means. I also believe that their are people out their who feel that standing up against "the liberal agenda" or "the gay agenda" is a just cause. They don't know us as people...we might as well be the communist menace for all they know of us. Among those, there are people out there who, at some point, may pull that trigger because they don't know the reality of war.... who bears that blood?...not only them to be sure, but also everyone who created and sustains the idea of culture war.

There is no "us against them" but everyday we are made to believe that there is...and many people believe in it as the gospel truth. Right now it may be all talk and jingoism...when I see the look of fear and resolution in the eyes of men like my father I realise that there is a possibility that someone can cross that line from imagined patriotism..into horrible action. Anger like that needs a focus. We have been made that focus by people like Rush Limbaugh and Maggie Gallagher and the like. Because we do not fit their vision of America and because it helps them acrue listeners. But I don't think even they understand that someday, someone might actually take their calls to arms literally.

So...I leave it up to you, the reader to draw your own conclusions. Are these isolated incidents? The last gasps of dying prejudice? Or the markers of an undercurrent of hostility focused squarely on the gay community? I leave it for you to decide.

Until next time dear readers...


  1. I think these demonstrations of frustration are the last vestiges of hate and misunderstanding in a small minority of people who just cannot accept the ruling. Some are people who have simply bought into the idea of gays as evil and are so zealous nothing can reach them. The others believe the propaganda that has been spread around by organizations like NOM in their infamous commercials and speeches: gay marriage will fundamentally change my standing as an American (and possibly as a person) in a somehow vague way. And a further note: anyone who casually posts a picture of a weapon as a "solution" is an ignorant and naive fool who knows nothing of the real world.

    The politicians quoted above are doing what politicians do best when they've lost: appeal to the mob in the hopes of forcing their rivals to capitulate. The quotes from Rush Limbaugh and Gallagher claiming that the judge is calling all those who voted for Prop 8 guilty of Hate Crimes are just ignorant and blatant attempts to show the situation in a deceitful way in order to gain leverage. The quote about the media hit and Gay Rights' dollars is setting up the idea that anyone who disagrees with her is just doing so out of fear of "angering" the media and Gay Rights' dollars and those who agree are the only ones telling the truth. Then the nail in the coffin: "Who will have the courage to speak for the majority here and our constitutional system of government?" This is an attack on Democracy, an ideal we are taught is good, and without some change it will destroy this ideal and "tyranny" will replace it. Therefore all the other things we are taught are good, such as freedom, will be replaced by those we are taught are bad, such as oppression.

  2. "A tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny." -Aesop (a fiction author, like Ann Coulter, but with a legitimate point.)

    These incidents are related, but far beyond the sitcky mallow of Prop 8. This kind of violence goes back a few millennia. We're just finally squeezing the pus of this festering boil to the surface of its filmy mantle. Man, I hate being sticky, but the worst bacteria don't last long when you expose them to the surface.

  3. I will never understand how people can feel so threatened by and react to gay marriage in such an extreme fashion. Your marriage has absolutely no effect on me or my wife, nor does it effect any of these bigoted idiots that take such offense to the idea of adults being able to marry whoever they choose to. What do people find so terrifying?

    Idiots baffle me.

  4. I've been thinking about the so-called "Culture Wars" since Prop. 8 was lifted, and so reading this post brings back up all those worrying thoughts that there are people out there willing to declare holy war on progress on a delusional quest to bring back American society to a 1950's ideal.
    I mean seriously, the "Freepers'" SOLUTION to the "Gay Agenda" is a P-90 submachine gun? Sometimes I've caught myself thinking, "If the culture wars is really coming, then I've already picked a side." It just frustrates me that many people here are unwilling to recognize our humanity. But reading your post made me realize that I should calm down and remember that there are better ways of dealing with this. After all, I hate the word "revolution" anyway.
    This also reminded me that this "split" in belief exists in families too. One time I was watching something about Prop 8. on TV, and they interviewed a lady who said that people like us are people too. So my mom said to the TV, "You're not people. You're perverts." It stung and I couldn't say anything in our defense.
    Wow, that was long. But I really enjoyed reading your post.

  5. @Sama

    "These incidents are related, but far beyond the sitcky mallow of Prop 8. This kind of violence goes back a few millennia. We're just finally squeezing the pus of this festering boil to the surface of its filmy mantle."

    Wow that was disgusting and awsome all at once. I loved it :D


    Sorry for the length of this post. I had a lot to say and alot of threads to weave together into a single idea. Being raised by paranoid people I tend to find bogeymen everywhere...but I do think about this alot.

  6. What I don't understand, and really never will, is the whole they are different so they must be bad thinking. At times I feel as though I'm trapped in junior high for all of eternity! Because while high school had cliques, it was a looser form of them, and many people revolved between disparate groups.

    I totally agree with you that the lgbt are todays scapegoats. Why? Because we are the last "acceptable" group that is open to bigotry and hatred. Gee thanks haters!

    I also feel it's only a matter of time before some crazed and unbalanced person takes a gun and open fires into a crowd of lgbt. And you are very right, the very persons who will cause to occur, will scatter like roaches when the kitchen light is turned on.

    Do I see a happier future? Yes, actually I do. As more people stand up as allies, they will be swept into the corner when fewer and fewer people give them credence. I mean when was the last time you heard a "famous" radio talk person talk about any ethnic group not deserving civil rights? But hey my glass is usually always almost full.

  7. My big concern, since the ruling was unveiled, is that some nutjob will gun down Justice Walker, as has happened to doctors who dare perform adoptions. Some of the folks on their side are more than willing to murder for God, and plenty more will excuse them for it.


  8. I tened to be a glass half full typ person but I don't think you are to far off on this. I to get the uneasy felling that the there are a good number of those on the extram anit gay rights, anti imagenrets tea party movement who don't take the mediphorical talk of violance and revolution agenst the groups they don't see eye to eye with and the government it's self as metaphor but insted actual calls to action.

  9. First off, congrats California for allowing same-sex marriages to resume! Hopefully the rest of the US which still doesn't have gay marriage will follow suit sooner rather than later.

    Like Stoaster I've never understand how gay marriage is going to somehow destroy society as we know it. We've thankfully had gay marriage here across Canada for just over 5 years and...hold on...yup the sky is still where it's suppose to be...and, nope that's not a chasm opening up to swallow innocent Canadians who support same-sex marriage, it's just a large pothole in the road outside my building badly in need of repair.

    Why is it that those people who are so opposed to gay marriage never arrange protests for people like Britney Spears who see fit to marry someone they barely know in Vegas? What about Bob and Sue down the street who have been living together for the past 8 years, have two children together, but aren't married? Why not protest them? Surely common-law relationships are more of a threat to the sanctity of marriage than allowing gay couples to wed. I remember this one time I was watching a religious program (around the time that gay marriage passed in Canada) when the host began to cry because more and more kids were being born out of wedlock in Sweden. His reasoning for the phenomenon was because Sweden allowed gay marriage. My jaw just dropped when I hear that. The fact that a straight couple is living together and not getting married has NOTHING to do with the gay couple next door who are married to one another. Stop comparing apples to oranges! I swear common sense seems to greatly evade these people. And what bothers me more is how they try to generate support by creating an irrational fear towards gay people. I just wish that those people who are opposed to same-sex marriage would take a moment to see that the world hasn't fallen apart in those parts of the world which have allowed gay marriage. I think that this video from Rick Mercer's Report (kinda like Jon Stewart's Daily Show, but better...hey what can I say, I'm bias towards fellow Canadians!) sums up my feelings perfectly!


  10. People in the U.S. are being seriously mislead. If you read Stockmans write up about Republicans driving the country into the ground the last thing he mentions is class warfare.

    I'm gonna stock up on ammunition.

  11. Speaking of allies, Billy Idol was very vocal in his support at his Fillmore, SanFran concert last night. He wore a shirt that read "No on 8". He started the concert with a statement about opposition to Prop 8, and by stating "I'll marry whoever the f**k I want!" Go Billy!
    The idiots who are likened to cockroaches, the haters, are many, but the supporters prove that we will win, it's just a matter of time and patience.
    I like the comment on how the sky hasn't fallen in Canada yet. I moved to England to marry my partner. The sky hasn't fallen over there yet either.