Taking care of your loved one: worse than terrorismFor most of the last decade, conservatives have controlled the presidency, the Congress and because of that, increasingly the judiciary. And let's not forget the regulatory (or deregulatory in this case) agencies of the executive branch. So since they control the governmental levers of power, they need to contrive boogeyman in order to keep their base scared and thus engaged.
The activist's second worst enemy is the perception of victory. This is because the perception of victory creates the activist's worst enemy: lethargy.
Some of those boogeyman pre-dated this most recent period of governmental control. The 'liberal media.' Hollywood. The ACLU and other segments of the anti-theocracy crowd.
One of the more strange obsessions of conservatives is with homosexuality and the so-called 'homosexual lifestyle.' Of course, there really is no such thing as a 'homosexual lifestyle' (singular) any more than there is a 'heterosexual lifestyle' or a 'white lifestyle' or a 'left-handed lifestyle.' There are many different versions of each. But hard core ideologues rarely let nuance get in the way of their stereotypes. Reality just needlessly complicates things.
(It goes without saying that these dynamics apply to all sides of the ideological circle and that activists on the left have their boogeymen too)
Many view this mythical 'homosexual lifestyle' as part of the broader hedonistic, sinful culture that the 'liberal media' and Hollywood are supposedly pushing. Though many do not share this view of, say, hedonistic corporate consumer culture.
Some take this to an extreme.
Recently, a member of the Oklahoma legislature said that gays were a bigger threat to America than terrorists. Apparently, two guys who love each other are a greater threat to this nation than people who want to commit mass murder.
To most sane people, this seems just as fanatical as anything al-Qaeda spews. But to a minority fringe, it makes perfect sense. In their eyes, we can defend against al-Qaeda because they are outsiders. Just throw a dart on the map, bomb that country into oblivion and everything will be ok.
But they see gays as being far more dangerous because they... (insert menacing music) walk among us. Because they are us. Because they are us, not them. Gays don't want to destroy our culture. They want to do something even more insidious: change it.
What most bothers the Theocracy Brigade is not so much that gays exist. What really bothers them is that many no longer practice their 'lifestyle' in secret. That many want legal recognition for their relationships.
Legal recognition implies some form of social acceptance. And that's really about the only thing that both the pro- and anti-equal rights movements would agree on.
Some argue over the terms 'gay marriage' and 'civil unions.' To me, the semantic difference is meaningless. The point should be that gay couples should be afforded the same legal protections as straight couples. What the state chooses to call it is irrelevant, so long as they are equal in every other way.
Many folks that that those who support gay rights want gays to have special rights. That they want to force poor, persecuted American Christians to celebrate these immoral sinners.
Of course this isn't true. I do not support bigotry, but I do support the equal free speech rights of bigots.
Many say that if sexual orientation is not anyone else's business, why do these relationships need state recognition? If it's private, why can't it stay private?
As The Human Rights Campaign points out:
In every paycheck you've ever received, you've been contributing to Social Security. Imagine knowing that, should you die, your partner won't receive the survivor benefits you've paid for.
Or imagine moving to another state, only to find that your partner will be kicked off of your health care plan.
Situations like these happen every day to GLBT [gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender] people across the country.
It's a sad state of affairs when wanting to make sure your partner has financial security or access to health care is treated as worse than terrorism.
Labels: gay rights