Thursday, November 06, 2008

"The Will of the People" spoke Tuesday

On Tuesday, the "Will of the People" - the sacrosanct philosophy that determines who will lead us and what path we should take on a given issue - spoke forcefully. After a long and contentious campaign, it chose Barack Obama. Lauds and accolades ensued everywhere.

But wait....

The "Will of the People" also spoke on the matter of gay marriage in three states - and in all three states, the "Will of the People" stated that they were opposed to gay marriage.

So - what the hell?

Not only that, a group that helped bring in Obama also voted in large numbers against gay marriage - namely, black folks. So what's going on here? Is this a case of "Equal rights for me, but not for thee?". Talking to people I know personally and reading the blogs of others who were in favor of gay marriage, the answer is simple: They - that is, everyone who voted against gay marriage - are bigots. They're narrow-minded, unenlightened, and short sighted bigots.

"Okay then," I ask those who are both elated over Obama's election and outraged over the failure of gay marriage to pass, "So you're saying that the same wonderful people who were so open-minded and enlightened to have voted in the first black president - "

At this point, some of those who know me and how I tend to argue will eye me suspiciously for a second before they respond, but almost always curiosity gets the better of them as to what I am about to say, so they answer anyway. I love that, by the way. Their response: "Yeahhhh....."

" - are the same narrow minded bigots that kept gay marriage from becoming the law." Uncertain of where I am going with this, I finally get to my point: "You're saying that Americans are a bunch of open-minded and enlightened bigots!"

"Now hold on there..." is the usual reaction. From that point, their arguments goes along the line of "Americans were ready for a black president, but not for gay marriage" reasoning; but I think that these conflicting election results and the gay marriage supporters' reactions to them suggests something else: They're just as bigoted as they say gay marriage opponents are.

Why do I say that? It's because of the nature of their reactions - that is, to them there is only one reason and one reason only that someone would be opposed to gay marriage, and that's because they are narrow-minded bigots. Know what I think of when I hear that?

I think of back in 2002, in the raw days just after 9/11, in which the patriotism of anyone who wasn't gung-ho on going after the terrorists was questioned. "If you don't do (stated action), then the terrorists win." was the mindset back then. See what that kind of thinking is? It's called "Either you're with me or against me", or sometimes abbreviated (as I shall now do) as "e/o".

I don't like e/o thinking. It leaves no room for shades of gray, and it's actually a means of trying to shut down any discussion of a given issue. In case you haven't figured it out already, I am diametrically opposed to attempts to shut down discussion. The reason that war supporters said "If you don't do (stated action), then the terrorists win" is because they didn't want to consider that there might actually be good reasons not to go to war. Seven years later, it looks like they should have questioned the desire to go to war a little more.

Now fast forward to today. Gay marriage supporters are now the ones engaging in e/o thinking. "Either you support gay marriage, or you're a bigot." No room for discussion. In their minds, there is NO good reason to oppose gay marriage. So my question to them is: "Really? Are you sure about that? No reasons whatsoever?"

I was about to continue, but you know what? I'm going to let this sit and stew for awhile and let my readers - especially those that support gay marriage - think about this some before I continue. Just as war supporters in 2002 should have questioned their e/o thinking before going to war, I'm going to give gay marriage supporters the opportunity to question their own e/o thinking before I continue my discussion here.

If I get any responses, I'll post them here.

1 comment:

blackink said...

JP, here's the way I'll put it. Some issues, to me, aren't black and white. And I'd like to think I'm one of the "grayest" cats out there.

I'm sure some people had what they considered "good reasons" for Plessy v. Ferguson and Jim Crow and the general concept of "separate but equal." But, in the end, it's a dehumanizing practice.

And this is mostly the same idea. We're denying a right to one specific group of people because, essentially, we're uncomfortable with the thought of two dudes jumping the broom, passing along family assets or being able to visit one another in the emergency room. And if we make it a Biblical argument, then I'll have to say our entire government was founded on the prinicple of the separation of church and state. It's one of the reasons the Pilgrims even bothered with crossing the Atlantic.

"The Will of the People" is an awesome and complicated thing. We can be right in some areas and remarkably wrong in others. I'll never argue that this country isn't great. I'm blessed to have been born here. But, it's a fact that the founding fathers also allowed for the legal protection of slavery. I don't see the gray in legalized slavery, dig? I think we have to keep pushing "our will" to be a greater, more inclusive thing.

So, in that way, the concept of allowing for gray area applies here too. I know that some people - a lot of people, actually - feel differently. I'll allow for that. But I happen to think it's bigoted.

And that's cool. Some of my best friends - and family members - are bigots too.