Newer and older readers might sometimes wonder why the writers at Truth Wins Out occasionally veer, seemingly, way off the beaten path of gay rights and the lies of the Religious Right. Why do we write about the Park 51 project, Dr. Laura, racism, anti-immigrant hatred, women’s rights and so on?
I’ve always said, for one thing, that discrimination is discrimination, plain and simple, and that moreover, the people who would discriminate against LGBT people tend to be the exact same people who hate Mexican immigrants the most, who use the most coded language to express their distaste for all but their very favorite (read: Republican) blacks, etc. There’s an overlap because we’re not dealing with rational people with rational opinions to add to the debate. Fevered hatred of Mexican immigrants isn’t a well-thought out position; it’s a gut reaction based on fear. And so it is with anti-gay bias. These days, there is simply too much education, too much information out there, for people to arrive at a distaste for gay people via any intellectual method.
Along those lines, I was impressed with this post from Betty Cracker over at Rumproast (as I usually am with her posts), which goes a long way to explain, politically, what kind of time we’re living in:
The attempt to establish a Muslimfrei zone around Ground Zero isn’t about 9/11. The wingnut solicitude for “Dr.” Laura’s supposedly lost First Amendment rights isn’t about “Dr.” Laura’s right to repeat racial slurs on the radio.
Fox News’ relentless pimping of the New Black Panther Party non-story isn’t about voter intimidation. Arizona’s anti-immigration law isn’t about illegal immigration. Breitbart’s Shirley Sherrod smear wasn’t about “reverse racism.”
The persistent suggestions from multiple quarters on the right that President Obama isn’t a Christian or an American aren’t about his religion or nationality. And the Prop 8 campaign wasn’t about protecting straight marriage.
What this is all really about is the most orchestrated, widespread attempt to divide this country since George Wallace’s presidential run. Scratch that—Wallace was never more than a regional candidate. This may be unprecedented in living memory.
She then links to a piece from Will Bunch which takes that theme even further, and which deserves to be read in its entirety:
American political debate — in a time of crushing 9.5-percent unemployment, record foreclosures and bankruptcies, and climate change linked to catastrophes from Moscow to Pakistan to Iowa — has been hijacked over the arcane question of whether to allow an Islamic cultural center in lower Manhattan. The controversy is stunning — but it should not be. The national brouhaha over the $100 million Muslim Park51/Cordoba House proposal is not an anomaly but rather the culmimation of an alarming downturn in America’s mood, its discourse, and even our former ambitions as a beacon of religious and political tolerance. In 2010, a large swath of the American public — led by ratings-mad media mavens and immoral politicians like Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin — had declared out all-out war on “the Other” in America in all its alleged forms, from immigrants to Muslims to non-white aides working in the West Wing of the White House and of course the president himself.
And it is threatening to rip America apart in a way that we have not seen in 145 years.
America, we are in for the bumpy political ride of a lifetime. It will take enormous courage for defenders of two centuries of religious freedom and tolerance toward both religious and economic refugees to stand firm in the face of the kind of raw public anger and emotion that have caused backbone-impaired politicians like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid or supposed progressive stalwart Howard Dean to wither in mere days. Our determined minority may be barely clinging to our cherished traditions — as best expressed by President George Washington in 1790 when he wrote “the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection, should demean themselves as good citizens” — in the face of this onslaught for the next few years.
Let’s face it: This country has long had its Know-Nothings and its Birchers and its McCarthyites, but it never had gizmos like Fox News or Sarah Palin’s Twitter feed to fuel toxic ideas so far so fast. It’s time we admit these seemingly disconnected battles over “anchor babies, mosques, and a black man in the Oval Office are all part of the same war against “the Other,” and that we are in the fight of a lifetime.
And that, in a few concise paragraphs from two Very Smart People who you all should be reading anyway, is why we at Truth Wins Out are talking about these things. The people who fight against gay people are rebelling against The Other everywhere they see it these days. When Maggie Gallagher and her friends talk about “traditional marriage,” there is a whole lot of baggage besides “one man/one woman” tied up in there. While I’m not saying that every one of them is actively racist or xenophobic (some are), the “I want my country back!” nonsense of their fight for “traditional marriage” is a desire to return to a time when men were the breadwinners and had veto power over everything, the women were legally powerless, raising children was expected rather than voluntary, and all the neighbors were white and spoke American English. They want to return to a time when everyone “knew their place,” and for white Christian men, that means that everyone else knows that they are the Supreme Penis Gods of whatever homesteads/neighborhoods/Wal-Mart Supercenters they happen to inhabit, and that everyone else maintains their appropriate places, behind whichever Penis God they’ve been assigned to.
It sounds funny, but think about it.
This, by the way, is why the Religious Right is having a fully formed cow about the painfully obvious points Judge Walker raised in his Prop 8 opinion on the subject of gender. He said, in so many words, that because gender is no longer an essential component in determining the status of partners in marriage, it’s supremely irrational to deny marriage rights based on gender. To anyone with half a brain and a spine, this should be obvious. Married men and women are, whether or not they like it, and whether or not they live it out, equal partners under the law, and have been for a while now. Christian Rightists do not like that, though! The existence of gay and lesbian couples who are married doesn’t change anything for them, except to force them to acknowledge that their time of lording their beliefs over society legally is over and done with.
We’re better for it, too, just like the fact that our nation will be majority-minority by 2050 will make us a better, stronger, smarter nation, closer to achieving the ideal of the American Dream. But our detractors don’t see it that way, do they?
So, again, that is why we talk about all that stuff. Hope that clears things up.
[h/t to The Poor Man Institute, too, also]