Archive for February, 2009

They’re Doing It Wrong

It’s amazingly common for people to suggest, in all seriousness, that electing a certain politician or allowing a certain activity will lead to the collapse of (usually American) civilization. That might not sound all that unusual – after all, electing an incompetent or inexperienced or downright malign politican to a high public office is obviously going to be bad for the country that does it. But these people are generally not arguing that a person’s credentials are problematic, nor do they generally argue that the ‘sinful’ activity in question will have any sort of direct negative effects – or if they do, that conern is secondary. What they’re really saying is that some supernatural force will visit chaos and destruction upon a nation willing to elect person x or endorse activity y. Usually it’s God, sometimes it’s just a kind of vague, cosmic balancing act, and it is always asserted withou any sort of evidence.

If Barack Obama was gay, many on the Religious Right would be seriously suggesting that God would destroy America for electing him. Hell, he seems to be 100% straight and some are stril claiming that that will happen. Natural disasters, war, disease, and in particular, economic turmoil – all are supposed symptoms of a society plagued by supernatural vengeance.

It’s interesting, then, that Iceland has decided to do the exact opposite by electing an openly gay PM in the middle of a contuining economic crisis:

Iceland has announced a new government that will be headed by the modern world’s first openly gay leader.

Johanna Sigurdardottir was named new prime minister by the country’s coalition political parties.

Iceland’s previous coalition cabinet of PM Geir Haarde collapsed last month under the strain of an escalating economic crisis.

Ms Sigurdardottir’s government said on Sunday it would immediately start to tackle Iceland’s crisis. (Source)

Apparently, Iceland never got the memo: giving gays high government offices will  make things worse! Quick, ship some Bible-Belt loons over there before the whole country just sinks into the ocean!

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Escalation

After the eightmaps.com website went live, I and a lot of other people were worried that the conflict over Proposition 8 and its ilk would inevitably escalate. Some anti-Proposition 8 activists have already resorted to intimidation and even violence, a fact that a lot of pro-gay bloggers have been curiously silent about. The last thing anyone needs is for people on both sides to lose their cool completely.

Which is why I have mixed feelings over this:

I implore all of you to think before you speak and act.  Ask yourself how being so emotional might impact those around you.  Question your judgement before you call or email somebody–will this have a positive impact on our common cause, or will it only serve to strengthen the resolve of those who disagree with us?  Like it or not, there will always be more straight people in this world than there are GLBT folks.  If we want to have equal footing, we need to prove that we’re worth it.

From now on, I will be in partnership with those targeted by your hatred.  I may disagree with some of their beliefs, but I also believe in their right to disagree and I’d rather work with them than against them.  Any phone numbers, email addresses, ISP’s and names I can collect that are linked to Prop 8 rage, I will publish it here to expose you.  I will not tolerate the open hypocrisy perpetrated by my own community.  I don’t like being called a traitor, but hopefully, in time, you’ll understand.  I’d rather do what’s best for us than continue to allow us to be our own worst enemies. (Source)

This might be a good idea, if not for the fact that it’s almost certainly not going to work. Even assuming that someone who’s thinking of taking matters into their own hands sees this, it probably won’t deter them. The sad reality is that a very large part of the intimidation and violence I’ve seen has come from the proponents of marriage equality rather than the other way around; having your name on the Prop 8 Maps website actually puts you at risk, whereas having your name on a list like the one proposed above probably will not. As a deterrant, something like this isn’t going to work unless a lot of people have access to it, and even then it must be asked whether this is really the route we want to take. Where does it end?

Before someone jumps down my throat, I absolutely agree that Proposition 8 has no place in a supposedly modern society, and that those who helped it pass should be ashamed of themselves. But it does not justify violence, particularly not if that violence is motivated by a desire for revenge rather than a need for decisive action. Although I’m less confident now in the inevitably of its downfall than I used to be, marriage inequality will probably not last for much longer. We’ve waited this long for it, and we can surely wait another few years.