6/20/2006

On Being A Bigot...

Well, there's quite a little dustup going on over at "What's RIGHT in Montana." The proprietor of that site posted a piece pointing out that some guy in Ohio prepared a list ranking legislators on their votes on gay...excuse me, homosexual, issues. (I love the fact that this guy gives some people a grade of F-. That's hilarious.) (This same fellow, by the way, also says "Many states have been passing laws putting people in prison for life for the crime of having consensual sex, and the rest will soon follow." Wow. I have got to start reading the paper more closely!)

Anyway, the guy who runs "What's RIGHT in Montana," Eric Coobs, posted this list and pointed out that this Ohio-en, Ohion...er...Ohioan gave John Tester an A+.

Well, holy smokes. You would have thought that Coobs called Tester a Republican or something. Our friend Wulfgar went off on Coobs, declaring him a bigot. (Don't feel bad, Eric, he's called me a racist and stupid too.) Coobs responded, and then Wulfie put up another post on the same issue.

I don't know why I am weighing in on this issue (maybe it's because Wulfgar hasn't told me for a while how much smarter he is than me), but I think there are some topics for discussion.

First, as far as gay marriage or the gay rights movement are concerned, my personal belief is that we face far bigger issues at the moment. When we do something about the Chinese economic invasion and oil prices, then we can worry about whether Bruce and Tom should be mom and dad. In the meantime, the states seem to be handling the issue just fine.

I do not oppose homosexuals. I think that the gay rights movement also implicates civil rights of people other than gay people. I think there is something wrong with a group of adults advocating a point of view to children on what is still a political, moral and religious issue. I frankly don't care what gender you're kissing; I don't want you to do it in front of my kids or talk about it in front of my kids.

Ok, with all that introduction out of the way (whew) let's move on to the actual debate between Wulfie and Coobs.

The first thing that struck me about the whole discussion was the fact that Wulfgar took the A+ rating of Tester as a smear. I understand that he took it that way because he thinks that Eric meant it that way, but that seems illogical to me. If some whacked out Nazi guy in Idaho presumed to tell me what the "pro-nazi" vote was, and Wulfgar pointed out that this guy gave a particular politician an A+ rating, I don't think it would be a smear. It would be up to me as the reader to decide what the votes were and what they meant to me.

Which brings me to the next point. Whether or not this is really a smear or attack on Tester, or at least an effective one, depends on the mindset of the people reading it. In other words, if a majority of the people reading it think that his receiving an A+ grade is a bad thing, does that tell us something about Coobs, or about the population as a whole?

And the alacrity with which Wulfgar is willing to label people tells you as much about his own arrogance as the person he is attacking. Whether or not you agree with them, there are people with sincere, deeply held religious or moral beliefs that homosexuality is immoral. To simply label everyone who disagrees with the homosexual agenda as a "bigot" simply wipes away these people's rights to worship and believe what they see fit. Who are you to simply cross your arms and declare what is right and what is wrong?

As far as the gay marriage issue, let's face a fact. We have thousands of years of precedent here, cutting across cultures, whereby marriage means a man and a woman. Does that mean that gay marriage is inherently wrong? No, it doesn't.

But it does mean that before we alter a cultural institution that has withstood the millenia, we might want to have a debate that goes beyond "agree with me or you're a bigot." Maybe there should be a teentsy, weentsy discussion about whether gay marriage will impact the social fabric. And, by the way, something like 11 states voted in the last election to ban gay marriage. When a signficant percentage of the population, perhaps a majority of the population, believes a certain way about a cultural institution, I, for one, believe they are entitled to hold their beliefs without being smeared themselves.

You see, for all their talk about tolerance, those on the left are not any more tolerant than us right-wing extremists. It isn't tolerant to accept those you agree with.

And there's a practical aspect too. The gay marriage bans have passed in many states. Do advocates of gay marriage really think that the way to gain the trust and acceptance of their fellow citizens is to attack them as bigots and homophobes? Or might those attacks simply lead to real bigotry and homophobia.

Maybe advocates for the gay agenda might want to start by recognizing that there are legitimate, perhaps not ultimately correct, but legitimate arguments on both sides of the issue. Then, engage those arguments like grown ups, rather than yelling at 40% or more of the population like petulant children.

(Endnote: This little diatribe was not intended as an attack on Wulfgar. I actually enjoy Wulfgar, even if I find his standard rhetorical device somewhat ineffectual and tiresome. A little humility is not a vice, my friend. Nor is it intended as a defense of Coobs who bailed on me when Wulfgar attacked me. These two guys simply gave me the chance to make what I hope is a somewhat reasonable approach to this whole issue.)

5 comments:

Wulfgar said...

Geeguy, I will be the first to admit that I am quick on the trigger as regards what I perceive as bigotry. But I would like to point out that, quite unlike you, Eric posited no issues for discussion. It doesn't matter a whit which of us is smarter. What matters is how we treat our fellow human beings, and Eric's post was pretty shabby in that regard.

I would also point out that I have asked Eric, repeatedly, to clarify his stance on what issues should concern us, as regards homosexuals. To this very moment, Eric has declined to respond with any argument. He let innuendo do his talking, and yes, I do find that a low form of discussion. Worthless in fact. What you claim I took as a smear was intended as such. No defense of Jon Tester was necessary, but surely you can see how it was incumbant on Eric do defend why he posted what he posted? Eloquence is a poor defense of bigotry; Eric would have gotten the same response if he had posted "Hey, lookit, queers like Jon Tester, haha!". The bigotry would have been more obvious, and equally as indefensible as what Eric posted.

As to the readers, Eric got precisely the response he intended; revulsion against homosexuals from some, and condemnation from others (me). Scream "Fire!" in a theater and then castigate those who who deride you because you have "free speech". Same difference. Eric threw out a fire-cracker and to this very moment has refused to defend the consequence of "BANG!".

I understand completely that there are those who find homosexuals an evil. I don't agree with them, but I do expect that they will at least explain why they feel that way. In my post concerning Eric (not Jon Tester, and that's a significant distinction), I point to several things: Eric's hypocrisy, Eric's duplicity, Eric's willful stupidity and his willingness to spread that very thing. I understand why you think I'm being intolerant in pointing out these obvious facts, but I defy you to show me where I've ever claimed that blind tolerance is a virtue. It isn't.

M. Scott Peck (Oh shit, there goes my liberal cred ...) wrote that evil destroys. Homosexuality, in itself, does not destroy. In fact, it is meaningless to the vast majority of us. I don't spend my time worrying about what my peers do in their bedrooms, and you argue much the same. But when one foists homosexuals up as an object of ridicule, which Eric's post clearly did, that is indeed destruction. It is an evil, and he should be taken to task for it. What you call labling, I call fighting the good fight.

Finally, you task me with accepting disagreement on gay rights issues and I accept. You ask that I "engage those arguments like grown ups, rather than yelling at 40% or more of the population like petulant children." Fair enough. I've given my arguments many times over. Eric claims innocence when it's obvious he hasn't engaged any argument other than "queers like Jon Tester, haha!". Kindly show me the adult procedure here. Apparently I'm lacking in those skills.

(For the record, dude, though I was as harsh as hell (quick trigger and all), I would have loved to engage you on the subject of race. You called off that discussion before it began, claiming that I had trollish minions that would have innundated you with anger and stupidity. Sorry, but not so much. I am a pitbull in an argument, but I don't have the troll legions that you suspect me of. Half of the lefties that you suspect follow me blindly don't even trust my volitile nature. I like it that way, because I am not a lefty. Engage me as a Montanan, and equal, another human, and we got a talk ... regardless of how heated it gets. I don't really know you and you don't really know me. There's things as piss us both off, so let's just recognize that, instead of trying to hold the other to standard that exists only in our own minds, 'kay?)

Wulfgar said...

p.s. The Moniker is "Wulfgar", not "Wulfie". If you're uncomfortable with that, feel free to call me Rob, as our friends David and Craig do. "Wulfie" is a diminuative, hardly worthy of adult discussion when used. Keep that in mind.

GeeGuy said...

"Hey, lookit, queers like Jon Tester, haha!"

(That was a joke; I had to laugh out loud when you wrote that.)

GeeGuy said...

Wulfgar, thanks for the reasoned response. I will refrain from using "Wulfie."

Despite my using your and Coobs' disagreement only as a foil to my own viewpoint, I think you took my comments as a direct response to you. That's a fair reading of what I wrote and, again, thanks for a reasoned response.

I have meant to go back to that post about race several times, and here is why I haven't. First, I think race is such a fundamentally charged issue that it really doesn't lend itself to internet discussion. The idea that I am a racist by any 'classical' definition of the term is laughable; under a more modern, critical race view though I guess some of my thoughts might be classified that way by some.

Second, I thought that your response to my post was unfair and, given my knowlegde of your superior intellect (!), I think your response was, to an extent, intended to purposely distort my views.

Third, I was leaving town and the comments to your post were flying hot and heavy, minions or not. (By the way, I recall that Coobs was "speechless" by my post. I can't believe he even read it.) I figured that by the time I got back I would have been tried and convicted (and branded) forever as a racist by the blogosphere. So I took it down.

And finally, when I got home, I just wasn't interested in starting it up again. I am not ashamed by what I posted, although the tone may have been a bit intemperate. And, what I wrote, if read fairly, was not racist.

Eric said...

Hey Geeguy, there wasn't really anything I could add to your post that day!

Yes, when I put up that post I knew I was inciting the trolls, but calling me a bigot for throwing out a topic is a little extreme. It's not like I yelled 'Fire' in a crowded theatre.

Thanks for the 'blurb