I had no idea what I was going to write about until Brandon saved my day and chimed in to leave this comment on yesterday’s post:
Particular arguments aside, when it comes to this issue, are “you” not doing the same thing you say the other side is doing – trying to force your flock’s paradigm on the rest of us – especially given that “your” side are the ones looking to change the current paradigm?
Brandon may think that I don’t like him very much (correct me if I’m wrong, Brandon), but he would be wrong in that assessment. While I may not like the positions he takes on some of my issues, he is, nevertheless, someone who always gets me thinking. Contrary to what some people may think of me, I’m NOT interested in having a happy little peanut gallery here whose members all live in harmonious agreement; a dissenting voice, expressed respectfully and in a way that doesn’t threaten or demean, is always welcomed here.
Anyway, Brandon asked a fair question (and one that I’ve considered a number of times before, as I am very sensitive to being thought hypocritical). The response I crafted to his genuine query (while I was waiting for my dinner to cook) felt too long for a comment, so I’m opening this up for general consumption.
Brandon, that’s a fair question, and I can see how some people would (and do!) feel that way.
The difference, I think, is that no one is forcing anyone else, at least in THIS issue (and in any number of questions concerning others’ rights) to do anything other than accept that equal rights, in order to BE equal rights, have to apply, you know, EQUALLY to EVERYONE. No one on “my” side is forcing people to marry – or not. No one is forcing anyone else to have an abortion or use birth control. No one is forcing anyone else to observe anyone else’s religious rites. There are a great number of those on the “other” side – perhaps not you, personally, but let’s agree that this is not an unfair statement – who DO want to force those things on people, actively and with the full weight of the law behind them. That’s the part I object to.
Look, there are any number of things that any number of us find distasteful. Some people are offended by strip clubs. Some wish that their children’s schools taught only what they think is right and true and necessary for their kid to learn. Some people are deeply suspicious of religious groups and think them dangerous. We all have to learn to live together (or, if not together exactly, then at the very least in close proximity). No one’s asking anyone to ACCEPT anything personally – someone may never accept that gay people can engage in the same kind of marriage that they have, and that’s their own personal deal. What we ARE demanding (and it IS a demand) is that they TOLERATE it; that they concede that equal rights apply to everyone, even to people they may not like.
It’s a big comparison, but I’m going to make it, anyway; 146-odd years ago, there was a significant portion of the country wanted NOTHING to do with black people partaking in the same rights as they had (let’s remember that Delaware refused to ratify the 13th Amendment until 1901, for crying out loud), and even in our lifetimes (well, MY lifetime; I don’t know how old you are, Brandon, but I suspect this is true of most of my readers), there was still legalized segregation in a shameful number of places. “We” (at least, a majority of us) recognized this was wrong, and we worked and fought (and bled and died) to fix it (as much as we did, that is; we’ve still got quite a long way to go).
I really don’t think that this is an unfair parallel to make; what’s happening with this issue (and in a lot of other places) is WRONG, and serves no other purpose than to make a minority of frightened, narrow-minded people feel a little better about themselves and their place in the world. I’m sorry if freedom and equality make those people uncomfortable, but I’m not sorry enough to give up my rights (or the rights of my fellows) to make them feel better.