Saturday, November 15, 2008

By way of...


It's heartening to see the many who took to the streets today to show their outrage against Proposition 8 , a proposition which is a travesty, and an insult to the constitution.

In light of my stubborn insistence on inference, the power of innuendo, and nuance, I never spelled out my position on Prop. 8. So, by way of amplification, and for the record, I voted "No" on Prop. 8, and feel as strongly about the attempt to rescind the June ruling as I would if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned. It's never okay to grant a right, then take it away.

A post that I wrote a few days ago that appears here, and on The Huffington Post, "On the Fight for Marriage Equality," seems to have drawn the ire of a community that I have always strongly defended, or maybe it drew contempt from the knee jerks among them; nevertheless, I state here, without equivocation, that my post was never intended to insinuate that gay marriage isn't an issue, or trivialize the notion of equal rights for any group who is disenfranchised. When I said that gay marriage is not the "signature issue" of our times, I did not mean to suggest that it is not an issue.

In the previous piece, my argument was only that there are other elements of the fight for gay equality that deserve as much dedicated attention, such as the need for funding that doesn't have an "abstinence-only" prerequisite attached to it, and access to affordable pharmaceuticals, as well as vocal opposition to the politicizing of science which, frankly, would have saved many more lives than legalized same sex unions.

I, for one, would have enjoyed seeing people show up nationwide to voice their outrage at the hate crime killings of Matthew Shepherd, and a 15 year old student, Larry King, in Oxnard, California who was brutally slain by a classmate last February.

Rep. Barney Frank, and others in Congress have worked sedulously to pass hate crime legislation which speaks to the heinousness of these human rights abuses which diminish each and every one of us, gay or straight.

It is, in a word, heartbreaking that today's national massive outcry didn't happen before Election Day as it would have kept Prop. 8 from passing in the first place. And, instead of pointing fingers at those who funded Prop. 8 campaign, it might be more productive now to look into why there wasn't a more concerted effort to mobilize a protest against the proposition before people went to the polls on November 4th.

The issues are many; the path of proaction, rather than reaction, is the most effective path. But, hindsight is often twenty-twenty. All we can do now is clean up the mess, not just the one made by those who want to turn back the clock on civil rights, but the one made by a decade of confusing religious orthodoxy with medical practicum.

Efforts to stifle dissent, and diversity of thought, with threats of blacklisting, are equally offensive whether they come from those on the left or those on the radical right.

The thought police of political correctness, in the end, only add to the carnage of ideas, and the demise of satire. When we create a social, political, and artistic environment in which one shudders to think of the level of exorciation Lenny Bruce would be forced to endure, we kind of have to stand back and take a long, hard look at whether the ends justify the means.

The victory of a black man in the White House holds the promise that nuance, and complexity has triumphed over reductive vision of good guys and bad guys. For nearly a decade, the intellectual environment has been under attack as much as the natural environment from those incapable of moral complexity. And, indeed, there is nothing more sinister than reducing the world to one dimension.

Ultimately, no one wins when ideology, whether progressive or reactionary, is allowed to prevail over diversity of ideas, and human will.