Friday, May 6, 2011

Is it Gutsy to State the Obvious?

I know I'm far from the first person to weigh in on this, but Representative Steve Simon definitely makes an interesting point here. While I don't really think of myself as Christian, Simon offers a pretty unassailable rebuttal to Christians in general, especially those who use cherry-picked Bible passages as an excuse for prejudice and legislative gay-bashing.

Looking over the internet discussions related to this video, I'm glad to see that literally hundreds to one, most Americans are praising Simon's comments. Calling these comments brave leaves me feeling a little unsettled, though.

Maybe we Americans are too quick to attribute courage to those who simply state what’s morally and logically obvious. On the other hand, we're still far too squeamish when it comes to attributing ignorance, immaturity, and cowardice to those who deny it.

I've spoken before with smart conservatives who deride the Republican Party's position on gay rights but insist on remaining in the Party for purely economic and political reasons. Is this logically and morally sound? Put another way, should an economic conservative with moderate to liberal social views (in other words, a literate person with morals) tolerate their own Party being overrun by Birthers and homophobes? In a word: no. In two words: fuck no!

Any self-respecting economic conservative should be fighting ten times harder than liberal/independent/bleeding hearts like me to get their own Party in order. That's not a request. This isn't kindergarten hand-wringing; I'm just stating the obvious and if you disagree, you probably belong in a cave, clutching your stone-tipped spear and shitting with terror whenever it thunders outside.

When George W. Bush was president, crazy rumors abounded that he'd actually conspired to bring down the World Trade Center. While some crackpots bought into it, the vast majority of liberals and independents (very few of whom liked G.W., by the way) readily spoke out to debunk the so-called Truthers' claims. Thus, the Truther movement gained virtually no political traction and even among liberals, Truthers are the object of open ridicule.

Where, then, is the Republican decry of legislative gay-bashing? Whenever some far-Right politician toddles out with the usual crackpot blather about "defending the family" from the Gay Legion of Evil, the better elements of the Party respond with deafening silence. It's the same deafening silence, by the way, that was shown by sensible Republicans whenever those now-disgraced Birthers spoke up at those infamous town hall meetings. If you're conservative, and that doesn't trouble you, it should.

Now, to be honest, I'm about as likely to vote Republican as I am to start believing in the Laffer Curve. There's nothing objectively wrong with conservatism; I just don't happen to agree with it. But I can at least respect a conservative who openly renounces gay-bashers, Birthers, and the like, and firmly opposes them, damn the political consequences. Does that take guts? Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. Maybe courage is just the absence of cowardice and drooling ignorance. At any rate, it's the right moral stance and someday, maybe the Right will realize that.

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