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    Janis Gore, who occasionally sends me gently inquiring e-mails about the most contentious topics imaginable, asked what I thought of Andrew Sullivan’s tone when discussing the election results. His take is, naturally, that Karl Rove used his evil Karl Roveness to lure all those anti-gay religious zealots out of their Alabama bunkers. I was going to comment at Ms. Gore’s place, but I’m afraid I may get a bit riled up, which would spoil the respectful atmosphere she maintains.


    Here’s her terse and (I think) accurate assessment:

    No, Mr. Sullivan, gay activists thought this would be the perfect year to push for a new initiative. Talk about blowback. I suspect they’ve put rights back at least ten years.

    What’s she talking about? She wrote that yesterday, but I think it applies very aptly to Sullivan’s latest series of posts. I’ll start with the third part:

    STAND TALL: But one more thing is important. The dignity of our lives and our relationships as gay people is not dependent on heterosexual approval or tolerance. Our dignity exists regardless of their fear. We have something invaluable in this struggle: the knowledge that we are in the right, that our loves are as deep and as powerful and as God-given as their loves, that our relationships truly are bonds of faith and hope that are worthy, in God’s eyes and our own, of equal respect. Being gay is a blessing. The minute we let their fear and ignorance enter into our own souls, we lose. We have gained too much and come through too much to let ourselves be defined by others. We must turn hurt back into pride. Cheap, easy victories based on untruth and fear and cynicism are pyrrhic ones. In time, they will fall. So hold your heads up high. Do not give in to despair. Do not let the Republican party rob you of your hopes. This is America. Equality will win in the end.

    I basically agree with this. I mean, I don’t think the dignity of my gayness comes from God any more than from the tooth fairy, but I also don’t think it depends on other people’s approval. I wonder whether Sullivan actually believes it, though. Through his writing there’s a clearly discernible thread of nagging desire for acceptance that I think seriously compromises his pro-gay marriage arguments.

    I’m not coming at this as a principled non-conformist. I believe in living as you see fit; I do not believe in getting a rise out of people for the hell of it at every opportunity and then bitching when they shun you. I want people to like me, and my feelings are often hurt when they don’t.

    But that’s not a matter for public policy. Which leads me back to where Sullivan started:

    I’ve been trying to think of what to say about what appears to be the enormous success the Republicans had in using gay couples’ rights to gain critical votes in key states. In eight more states now, gay couples have no relationship rights at all. Their legal ability to visit a spouse in hospital, to pass on property, to have legal protections for their children has been gutted. If you are a gay couple living in Alabama, you know one thing: your family has no standing under the law; and it can and will be violated by strangers. I’m not surprised by this. When you put a tiny and despised minority up for a popular vote, the minority usually loses. But it is deeply, deeply dispiriting nonetheless. A lot of gay people are devastated this morning, and terrified.

    I’m neither devastated nor terrified. What I am is furious. 0° Kelvin furious. The gay marriage advocates decided it was a good time to get pushy and single-minded. They decided they’d figured out what marriage was about to most people and that further arguments from the opposition warranted no more than ritual responses. They were wrong. Those who oppose gay marriage have not just said that the Bible disapproves of homosexuality and therefore we should all reform. They’ve thought things through and come up with more sophisticated arguments. Those arguments need to be answered. (Don’t expect me to do it–I’m not one of the people yammering for gay marriage. Hospital visitation and power of attorney are fine for me, though I’d like transferrability of social security and immunity from testifying against your partner, too. Call my relationship whatever makes you happy–that’s the least of my concerns. In any case, if you’re gay, is your partner worth devoting your life to? Then do it. And stop flooding us with bilge about how we can’t live by moral values we ourselves supposedly hold “deep down inside,” just because straight people refuse to throw rice at us! Gyah!)

    Gay marriage activists need to remember that history did not start with the ’60’s and that, in the other direction, there will be gays in every generation after us who will inherit the environment we’ve helped to create. Thinking about straight children of the future every once in a while wouldn’t hurt, either. In any case, the showdown mentality has shown itself to be self-defeating. Let’s learn our lesson, okay?

    Added on 5 November: I agree with Eric that the numbers from the election don’t necessarily say what we’re being told they say. I’m also reassured to see that someone smarter than I am has trouble doing math in his head. I was always the one in calc class who set up the function and graphed its shape correctly but got all the actual number values wrong. It drove Mrs. Moll crazy.

    And I think Boi from Troy is right about the kaleidoscopic ways “moral values” can be interpreted as a reason for voting. Pretty obviously, gay marriage was one in at least 11 states, but that only indicates homophobia if you believe in such a thing as “marriage rights.” I’ve groused enough about that for the time being, though.

    5 Responses to “急がば回れ。”

    1. John says:

      Great post.
      “I do not believe in getting a rise out of people for the hell of it at every opportunity and then bitching when they shun you.”
      I think that the gay movement has picked up this tendency from hanging around with the Left too much. Marxists and fellow travellers of all stripes have been shouting “oppression” throughout the election year, and it goes well beyond Bush=Hitler. The Left is good at playing martyrs, but no one who has seen oppression up close buys their load of dung. I spent 2 years in the USSR, and while it was in the era of Perestroika, I doubt those American whiners would have fared too well under Gorby and Yazov (I was in Lithuania when they sent tanks and troops into Vilnius in 1991, as Lithuania was trying to exit the “indivisible union”).
      On the flip side, some very conservative friends of mine remain Democrats because of the taint of the religious conservatives, and the barely suppressed racism and other intolerant attitudes that those groups bring to the Republican Party. Groups such as the Log Cabin Republicans need to obtain more press coverage and help us South Park Republicans drive the religious right into the fringe.

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      Oh, totally. Whatever the dumbest, loudest feminist or minority activists are saying today, the dumbest, loudest gay activists will be saying in five years. It’s unspeakably humiliating.
      And you’re right about the oppression thing. Actually ask them to stand up to a real oppressor, and these jokers would be like, “Will I have to get dirty? I mean, these jeans are from DIESEL!”

    3. Toren says:

      I think some people need to look at a few facts. First, approx. 32% of Southern gays voted for Bush. And approx. 33% of Democrats voted for the various gay marriage bills.
      Finally, civil union laws were overwhelming supported. The hysterical wing of the gay activists crowd needs to get their head out of the sand and look at reality. Frankly, it looks pretty good and is getting better. Ashcroft is NOT coming to put you in a camp, for god’s sake.
      (Sorry if this sounds a little peevish but I live in San Francisco–you can imagine what I’ve been hearing for the last couple of days.)

    4. Mrs. du Toit says:

      Perhaps the activists didn’t want to achieve anything besides a backlash. It wouldn’t be the first time an activist group actually had an agenda contrary than their stated one.
      Establishing civil unions or domestic partnerships in the states, through the normal legislative channels, would have brought gay and lesbian relationships into the stable fold.
      That is not what they want.
      If that was achieved they’d be out of work.
      But even I don’t think that’s the case. I think it’s a case of living in a bubble. Far too many gays and lesbians live in gay/lesbian ghettos, socializing only among themselves in large cities. They have NO CLUE how the rest of America feels about these things and gauged the “readiness” of the American people on bad data. In a nutshell, they extrapolated the Castro and West Village to the rest of the country.

    5. Sean Kinsell says:

      What rest of the country? There’s stuff on the six-hour flight from JFK to LAX or SFO, but I figured it was just cornfields. Outside Chicago, I mean.
      Of course, I agree with all three of you. I hold out hope that gay activism and the DNC in general will pick up the rather strong signal that they’re doing something wrong and figure out how to work with people. (Judging from what Donna Brazile was saying on CNN the day after the election, I’m wasting my energy, but you never know.)