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Monday, January 17, 2005

I Think the Hippie Doth Protest Too Much

Katherine writes about how protesting inauguration is silly and probably fruitless. I agree with everything she says, but thought this part was pretty funny:

Specifically, the March will mourn losses in the areas of:
· women's rights
· civil rights
· civil liberties
· workers' rights
· GLBT rights
· the democratic process
· environmental conditions
· peace and justice
· principles of inclusion
· economic equality
· freedom from arbitrary imprisonment

I love when people attach adjunct protests against silly things to protests about actual issues in order to bolster their credibility. Is there anyone who actually is pro arbitrary imprisonment? I was unaware that the imprisonment lottery had come to town. But then, I don't read that many newspapers.

What I really don't like is the constant "GLBT rights" stuff. As a group, it seems that the sexual preference community needs to, in a paraphrase of Spike Lee's epic civil rights tale, get off the bus. The rhetoric the most vocal activists try to couch their movement in almost always harkens back to the civil rights movement.

For example:
Black History Month celebrates the triumphant journey that African-Americans have had in facing entrenched racial discrimination in our country. As an African-American lesbian, it is an especially sacred time because I know personally how important it is for the work for justice to continue. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated over 30 years ago, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Those eloquent words still ring true today for the countless gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people.

Okay. Let's just take a fucking step back for just a second. Africans were, for hundreds of years prior to the inception of the country, traded for rum and molasses, and then forced by often-cruel masters to do painful and back-breaking labor under inhuman conditions. Their children were taken from them and sold, they had to watch as they became prematurely old under the omnipresent whips of the American south, never having aspirations, never having a life to speak of. This was before freedom.

Then the slaves were "freed" to a world where they could be killed for speaking to people of a shade lighter skin, and it was freely acknowledged that society would not shed many tears over the body of a mere "negro." They were kept from working, they were kept from learning, and they were kept from expressing their political will. Discrimination kept them as a de facto class far below even the poorest Caucasian. Forced to bow and scrape for a century after their freedom, finally they braved the fire hoses and the dogs and the police wagons and won actual enforcement of the rights they were supposed to have had from the compact made half a millenium before. Even today, there is still discrimination. There is still prejudice. There is still a lingering sense of the superiority of one race over another.

Compare this to the "rights deprivation" and history of discrimination of the GLBT community. There were sodomy laws which were completely unenforced. There was briefly a prohibition on sending homosexual pornography or magazines through the mail, which was almost immediately (in the context of judicial movements) declared invalid. There was, I suppose, that whole plaid era. There's this asinine "right to marriage" flap. But as a matter of course, comparing the Gay/Lesbian community to the pre-Civil Rights Act African-American community in either scope or the how pernicious society's role has been is ludicrous. It's like equating Mumia's imprisonment to that of Nelson Mandela, or comparing Iraqi insurgent forces to the French resistance. There exists the vague resemblence of second cousins, but the two are clearly not siblings.

This is part of why the Republicans kick the hell out of the Democrats. They have certain clearly defined issues that actually resonate with people, and they don't muddle them with a bunch of ancillary propositions. They also don't muddle them with 'facts' or 'arguments,' but that's less the point. WTO protests a few years ago had a lot of people who wanted economic justice and a desire for third-world autonomy to be respected, and then a giant inflatable doll of Rehnquist intimating that the Supreme Court "stole" the election. You would never see a group in front of Planned Parenthood throwing rocks and carrying signs about how 'abortion stops a beating heart' along with a bunch of anti-environmentalists and 'kill the bald eagles' fringe groups. Conservatives simply don't have to deal with that shit.

GLBT groups would just be better off if they got over the martyrdom complex and the delusious of grandeur and made their legislative agenda more about smart policy and less about saving the world.

cranked out at 11:58 AM | |

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