Words to remember

"Never doubt in the darkness what you believed in the light."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

This was written in response to an editorial in the Lamron, the school newspaper. It will probably go through two more iterations before I decide whether or not to send it out. While the results of the election were roundly disappointing, it's Prop. 8 that looks like it's generating the most controversy. 15 Nov 2008

The article “Prop 8: One giant leap backward” bears an accurate title; what is conspicuous, however, is the absence of any commentary as to who has done the leaping. I will not here argue with what the author has to say regarding gay marriage; this is more a matter of truth in journalism. The claim being made is, essentially, that opponents of the initiative have been victimized, and have suffered a fundamental injustice. Their rights, it is asserted, are being infringed. This might well be so; however, are the tactics which the opponents of Prop 8 are using consonant with that message?

Time Magazine, on an online article (located at: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1859323,00.html?xid=rss-topstories, retrieved 15 Nov 08) notes that groups who voted against the measure have been targeted by activists. African-Americans, who voted in large part against the measure, have also been singled out, with racial epithets being used by many of the frustrated parties on the opposing side of Proposition 8. This is quite ironic, given the lament in the Lamron article that the willingness to embrace “change” in voting for Senator Obama is not shared by those who opposed gay marriage. And yet by such words, the opponents of Prop. 8 show that they themselves do not hold to that distinction. The issue, then, is already much wider than the article considers.

Further more, as the Time piece points out, the trend of publishing lists of donors and agencies supportive of Proposition 8 is unsettling, to say the least. The sublime irony comes in the website AntiGayBlacklist.com, a site which publishes the names of individuals who contributed to the support of the proposition, advising people not patronize their business. Blacklisting historically refers to the actions of Senator McCarthy in the House Un-American Activities Committee. And the tactics are much the same; both sought to force people to back into line for deviating from what one group believes is unacceptable. Is it desirable that the supposed advocates of freedom and liberty are themselves pushing a new McCarthyism?

Although it may come as a cliché, the point made in the movie Batman Begins is a valid one to remember here. It’s not who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you. One cannot claim to be for tolerance and liberty and yet act in ways which are contrary to those lofty principles.

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