The Marriage of Equality and Inequality – 1: Bigotry

< (prologue)

Prior to a discussion at the League of Ordinary Gentlemen blog on Friday, the last time I publicly admitted respect – not quite the same as “support,” but destined to be taken that way – for the views of marriage traditionalists was February. A popular young member of the political twitterati (@amaeryllis), while reacting to the California appeals court victory of pro-equality forces against the forces of “H8,” offered a by now common view on the underlying question:

There are many strong arguments (both legally and socially) against abortion, even though I disagree. I see none against marriage equality.

I suggested to her that presuming the lack of any serious argument on the other side actually diminished her side’s political accomplishment. In short order, she “blocked” me from her twitter feed, sweeping me up with other presumed H8’ers who she claimed were pestering her that day.

Partly with that pseudo-experience in mind, I refrained from replying when a couple of weeks later, on the occasion of Governor Chris Christie’s veto of New Jersey’s marriage equality bill, another popular young liberal – @attackerman (Spencer Ackerman) – tweeted a similar assertion:

The non-bigot explanation of why Chris Christie vetoed gay marriage. Someone please provide.

Professor-talkhost Melissa Harris-Perry uses the same terminology even more frequently and presumptively, asserting that opposition to marriage equality must be taken as inherently bigoted:  “Bigotry,” she flatly states,”is the only basis for denying marriage equality.” As one rightwing critic reacting to Harris-Perry put the matter, on the day of the President’s pro-equality statement, “On Tuesday, Obama was a bigot. As of today, he isn’t.”

Though I presume @attackerman’s request was made in good faith, I am skeptical that an answer would actually be heard, not when attitudes are so hardened, and not when any dissent can be taken as aid and comfort to the enemy. The parallel reaction to the President of observers like Erik Kain, also at The League, merely dismisses traditionalism as utterly obsolete, embarrassing and contemptible, if not beneath contempt:

Why didn’t the president come out in favor of equality several years ago?

Because he plays his cards close to his chest, of course. Because he gambled and it paid off, but he gambled with the lives of vulnerable members of society and he did so for paltry reasons. At least he did come out on the side of angels, but he waited for an opportune moment to do so.

Kain seems to be asserting that there never was or could be – or perhaps that “several years ago” there ceased being – any intellectually and morally sound case for hesitation on the issue.

Yet peremptory charges of bigotry, among the harshest words in our national vocabulary, retain a further social-political meaning:  of proscription.  The bigot is the individual whose beliefs are so contrary to the fundamental commitments of an egalitarian culture that they are not and cannot be worthy of serious discussion, but only of scorn and ridicule – and, for those whose political sensibilities are still impaired by remnant sympathies, of mandatory confession, self-criticism, and disassociation.

Taken seriously, the charge of “inherent bigotry” means that it is not just the marriage traditionalists who are to be shamed, but anyone who refuses to condemn them, or to condemn those who would refuse to condemn, and so on…

(confession to follow)

Home Page  Public Email  Twitter  Facebook  YouTube  Github   

Writing since ancient times, blogging, e-commercing, and site installing-designing-maintaining since 2001; WordPress theme and plugin configuring and developing since 2004 or so; a lifelong freelancer, not associated nor to be associated with any company, publication, party, university, church, or other institution. 

Posts in this series

0 comments on “The Marriage of Equality and Inequality – 1: Bigotry

Commenting at CK MacLeod's

We are determined to encourage thoughtful discussion, so please be respectful to others. We also provide a set of Commenting Options - comment/commenter highlighting and ignoring, and commenter archives that you can access by clicking the commenter options button (). Go to our Commenting Guidelines page for more details, including how to report offensive and spam commenting.

    5 Pings/Trackbacks for "The Marriage of Equality and Inequality – 1: Bigotry"
    1. […] Prologue) (<< Part 1) (< Part 2) Another Eden, Another Adam, Another […]

    2. […] discussion or near-non-discussion reminds me of recent arguments on same sex marriage, in which, as we have discussed before, any suggestion of a reasonable concern, or the suggestion of the possibility of a reasonable […]

    3. […] or polemical purposes the emphasis regarding resistance to marriage equality will be placed on accusations of homophobic bigotry, but the intellectually more interesting if less immediately emotional question would be whether a […]

    4. […] The first comment, which is also a last comment or intended to be, was written in response to the latest return from Sam Wilkinson, who has over the last few days done me the service of stubbornly defending a position that I find highly susceptible to criticism. I’m also appending some earlier comments and excerpts, including yet another attempt, this one by way of logical illustration, to address a common argument that I consider fallacious, and that I have addressed previously in other ways (including in recent posts, but see esp. “the belief that gay people are evil” including accompanying comments, and “The Marriage of Equality and Inequality – 1: Bigotry” and following). […]

    Commenter Ignore Button by CK's Plug-Ins

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



    State of the Discussion

    CK MacLeod
    Comments this threadCommenter Archive
    + My pleasure.Agree about the song, though I think the "haunting" aspect mostly comes from the historical context, as I discussed way back when, also [. . .]
    "Wiegala," by Ilse Weber
    + Thank you. I know I have "orphan pages" on my website many broken links and even the "blog" of my mother's letters home to [. . .]
    "Wiegala," by Ilse Weber
    CK MacLeod
    Comments this threadCommenter Archive
    + This post (almost ten years old!) was from a discontinued blog, but it turns out I still had the MP3 file in the archives. So [. . .]
    "Wiegala," by Ilse Weber

    Noted & Quoted

    [E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

    Comment →

    So, does Mitchell make any money on the work, which has been shared so many times? He uploaded a high-res image of the symbol and granted permission for anyone to use it personally for free. But for those who want to support his work or simply want something readymade, you can also buy T-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, and journals emblazoned with the symbol through Threadless.“I really just want to spread the image as much as possible and cement it in history,” Mitchell says. “In all honesty, the amount I’ve made from my Threadless shop so far is still less than my hourly rate, so I don’t really see it as a big deal. If you look at my Twitter, half the replies are people wanting to know where they can buy a shirt. Threadless is happy to help them out with that, and so I’m happy to let that happen.”Now that the symbol has flooded our streets and our timelines, Mitchell just has one request: “Impeach this idiot already,” he says.

    Comment →

    This is a Waterloo moment for Trump, the tea party and their alliance. They have been stopped in their tracks not only by Democratic opposition but because of a mutiny within their own ranks. Although never particularly liked or respected, it is now clear that they are no longer feared. The bankruptcy of their ideas and their incompetence have been exposed. Their momentum has been dissipated. Their rejection of political norms has itself been scorned. Our long national nightmare may finally be coming to an end.

    Comment →
    CK's WP Plugins


    Extraordinary Comments

    CK's WP Plugins