Gay, I mean. I’m not gay. Nor do I have a personal opinion on your gayness. Or half gayness. Or exploratory gayness. Or lack of gayness altogether. It’s a lifestyle choice–to not spend time dwelling upon who may or may not be operating at varying levels of gay.
But this piece isn’t about being gay, or straight. If you are a TrueCon© purist in the mood for a brawl over the virtueless life of the American homosexual, the door is right behind you. If you’re one of those allegedly virtueless American homos looking for a forum to air your grievances about the hateful wingnuts who want to patrol your bedroom at night, please go away. I don’t want to go anywhere near your bedroom. EVER.
We’re in an election year, and with every election year comes the birth and rebirth of those issues that make those of us who remain engaged in politics 24/7–and don’t just surface mid-primary to parrot talking points they read in The Weekly Standard–want to light ourselves on fire in the middle of a busy intersection. As of now, LGBT equality and abortion are neck and neck for the Most Obnoxious Issue and Advocates trophies. For now, though, let’s deal with LGBT equality. It’ll be fun. Or something.
Equality is one of those things that everybody loves to fight about, but nobody wants to define. The meaning has become elusive; for progressives, what once stood for equal opportunity now stands for equal results. This is our first problem–a difference in expectations. Most conservatives, myself included, look at equality as having an equal chance at success. Efforts by the government to “fix” things lead to skewed results, and eventual societal dependance on bureaucratic interference.
Not so with the Left. For liberals, lacking “programs” bent on “achieving equality” is akin to throwing every woman and minority under the bus. They reject the concept of equal opportunity, and instead focus on the importance of equal results–even if their solutions absolutely destroy the very need for equal opportunity.
Which brings me to the point. Equality.
As far as LGBT issues are concerned, we’ve gotten to the point where “equality” doesn’t even matter any more. We’ve gotten past equality, and moved on to… something else. There’s really no word for it. I’d hate to allege that liberals are using that demographic as pawns in a sick political game of “Screw the Other Party,” but that’s really what it comes down to. If it weren’t for that we wouldn’t have seen the stunning evolution of a little thing called “hate.”
Hate is another one of those concepts that people love to scream about, but never really take the time to define.
Well, except for this conservative. This conservative is sick of the Left’s cheap perversion of what it means to “hate.” Their definition is an insult to truly hateful people everywhere. “Hatred” does not equate to disagreement. “Hatred” is not analogous to “dislike.” Hatred goes far beyond the superficial. It is the opposite of love. To love someone is to want the best for them; to hate someone is to want the worst–for them to be damned or cursed, or to die.*
What a horrible thing, to hate. To wish someone would die. This is something you’d normally associate with the KKK or Nazi Germany. Not conservatives. And yet, every day I’m inundated with accusations of hatred and intolerance– sometimes from my own friends and colleagues. It’s exhausting, to have such a horrible thing projected onto thoughts I’ve yet to think, and word’s I’ve yet to speak. Exhausting, but manageable, because I know myself better than the loons that think they know me. What really gets me is when those freedom fighters on the Right foist a hateful motivation on loving, honest, and compassionate conservatives and Christians.
Recently, the law school I attend co-sponsored a panel entitled, “IS HATE A MICHIGAN VALUE?” It addressed several pieces of legislation that were, at the time, making their way through the Michigan legislature. These pieces of legislation had the potential to make a substantial impact on the gay community, and if there’s demand, I’ll address this legislation at another time. In preparation for this event, the school issued a press release, and promoted the student-run event on the front page of the main website. (Interestingly enough, the Federalist Society was denied any sort of promotion or website privileges when it hosted conservative Michigan Supreme Court Justice Stephen Markman. I’m sure it was just a coincidence, right? The marketing department has yet to respond to my inquiries into the matter.) I have information suggesting, but that I have not confirmed, that the student groups who sponsored the event were instructed to not bring a balanced viewpoint to the panel. But that’s beside the point–we all knew what it was, I was just the only one brave enough to start asking questions. The point is, for two weeks, it was in my face: “Is HATE a Michigan value? Is it a Michigan REPUBLICAN value? HATE IS YOUR VALUE. HATE HATE HATE. I am a victim of your HATRED. HATE HATE HATE.” It was enough to drive me insane. I wasn’t able to attend the event due to class, but that’s immaterial; what is material is the fact that in the days leading up to the event, both Facebook and Twitter were inundated with discussion about the “hatred” exemplified by Michigan legislators in proposing this “hateful” legislation that was just so full of “hate” and meanness and “hate” and more “hate.”
In those few days, I may have lost friends, because I refused to let it go. What gives my colleagues the right to publicly accuse me of hate? I had no recourse. What makes this garbage so difficult to counter is the simple fact that progressives–especially progressives and even moderates my age–have lost sight of what it means to hate. They have no understanding of the difference between hate and disagreement. This is mostly due to the fact that for most of our natural born lives, college and professional school-aged people have been trained to believe that our feelings and self-esteem are the most important things in the world. In fact, they are other-worldly– the world revolves around our right to be understood and coddled and made to feel like we are special and important and right. Therefore, when someone disagrees with our lifestyle–our gayness, or our partying habits, or our sex life–it’s not just disagreement, it’s a grudge against us as a person.
This, of course, is bull crap. It would be laughable if it weren’t so sad; sad because, for the most part, they believe it. They really do believe that Christians are inherently hateful because doctrine teaches that homosexuality is a sin– like we can’t help but be all nasty and judgey whenever we sense there’s a gay about. They really do believe that Rick Santorum is a hateful man because he is a Christian. They really do believe that ideological disagreement amounts to, and I quote, “not giving a f*** about [gay people].”
I’m over it. Truly over it. Why? Because I do ”give a f***” about gay people. So do conservatives, so do Christians, and so does Rick Santorum. If I stopped caring–actually stopped caring–about every person who embraced as part of their lifestyle something I disagreed with, I wouldn’t care about anyone. Anyone. Ever. I’d be… Dostoyevsky. Or someone else equally depressing. The point is, if progressives actually applied their own logic to the world at large, they’d end up with a world full of people who don’t care about anyone, because there’s not a person in the world whose views are 100% in lockstep with those of even one other person. Foundations differ. Motivations differ.
If we’re dealing with a world where it comes down to either “HATE” or “complete agreement and acceptance,” it’ll be hate coming out on top every single time.
That’s not good enough for me. I’m better than that argument. I’m above the intellectual dishonesty of it, especially when the people accusing me of being “hateful” are the ones who think it’s productive to threaten and intimidate people who use the power of free speech in an attempt to preserve their own traditions. Because that’s what it comes down to. If you took a survey of 100 conservatives right now, I’d bet that 99 of them couldn’t care less what you do in your own bedroom. I know I don’t. There could be swings and blowup dolls involved, and I wouldn’t even blink. It’s your sex life. What they’re worried about is the preservation of a tradition (or sacrament or ordinance, depending on their affiliation) that “society” has no business messing with. The sacrament of marriage does not belong to society; it belongs to the church. It is a gift from God, separate from whatever the State requires before a couple is deemed “married.” Understand? Not yours to change. Not yours to co-opt. Not yours to define. Wanting to protect this beautiful, sacred thing is not hate–it’s remaining true to the very definition of what that beautiful, sacred thing is.
So there it is.
Most gay people I know think that I’m a nut for loving Jesus and thinking that having my husband’s babies is the sexiest thing I’ll ever do. That’s fine; I’m not going to accuse them of “hate” because of how they feel about it, because it’s not hate–it’s a lack of understanding.
Ironic, considering how huge of a push there is for straight society to automatically understand and acquiesce to anything the activist LGBT demands of us.
But that’s the key, isn’t it? Understanding. The most effective way I’ve found of defeating the “HATE” narrative is to explain the “why”: “Why don’t you support my marriage?” “Why don’t you support my lifestyle?” “Why don’t you approve of pumping pre-pubescent kids full of hormones?“ Tell them why–and don’t just give them a “because the BIBLE” argument and move on, because that gets you nowhere. If there’s one thing a non-Christian doesn’t understand or accept, it’s what the Bible says. Explain the motivation. Explain the doctrine. Do whatever you have to do to deconstruct the idea that hatred motivates the traditional mindset. It may not change minds en masse, but it might help a friend or coworker understand where you’re coming from. It’s worked for me–it can work for you, and you don’t have to compromise a thing to do it.
And for all you gay rights activists out there–roll with the understanding thing. If you want to change conservative minds, you might want to start with not screaming obscenities and assaulting innocent people with handfuls of glitter.
Just a thought.
Amy Miller :: Michigan State University College of Law :: East Lansing, Michigan :: @Amyvrwc
*Thanks to my friend J for this explanation
Cross-posted at THATamymiller.com