Monday, February 24, 2014

Hunble Politics

One of the more interesting things I've come across in my research is that for the most part, people who over and under estimate their knowledge of any issue are still rather comfortable sharing their opinions about policy and culture. If they believe that they are 'in the right,' they only speak even louder. I'm reminded of Piers Morgan's awful re-interview of Janet Mock, where he furiously chastised her and others for being ungrateful towards an ally of 'gay rights.' Regardless of how right or wrong anything he said actually was, the vehemence of righteousness displayed is not uncommon, and can be an awful thing simply because others not familiar with these issues can still regard these shouters as bearers of rationality and just emotions. Even arguing with somebody who is against gay rights is sometimes preferable over debating with somebody who proclaims to be the more even-keeled version of what you want.

I've seen a lot of comments and discussion about feelings sorry about Piers Morgan and wanting to reach out to him to simply 'educate him more' - similar in vein to the recent Alec Baldwin (and I struggle greatly with being a Baldwin fan) apology reactions. A close friend once told me that those we should try to reach are the ones who want to be accepting, but are simply too ignorant to be - rather than roadside preachers and hell-raisers. What about people like Morgan and Baldwin? We've had friends like them, that love talking about how supportive they are simply because they believe we don't deserve to die or be thrown in prison, that are probably accepting from person-to-person but not of LGBT people as a culture, that think marriage and 'that's so gay' are the only things we're worried about. And they get angry when we try to point out there's so much more. "Be grateful." "You need us." "Don't be so alienating."

Sometimes they are the snakes that have snuck by guise of acceptance into the little garden we have carved out for ourselves. To tear down their smiling bigotry is to spurn a hand that feeds us with fruit we've cultivated on our own. Perhaps they really do need to simply learn more, and our persistent callouts will eventually resonate in the righteousness that forms the wall of their echo chambers. I just never imagined that some of the most exhausting work, person-to-person, would take place amongst people who declare themselves as part of the same movement.

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