I grew up among social and religious conservatives - the kind of people who like Duck Dynasty and Chick-fil-A. Many of them might have been supporters of Santorum or Huckabee, and the older ones might have grown up with Pat Robertson. As we discuss cultural conflicts in America today, I really feel like I can give many of my readers some insight into who they are, and how best to approach the delicate task of negotiating the parameters of our civic and economic engagement.
My position, in short, is this: Fuck them. Fuck them all. Those people are assholes.
Allow me to elaborate. And when I say "elaborate" I mean "repeat myself." Fuck them. Fuck them all. Those people are assholes.
Seriously. They are awful. They are the worst. Being fair to them isn't something you need to worry about.
I can guess your objections. Don't people have a right to be terrible to others? Absolutely and truly terrible? What about that Voltaire quote about defending to the death and somesuch? That's a good point, and I could understand how that might give you pause. So let me address it by saying you should almost never hunt these people for sport. I think that's going too far. You shouldn't hunt them for sport or lock them in a warehouse and force them to struggle with a series of lethal traps while being menaced by a clown puppet.
Yes, of course they do have the right to believe gay people are inferior. Everyone has that right. Just like everyone has the right to believe people of other races and religions are inferior. And you could argue about this in a theoretical way, which conservatives like to do, because a theoretical discussion distracts us all from the facts of our shared history in this country.
But the facts are clear. Social and religious conservatives have a well-documented record of denying rights to people. Of throwing people out of communities, refusing them service at lunch counters, and bullying them everywhere. Homophobia, like racism, and like sexism, has a death toll associated with it. It also has centuries of oppression and misery associated with it. These aren't theoretical considerations. This isn't a free speech issue. At stake is whether we give social and religious conservatives the power to continue marginalizing everyone who doesn't agree with them. Because yes, they will absolutely do anything and everything they can get away with to make life miserable for people who don't make their list. They have, they do, and they will. So it was in the beginning shall it be in the end.
I've worked with these people, I've gone to school with them, and I've lived in their neighborhoods, and they are more psychotic than a Scientology video. They believe in a God who will spend eternity torturing the majority of human beings - the majority - in the worst ways you can think of, and that this God will do that hideous thing as an expression of His perfect love. They believe this nation belongs only to them, and that they have a duty to bring it to obedience. They don't respect the rights of women, because they really don't think women are equal, or that their bodies belong to them. When the cameras are videoing, they might slip and say they might feel uncomfortable with gay marriage - but when the cameras are off, they will say that being gay really should be a crime, and that God uses disease and natural disasters to punish this country for our tolerance. Hell, many of them have said such things publicly.
No, they don't want equal rights. That's a stupid thing to believe. Every election we have one or two candidates who represent those people, and they make it quite clear what they want.
I want a country where they have exactly the same level of respect as racist skinheads. Exactly that. No one gets to throw a rock through their shop windows, but everyone agrees that they're pretty vile. Gay kids are killing themselves because of the crap these people believe. They are pretty vile.
Will they look like the underdogs in my liberal dystopia? Will they whine about their mistreatment? Will they complain that it isn't fair?
Yes. Of course. Good.
Because fuck them.
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