Quiet hate hurts

A few months ago, I found myself in one of those
Disneyland-style lines at the airport as we attempted to pass through security.
Just behind me in the line was a beefy, muscular guy, about six feet tall, who
had a shaved head and a ton of tattoos. At a certain point in the weaving line,
I managed to get a good look at him. His arms were adorned with swastikas and
pit bulls. Down the back of each of his triceps was a single word: “WHITE” on
the left and “POWER” on the right. When he got to the front of the line, I
slowed up a bit to see what would happen as he approached the black guy who was
checking IDs. He glared at the TSA agent with palpable contempt, but moved
forward once he was checked out.

There was no incident, but the message was clear: I hate
you.

I thought about that guywhen I watched the election results
in Maine roll in.
I was saddened for my friends in the gay community who want
nothing more than the right to be as miserable as those of us in the straight
community. Marriage is one of those things that some people love, others hate
and even more avoid. I know many people who have lifelong commitments that
dwarf mine but are unrecognized by the law and that saddens me. Listening to a
turdburgler like Frank Schubert who seems to think that this miscarriage of
justice is in some way preserving the institution of marriage reinforces my
sense that stupid people shouldn’t breed.

However, it took the Maine election to help me realize that
the issue of gay marriage doesn’t come down to guys like Schubert or Chuck
Schott or the other overt haters. While these folks are the lightning rods, the
stereotypes and the reasons activists get up in the morning to defend their
causes, they’re not the problem.

In an election thatdrew upwards of 500,000 people according
to fivethirtyeight.com
, we saw a 52-48 split. If that’s the case, we’re looking
at about 260,000 people who said, “Yeah, we’re grateful for your contributions
to the fashion industry and all, but marriage? Let’s not go there…” Of these
quarter-million-plus voters, they’re obviously not all loud idiots carrying
signs or people who use “faggot” as a portion of their daily vernacular.

Instead, they’re the “regular people” we spend time with
every day. They’re the grandparents who are watching their grandkids ride on
the fake pony outside of K-mart. They’re the smiling folks who work the counter
at Starbucks and chat with everyone about the weather. They’re the people who
strike up a conversation with strangers on the bus about how the local high
school football team is going to do this year. They’re the decent, hard-working
folks who pay taxes, donate coats to Goodwill this time of year, help out at
the church festival and do all sorts of other things that are aimed at the
betterment of a society.

And yet, when they enter the shrouded secrecy of a voting
booth, they can’t bring themselves to say that equal rights aren’t special
rights. They get some strange vision that if we legalize gay marriage, a giant
spree of gaydom will unfurl across our country and that the red, white and blue
will become the pink, cream and robin’s egg. They hear the echo of the talk
radio idiots in their head about “what those people do in their bedrooms” at
night, as if the people in committed relationships aren’t doing it now to begin
with. (And as a general aside, I’ve seen some heterosexual couples that would
make me more than shudder if I had to imagine what they looked like doing the
deed in their bedroom. The fact that your nudity and sex acts may repulse
someone else should not be viewed as a legitimate reason to deny marriage.)

When it comes right down to it, we’d be better off if the
haters were honest. As Americans, we’ve always been better fighting wars in
which the enemy was clear and easily targeted. We know we can’t persuade the
people who are willing to mar their bodies, parade with signs or scream their
slogans in the name of a hateful cause. However, we can find ways to fight back
against that.

It’s the silent fears and quiet hatred that will always
cause trouble in a fight like this.

13 thoughts on “Quiet hate hurts

  1. Maitri says:

    Sometimes, they’re members of your own immigrant family. Sigh.

  2. BuggyQ says:

    I’ve obviously been eating too much Halloween candy. When I read “giant spree of gaydom,” I thought of a huge roll of rainbow-colored tart candy. Hey, wait a minute! Rainbow colored…and that Willy Wonka guy is so teh ghai!
    Sorry, Doc. But this makes me sad and mad, and I deal with humor.
    On the plus side, the silent haters are growing fewer in number all the time, at least as far as the gay marriage issue is concerned. The kids are all right, and the oldsters are…well…old.

  3. The Dol says:

    I just had an extended debate about the Maine vote (and Prop 8 by extension) on Facebook, and the thing that struck me is how people don’t get that their argument against gay marriage makes no sense. On the one hand, they’ll say, “It’s not fair to ask churches to go against their beliefs” (No one is asking churches to stop being bigoted, backwards institutions), and then in the next breath, “It’s just a word, so why does it matter if we call it a civil union or a marriage?” (If it’s just a word, than why do YOU guys care so much about keeping it away from the gay folk?). There is no cogent argument on that side of the debate. When I called it a referendum on a whole group of people, and said how dehumanizing that is, I get, “That’s America–we get to vote on things, even if it isn’t fair.” Ok, wtf?
    It’s like there is a level of humanity that is just being stifled by a whole mass of the population. In order to avoid saying, “I am afraid of gay people because I don’t understand them,” which is, I think what is for a lot of people, they come up with a bunch of nonsense that sounds like a real argument. At least for the five seconds that they’re saying it.

  4. Athenae says:

    “It’s just a word, so why does it matter if we call it a civil union or a marriage?”
    “Because the federal government awards benefits ranging from tax breaks to discounted fishing licenses based on the words ‘married’ or ‘spouse,’ otherwise this wouldn’t be an issue of fairness under the law, it would be an issue of you not liking buttsex, you backwoods hick assface.”
    Maybe too on the nose?
    A.

  5. Jude says:

    Needs a little refinement, A.
    Teh buttsecks haz 2 B btwn 2 d00ds.
    As the kids would say.

  6. MapleStreet says:

    Of course, the obvious tie in to my South Carolina connections and covert racism. The problem is that unlike your tatoo artist, you never really know if a decision is based on race (or the gay) or actually on a realistic reason.
    I’ll readily say again, that one of the problems in the gay marriage amendments is that “Marriage” has both religious and civil underpinnings. While it is reasonable to expect people to conform to certain community standards regarding civil issues (drive under the speed limit, etc. Although who said people are reasonable?) it is a problem to expect religious belief to follow the community as a whole.

  7. pansypoo says:

    to hate is human.

  8. The Dol says:

    Athenae, yeah, I made that point–about fifteen kajillion times, and the circular argument just continued. Either it’s the end of the world and we are squishing the rights of the Mormons (poor babies), or it’s just not that big a deal, and what are we crying about? They can’t seem to be able to pick one. I see the same sort of thing in our local paper’s letter to the editor section, so I know this isn’t just a fluke.
    Also, I have been told that it’s not like gay people can’t have a traditional, straight marriage, so they really have the same rights as everyone else. I just don’t even know where to start when the stupid is that stupid. At a certain point, I simply want to blame Republicans for our declining public school system, and the complete lack of critical thinking.

  9. pansypoo says:

    critical thinking isn’t multiple choice.

  10. Susan says:

    It’s going to change, and it will be in their lifetimes, so you can have some pity for the stupid. The kids support gay rights, so the argument is effectively over. I feel bad for all of my friends and neighbors who can’t have this now, but I’ve seen the homomentum (as Shakes Sis calls it) and over the course of my life, it’s been building exponentially. The Haters are on the losing side of the demographic.

  11. liprap says:

    Echoing Maitri’s comment here – ‘cept, in my case, from the people who are not immigrants 8-P.
    My in-laws voted no on Prop 8 out on the Left Coast. My husband and sister-in-law were incredulous. “How does that HURT you?” my husband asked my MIL over the phone in disbelief when he first heard. Because he couldn’t fathom any other possible reason for such a vote denying a commitment many others can make when their loved one is of the opposite sex. Well, he COULD, but he was too polite that say to yell “BIGOTRY” aloud.
    My MIL was a tad ashamed, to her credit…but this WILL come up again, and we’ll have to just come out in greater numbers, watch and wait, until there is change.

  12. Adrastos says:

    The votes have been very disappointing but there has been progress. 20 years ago, support by mainstream pols for any kind of gay rights was tantamount to career suicide. I wish things were moving more quickly in the right direction but they are.

  13. Crusader says:

    Thanks for the inspiring commentary!

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