Maybe what people can do — people on each side of the political aisle – is stop screaming and start listening. And here I’m begging not just you, the reader, but also my own newsroom. You think Indianapolis is split by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act? You should see the Indianapolis Star. Some of the best people in this building, my friends, are horrified by the RFRA. Some of the best people in this building, my friends, support the RFRA and are hurt by the insinuation that support for this bill is tantamount to bigotry.
So I say again, to people outside my building and within: Stop yelling and start listening. Liberals, listen to this liberal lawyer who notes that the RFRA has compassionate roots, roots that won for a Muslim the right to grow his beard in prison. Conservatives, listen to your own conservative mayor in Indy who is against the RFRA because he says it presents to the country an image that not everyone is welcome in Indiana, and by extension Indianapolis.
Is that what we want? To have a significant portion of America — pick a percentage, but pick one in double figures – recoiling at our state?
Do you know what is worse than upsetting everybody?
Do you know what is worse than everybody arguing and feeling bad and being all down about stuff?
DISCRIMINATING AGAINST PEOPLE FOR THINGS THEY CAN’T CHANGE.
That is worse than all this unseemly shouting.
That is worse than people “recoiling at [your] state.”
That is worse than everybody’s goddamn EMOTIONS.
I am just so done equating bigots being bummed at being called bigots with people being denied their most basic fucking rights. It is NOT the same. It is NOT equal. You are NOT oppressed in equal measure with a gay dude who just got fired for being gay, because you had to change the oil on a gay dude’s car.
And not for nothing but there is actual religious discrimination happening around the world, including discrimination against Christians. (There is plenty of religious discrimination happening in America, too, though a lot of it is to Muslims and Jews so we don’t care so much about that kind.)
But keep jerking yourselves off, SEVENTY SEVEN PERCENT OF THE FUCKING COUNTRY, because you are the most burdened, ever, by anything. You are just so totally oppressed because you are not allowed to oppress everyone who isn’t you, which ISN’T THAT MANY GODDAMN PEOPLE.
Telling everybody to calm down and speak nicely to each other about things so we don’t get upset and raise our blood pressure is one of my least favorite things columnists do now. Why is it bad to get upset and argue? Why is it bad to speak out and maybe lose friendships because you actually care about the world and what happens in it? Why must we all raise our pinkies and make sure nobody around us notices we’re alive?
And if this isn’t worth getting upset about, if this isn’t worth speaking up for, what is?