long time reader, first time post-er. just some ideas poorly capitalized. enjoy!
i usually don't think that crazy conservatives who think i don't deserve to exist merit my time--i kind of just block them out. but today i was bored at work, so i thought i'd give them a chance. and now i'm seriously pissed.
so today i watched a video filmed at a Yes on Prop 8 rally in which a speaker roiled a crowd of fervent supporters of taking away marriage rights from same-sex couples in california that i was, in fact, a jesus-hating nazi bully. what hitler did to germany and the rest of europe, so i am doing to america. in the parlance of the bush and co., i represent an "existential threat."
at first, i didn't know whether to be amused or afraid. something so clearly ignorant can't be taken seriously, and any rational person who hears it would clearly see it for the craziness it is.
well, apparently not.
watching the reaction of the people in the crowd at this rally, they not only saw logic in the parallel between hitler and gay people, they were incensed by it. they were mad--furious that those gays were coming to exterminate them just like hitler did to the jews. and the gays. and the gypsies. and anyone else who thought differently from the party line.
i was blown away by the cognitive dissonance required to say that gay people and the nazis who sent them to concentration camps were, in fact, one and the same.
and then my inner nerd kicked in, and i remembered a classic episode of The Twilight Zone starring a young Dennis Hopper as a naive neo-Nazi struggling to convince the masses to take his message of hate seriously. he struggles, that is, until a mysterious stranger arrives to coach him in the ways of rabble rousing. this dark, face-less stranger advises Hopper that in order to get people motivated, they must feel threatened and afraid. and so in his next speech, hopper says that instead of good americans respecting racial minorities and women and immigrants, good patriotic americans need to understand that they are under siege from these insidious groups and must respond before they, the good god-fearing white christians, are wiped out. at the climax of his speech, Hopper yells, "Respect the minorities? Patriotism, my friends, has become the minority. Love of country has become the minority. WE ARE THE MINORITY!"
the similarities to the yes on prop 8 people and the republican campaign nationwide are startlingly familiar. comparisons to john mccain's ubiquitous "my friends" aside, i see the same perverse logic of straight, white, christian men that says that somehow, in spite of every cultural privilege they enjoy, they are nonetheless in the minority and oppressed by people like african-americans and gays and women who want control over their own bodies.
and so i become the jesus-hating nazi bully. never mind i go to church. never mind that all of my grandmother's family were murdered in concentration camps, and that if i had been alive in nazi germany, i'd suffer the same fate. never mind that i was the one who got pushed and shoved and hit and teased mercilessly throughout middle and high school by the same kind of people who attend yes on prop 8 rallies. my access to equal rights, my very existence represents a threat to their hegemony, and because they locate that threat in me and the people i love, i become the oppressor.
i am so not the oppressor. as someone who feels the burden of legitimizing myself every day of my life to the public at large, whose very existence is an acceptable topic of national debate, it's not just crazy--it's scary. truly, deeply, scary. we can't ignore the yes on prop 8 people and their ilk anymore, dismissing them as ignorant and unworthy of recognition, because it's that very ignorance and irrational, perverse hatred that makes them so dangerous.
oh, and that mysterious guy that taught dennis hopper how market his hate mongering friends as the minority? guess who he turns out to be. i'll give you a hint: according to the yes on prop 8 people, he and i have a lot in common....
October 31, 2008