Thursday, February 24, 2005

Superhawk's right turn into darkness

LibertyRight Wing Nut House � BUSH TAPES: WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET: Politics served up with a smile... And a stilletto.

I usually like what Superhawk has to say over at Right Wing Nut House, but not this time.

Superhawk would have you believe that gays are not a danger, as long as we keep in our place and don't pursue our civil rights. Then, watch out!
This is something the libnuts will never acknowledge and don’t understand; that homosexuals as an interest group are a threat to values and traditions, not homosexuals as people. While there may not be a “gay agenda” set in stone or written down on paper, there is clearly a move afoot within the more radical elements of the gay community to stifle dissent from the religious right to their lifestyle. Not only that, but to actively promote that lifestyle and try to sell it like soda pop to impressionable, lonely, confused teenagers is outrageous.
So our wanting to be able to have our partners control medical decisions for us is a danger to your values. (Too many courts have overturned medical power of attorney in favor of parents and others - against the express wishes of those involved.) Is our not being fired from our jobs for being who we are a danger to your values? Is our not being thrown out of apartments a danger to your values? Doesn't sound like your values are all that robust.

Jews have been surrounded for millennia by people who don't share their traditions, and they have even been persecuted on regular basis for being different. Yet those traditions are strong enough to endure. In exactly what way are we a danger to your values and traditions? What values are you talking about? (Hate is not a family value.)

While some of the "political correctness police" would certainly like to silence the religious right, there are plenty on the right - it appears that Superhawk is among them - who would like to silence the gay community. Our political action threatens his "values and traditions." I would like to point out that this is very similar - not the same - as the way in which the Civil Rights movement threatened the "values and traditions" of the old south. Some of the speeches of George Wallace come to mind....

Gun owners aren't a threat to the left individually, its only when we band together in the National Rifle Association, or the Second Amendment Foundation, or any one of a dozen other groups and lobby for our rights that we threaten the values and traditions of the gun grabbers. Does that make us bad? Depends on your point of view, I guess.

What happened to the tradition of civility in civil society? What happened to, "Live, and let live?" How about the right to peacefully assemble and the right to voice your opinions and work for political change; does that fall under the heading of a value or a tradition? What happened to the values of "liberty and justice for all?"

This started as a post, morphed into a long comment on Superhawk's site, and then into an email. I don't like to start a long confrontation that is likely to degenerate into name calling - no one wins those arguments, and they do nothing to promote understanding of the issue. But I see no benefit in being quiet so, here we are. This is Superhawk's response to that email (which is basically what you see above)
Thanks for your note. I appreciate your comments but I'd like to point out that your sensitivity has perhaps blinded you to what I was trying to get across...either that or my post was incoherent; something I've been guilty of on more than one occasion.

I do not oppose equality of treatment for gay people. Whether or not that equality is achieved through the law or through changes in tradition and culture is a question I've left open due to some very troubling consequences I envision regarding the extension of the Equal Employment Opportunity Act and the application of the 14th Amendment to include one's sexual orientation.

The fact is, as citizens of the US, you are already covered by those laws. Extending the protections of those laws based on sexual orientation would, I'm convinced, open the floodgates to a host of special pleaders not related to same sex issues but rather other sexual preference groups as well as unrelated issues of preference regarding lifestyle and even physical appearance.

Now, before you get yourself into a snit regarding the term "sexual preference" it's very important, I believe, to recognize that the study of this issue is in its infancy and that it's impossible to say whether one's sexual orientation is a result of genes or choice. If it is a result of genes, one could conclude that sexual orientation as a matter of law may require some changes so that gay people have the same legal rights that straight people do. I don't object to this.

Will this include protections against discrimination? Frankly, I'm at a loss on that issue. While disapproving of discrimination personally, would you be asking me to accept a transgender female for instance with no stipulations? Or a radically effeminate male? Is this a question of ignorance and fear on my part or simply my own preference for the kind of individual I would hire to work in my company?

These aren't throwaway issues to be dismissed as the rantings of some homophobic nincompoop. These are real world consequences of extending discrimination coverage.

Here's where I agree with you:

What happened to the tradition of civility in civil society? What happened to, "Live, and let live?" How about the right to peacefully assemble and the right to voice your opinions and work for political change; does that fall under the heading of a value or a tradition? What happened to the values of "liberty and justice for all?"

I have absolutely no problem with gays banding together to effect political change or your right to assemble or speak in any way, shape, or form. I know that most gay people live up to the values and traditions of American society. Hell! There are two million gays who voted for George Bush! My beef, as I tried to make clear in my post, is with the radicals who seek to stifle opposition to their views and impose on the culture the promotion of the gay lifestyle. The article I linked to in my post describes just such a promotional gimmick where children are invited to a weekend retreat so that they could be immersed in the gay way of life.

Would you sit still and allow your children to be "immersed" at a weekend retreat for hetrosexuality? I would hope not. This is what I object to.

Can we achieve the things you outline in your letter without radically changing the law? I would hope so. And I believe we as a nation are making progress towards that goal.

Again, thanks for writing. Didn't mean to upset you but I hope I cleared up any misunderstanding you have about my positions.
OK, let't take a couple of things here to get started. Superhawk maintains that I am covered by the "equal protection under the law" clause of the constitution (and amendments). This is just ignorance (lack of facts is not stupidity) on his part. So here is a fact..
In 35 states, it is legal to fire someone based on their sexual orientation. In 45 states, it is legal to do so based on gender identity. (State courts, commissions or agencies have interpreted the existing state law to include some protection against transgender individuals in Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York.)
This doesn't have to be because the person in question is "an effeminate male," as Superhawk states - just that once an employer finds out you are gay, they can ask you to leave, and you have no recourse. That doesn't seem to me as if I have equal protection under the law.

Many forms of discrimination are more subtle. For example, if I even work for a company that will offer domestic partner benefits (i.e. health insurance), I will have to pay taxes on the employer contribution portion of those benefits, while you can insure your wife under your job's health plan tax free. Doesn't sound too equal to me.

Other forms of workplace discrimination fall somewhere between these 2 examples.

The whole question of preference drives me crazy. If it is a simple choice, when did you decide to be heterosexual, and were you influenced by any teachers, coaches, or soda commercials? Superhawk then goes on to claim that we don't enforce non-discrimination against people who hold certain preferences. Really? So it would be OK for me as a small business owner to fire everyone who is a registered Democrat from my company? That is a preference. And while most religious people don't like to think about it, people convert from one faith to another and from one sect to another within a faith every day. That would seem like a preference to me, and yet we maintain that you cannot discriminate based on creed.

If you are going to discriminate based on preference, you better be damn sure that you are never on the downside of that equation. The gun-grabbers in Ohio were successful in their bid to keep the list of people with concealed carry permits public. Now they are lobbying companies to fire people with these permits - it is just a preference after all, not something that is part of non-discrimination. Until the courts say "no discrimination, period," we will need to add groups to non-discrimination laws one group at a time.

My guess is that while he hates one group trying to stifle opposition to their views, the gays, he does not feel the same about the other groups doing likewise on the religious right. Don't think this happens? Then you weren't following the controversy around the Murphy Brown TV show, or the Ellen comedy series. The religious right has a fit whenever someone presents anything that conflicts with their values and traditions, but never thinks twice when they do it themselves. I found the 700 Club to be a hate-filled diatribe masquerading as enlightened Christianity every time I forced myself to watch it, but I never organized boycotts against it, or the stations that carried it.

The meat of Superhawk's rant seems to be based on the characterization of a weekend program - said characterization made by the Eagle Forum, an organization which I consider to be less than objective on just about every topic. But even if the description is true, how is it an attack on your values and traditions? Were your children kidnapped and forced to attend? Or were parents consulted and asked for permission? Or is it that you object to the fact that parents - not you and not the state - get to make decisions about their children. And yes, some parents will make stupid mistakes. Does that mean we should give up that power to the state? Do we want to remove children from evey parent who has a southern flag bumper sticker, because we consider that a sign of hate and an affront to our values and traditions?

As I said before, if your values and traditions can't stand up to a little tension in the way others live their lives, then those values are not held all that firmly.

Superhawk apparently never attended any summer camp. At a typical high school age summer camp, the camp counselors' main job is to ensure that the campers aren't running around having sex with each other. True most camps view the main problem as keeping the boys separated from the girls, but the problem is the same. And most camps have some staff - the director, the cook, the grounds keeper, etc. - that are over the age of 25. Does this mean that we should condemn any parent who sends their child to summer camp? Or just to those summer camps that Superhawk doesn't approve of?

In short I find Superhawk's remarks to be homophobic. And of course, when I disagree with him, it is my "sensitivity" that makes me over-react. It couldn't possibly be that he did write a homophobic piece - and if he did, he didn't mean to. (Sounds like the CNN defense - we didn't intend to break the federal gun laws. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.)

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