‘If there’s a deep moral conviction that gay marriage is wrong, if a majority of Americans believe on principle that marriage is an institution for men and women, I’m not at all sure he [Barack Obama] shares that view, but he’s not an in-your-face type,’ Cass Sunstein, a colleague of Obama’s at the University of Chicago, says. ‘To go in the face of people with religious convictions – that’s something he’d be very reluctant to do.’ This is not, Sunstein believes, due only to pragmatism; it also stems from a sense that there is something worthy of respect in a strong and widespread moral feeling, even if it?s wrong.” For the whole article, see here. [Thanks to Greta Christina’s Blog.]
A politician usually goes with the flow, and seeks to garner as many votes as he or she can get, and as long as it’s perceived that most of the electorate are against full and equal civil rights for LGBT people and their families, we can be sure that no politician, Republican or Democrat, Liberal or Conservative, will fully support full and equal civil rights for LGBT people. A great deal of the lack of support among the electorate for full and equal civil rights for LGBT people stems from the fact that LGBT people are frequently viewed as “the other,” “the deviants”; are viewed by many as perverted heterosexuals.
And this erroneous view, and this alleged, irrational, belief of Obama’s “…that there is something worthy of respect in a strong and widespread moral feeling, even if it’s wrong,” reeks of both political expediency and the lack of moral outrage and the lack of principle that demands that all people have full and equal rights in a society that presumes itself to be “civilized.” How one can believe that any “strong and widespread moral feeling” must be respected, “even if it’s wrong,” boggles the mind of any rational person, until one comes to see that politicians, like most clergy who, in a sane world, if they were truly followers of Jesus, would be at the forefront of demanding equality for all people, follow the pack and will seek to be people-pleasers, rather than stand on the fundamental principle of equality for all citizens. It is only when they perceive that most of the electorate have this view of fairness that they will speak and act accordingly. Otherwise, they will whore after votes, just as all too many clergy whore after money and upward mobility in their careers.
I don’t choose to blame the victim for this state of affairs, but it would be inconceivable if the above statement was said in the context of bringing back the institution of slavery, or bringing back the institution of segregation, or bringing back the subjugation of women. It would be inconceivable, not because it would merely be irrational, but it would also be inconceivable because Afro-Americans and women have publicly stood up and agitated for their rights and refused to be treated as second-class citizens. And that refusal didn’t take the form of self-congratulatory Pride Parades, but took the form of public demonstrations among people who wouldn’t give up until that full equality was realized.
For anyone to make the grievous error of counting on any politician who aspires to office, especially high office, to stand up for any minority group, absent the threat of pain, such as the denial of much-needed votes, is a tragedy in and of itself. People must come to see that Gay people are every bit as “normal” as anyone else, and are deserving of the same rights as everyone else, and that realization will only come, not through “sweet reason,” but through constant agitation that requires “a fire in the belly” to endure “the season of suffering” that will be required to guarantee those rights.
Self-congratulatory, Mardi Gras type parades are over almost as quickly as they begin. But we all have to be in this fight for the long haul, and that energy must be translated into non-stop education, agitation, and demonstrations that would show the foolishness and irrationality of such a philosophy or statement that any strong and widespread feeling must be respected even if it’s wrong. In today’s U.S., that statement could and would only be said in reference to LGBT people. I can think of no other group about which such a statement would be seriously made!
And that philosophy and statement will only come to be seen as foolish and irrational when a critical mass is built where increasing numbers of LGBT people and allies, and all decent people, demand in any and every venue possible, that there are to be no second-class citizens. But that realization will only come about when we stop trying to count on politicians and established institutions to fight that fight for us, and we nurture that fire in the belly to not allow anyone to be discounted, humiliated, or deprived of the rights that accrue to all citizens in a country that presumes upon itself to be civilized and “Christian.”
Each of us have a stake in this fight! Tragically, as of now, it’s not seen as a fight by far too many people! Once second-class citizenship is no longer tolerated by increasing numbers of LGBT people and allies; once the crumbs from incrementalism, as seen in Domestic Partnerships and Civil Unions, are no longer acceptable to LGBT people; once direct action confronting the abuses heaped upon LGBT people with relative impunity is seriously undertaken by both individuals and organizations, no politician or anyone else, for that matter, will dare have attributed to him or her the belief “…that there is something worthy of respect in a strong and widespread moral feeling, even if it?s wrong.”
That “moral feeling” is certainly wrong, and it will only be through far more activism than has hitherto been displayed that politicians and most of the electorate will finally come to see the truth of that fact!