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Asymmetrical Privacy

Photo by Brymo

Photo by Brymo

Isn’t it funny how conservatives are suddenly all about privacy now?  They don’t believe in any kind of right to privacy when it comes to abortion or gay sex or warrantless wiretapping, but God forbid that anyone should ever want to see what they’re up to.

They don’t want anyone to see them arguing against gay marriage, they don’t want anyone to know they signed a petition against gay marriage domestic partnerships, they don’t even want anyone to see the First National Tea Party Convention, featuring Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann.

And why is that?  Well, they don’t want to be harassed.  No, seriously.  As my good friend Spear and Magic said at my place about the suddenly-camera-shy tea partiers:

Heaven forbid. It’s terrible when you’re trying to have a session and some group continually disrupts it. Just awful.

Sure, harassment is fine and dandy when you’re the one brandishing firearms and shouting down congresspeople at townhalls, or yelling at women going into family planning clinics, but when there’s even the slightest chance that someone might call you a bigot, well, that’s just as bad as the KKK killing Freedom Riders.

It’s a truly amazing lack of perspective.  Gays are persecuted, discriminated against, bullied, beaten, raped, and murdered; many of them feel they have to conceal the very essence of who they are to fit in and be safe.  Gay marriage opponents?  The worst that’ll happen to them is that they’ll get picketed or insulted, or get the cold shoulder from residents of the 21st century.  But apparently the risk of facing intolerance of one’s own intolerance is too steep a price to pay for defending The Most Important Institution Evar.

After all, if they’re pious paladins doing God’s work, shouldn’t they be proud of that and want the whole world to know it?  Instead they hide in the bigotry closet, pretending to be decent human beings who don’t think gays are morally degenerate creatures unworthy of the right to marry.

To quote David Link:

People who believe they are right should be willing to own the morality of their cause, even when that means taking very real, sometimes severe risks such as going to jail, or even being killed — neither of which anyone opposed to gay equality can truthfully claim.  That’s what lesbians and gay men have had to do to get where we are.  Perhaps that’s harsh, but I’m having a very hard time seeing how name-calling really counts as a similar sort of abuse, or how risking some loss of government funds equates with actual peril in a way that would justify refusing to air arguments in a public forum like a court of law.

If the argument against televising the Prop 8 trial had been “The dehumanizing lies spouted by the opponents of equality could irreparably warp impressionable young minds and turn our children into fresh recruits for the homophobic agenda” I might have gone along with that.  But “We don’t want everyone to see what intolerant assholes we are” just isn’t very persuasive at all.
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