h/t The World on a Slant
I don’t have thin skin, god knows—how could I after reading the mail that comes in to Savage Love for the last 15 years? But there’s something new and ugly in the air. The efforts of right-wing Christians and the true believers and/or useful idiots that run the GOP—hi there, Mary Cheney—to demonize gays and lesbians haven’t taken place in a vacuum. It seems to me that we may now be seeing the real-world consequences of the right’s efforts to characterize gay marriage—hell, gay existence—as an attack on straight marriage and families. Convince enough drooling idiots in the dominant group that the existence of another group represents some sort of existential assault and, predictable as pogroms, idiots will begin to lash out violently.
I’m reminded of a line in a New Yorker essay written after the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995. I can’t find the essay online anywhere, so I’m going to do a bad paraphrase here. (If anyone can find the actual quote, please send it my way.) For two decades right-wingers had encouraged their ever-terrified followers to fear and despise the federal government. It was a campaign that began with Ronald Reagan’s “10 Most Frightening Words in the English Language” joke (“I’m from the federal government and I’m here to help”) and ending two decades later with the NRA calling federal agents “jackbooted thugs” and Watergate felon G. Gordon Liddy reminding his listeners that, since federal agents wear bullet-proof vests, it was a waste of time to shoot federal agents in the chest. “Head shots! Head shots!” Liddy said. “Kills the sons of bitches!” (Gee… could you imagine what would happen if someone on the left said something like that now?)
And so here we are again. Prominent figures in the Republican Party are encouraging a poisonous hatred of gays and lesbians. And in what is surely a series of completely unrelated developments, old gay men are being beaten to death on their doorsteps, transsexuals are being fired, men in pink pants are being bashed, gay business are being harassed, and prominent right-wing commentators feel free to throw the word “faggot” at their political opponents.
Well and let's see: we foment hysteria about illegal immigrants, next thing you know, we've got self-formed militias, bored suburban kids join white supremacist gangs,
and oh yeah the Klan is growing.
I'm sure there is a better response to all of this than "let's all mobilize to shut down Fox News and Ann Fucking Coulter...
well, actually, no, i'm not really sure about that, in fact.
On the one hand, people like this don't get play unless that kind of unconscious insane hatred resonates with people; that is, they were already feeling or thinking that way, to one degree or another. Or had a "it's all THEIR fault" button just ready to be pushed.
On the other hand: they don't exactly help, either, do they?