There is a difference between an ally and a friend. Allies have a similar agenda. Friends are people that you actually get along with. If you’re lucky, the two can overlap, but they don’t always. It is the job of an ally to offer tough love. It’s the job of a friend to offer a shoulder to cry on. I think far too many people are more concerned with being friends than allies. Consider, for example, the recent “controversy” in which Kirk Cameron appeared on Piers Morgan Tonight and described homosexuality as “unnatural” and “detrimental, and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization”. The question any sane person should ask after watching that is why anyone cares what a B-list actor and certified Christian nutcase thinks about one of the most pressing social issues of our time. Instead, people responded with outrage. GLAAD decried the statement, calling it “even more dated than his 1980s TV character” (okay, I have to admit that’s pretty funny.) Really, I’m surprised no one is asking Piers Morgan why he asked that moron to appear on TV in the first place.
Here’s a puzzler: when was the last time a news network asked a Klansman to come on the air and discuss civil rights? I’m guessing it hasn’t happened since the 1960s. Kirk Cameron qualified his statement by saying that he has gay friends, which actually isn’t surprising. There are plenty of fags out there who are so desperate for approval that they will befriend someone who regards them as an abomination in a misguided show of tolerance. Of course, that hardly excuses Cameron’s hostility. I could spend time digging into the psychology of the gay Uncle Toms (Uncle Tobiases?) who vote Republican and pal around with Rick Santorum because they consider themselves more open-minded than those who refuse to hang out with people who don’t consider them equals. I could point out that it doesn’t make someone a “one-issue voter” to refuse to vote for a candidate who opposes equality for all, because inequality has a way of infecting every other issue that affects our society. Instead, I will devote this space to mocking people whose beliefs are different than mine. It’s just more fun.
I met a Republican at a Halloween party. She was dressed as Princess Leia, which I mention only because it makes for an interesting visual. When she told me that she was a Republican, I stared for a moment. “You’re judging me, aren’t you?” she said. “Everyone judges me.” Seeing as how I live (or lived, until recently) in one of the most liberal cities in the country, this is hardly surprising. I can’t really say I have sympathy for this woman, however. Yes, I admire her for having a sense of humor about her situation, but when is she going to stop making excuses for her party and, I don’t know, FIND ANOTHER PARTY? If you qualify yourself, you can justify anything. (“I’ll concede that Jeffrey Dahmer was wrong to kill, rape, and eat those people, but if you set all that aside…”) The Republican Party is not a fundamentally good organization that has lost its way. It’s a fundamentally evil organization that has only recently begun to show its true colors.
I’ll tell another story just to illustrate my point. I have a friend with whom I had a falling out not too long ago. There’s a chance that he’ll read this, but I really don’t care, as I said all of these things to his face and haven’t spoken to him since our argument. After Chris Christie vetoed New Jersey’s gay marriage bill, he said that while he disagreed with what Christie did, he had to admit that Christie’s reasons for vetoing the bill (namely, that he seemed to think the timing was wrong) made him stop and think. About what? There is only one valid position on gay marriage—namely, to be for it. To think otherwise is to either be a bigot or enable bigotry. When I called my friend out on his cowardice, he told me that I wasn’t listening, and that he didn’t hate gay people, he just thinks people should realize that the problem lies with the use of “marriage” as a legal term rather than the denial of marriage rights to everyone. Um…what? Even if that’s true (and even though I’m not a lawyer, I don’t think it is), that’s irrelevant. It’s like saying that you’re not going to help someone who was injured in a car accident because cars are evil things that pollute. Claiming that you’re addressing the root of the problem is nothing more than a pompous, douchey way of excusing yourself for not getting off your ass. People have fought and died for this issue. No matter how smart you think you are, you aren’t smarter than all of them.
There was an incident that occurred about a year-and-a half-ago that illustrates my final point. Judge Vaughn Walker had just issued his ruling that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, and there was a pile-up on a friend’s Facebook page as people tried to convince a conservative Christian that her opposition to gay marriage was wrong. I’m not going to repeat their arguments because you’ve heard them all before. As far as I’m concerned, the discussion didn’t get going until I entered it, telling said conservative Christian, essentially, to go fuck herself. Immediately, people jumped on me, telling me that my rhetoric was too harsh, that I should really tone it down, one even comparing me to Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. Beck and Limbaugh aren’t hateful assholes because they use harsh words, you dimwitted monkeys, they’re hateful assholes because they hate people who are different. To politely say that gay people are inferior is, in the minds of these morons, less hateful than calling that out for the bullshit that it is. I cannot be any clearer about this: if you think that the problem with the gay rights debate is that the two sides aren’t listening to each other, you are part of the problem. If you disagree with that, never read this blog again. I’m serious.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that moderation for the sake of moderation is a fool’s game. Sitting on a fence does not give a person the ability to see what us petty partisans can’t see; it gives that person a stick up their ass. I’ve spent a good deal out of my life trying to pull those sticks out. If I have to, I will end friendships. I’d rather be an ally.