Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Powder-milk Politics

This is interesting to me. Garrison Keillor, outspokenly liberal in politics and ideology, writes a post for Salon which, on the surface, may be construed to say he's opposed to gay parents. The fact is, his very dry sense of irony is in full effect, as he essetially says gay parenting will be like anything else in culture that we will get used to seeing as normal. He describes stereotypes for the sake of mocking them, and says that the biggest threat to the well-being of children is parents who are too self-centered to put the good of their children ahead of their own welfare. (WORD.)

The conservatives with no reading comprehension trumpet it as GK backing up their opposition to gay marriage/adoption.

The liberals with no reading comprehension suddenly turn on their poster boy and accuse him in no uncertain terms of bigotry, idiocy, senility, and the greatest evil of all, being a conservative. A few even invite Keillor to "choke and die." (Read the comments, it's scary.)

Keillor then tried to speak plainly and clear up the matter, and his follow-up was summarily written off by most of the folks who made up their mind to be furious.

Maybe you read the article differently than I did. Maybe I will never know how it feels to read it as someone who is gay or has gay loved ones, because i'm not and I don't (at least as far as I know). Whether or not my lack of experience negates my opinion or ability to reason (much as it appears to regarding the abortion issue, I'm told), I'd be inclined to disagree.

But I find it interesting that a lifetime of proper and outspoken liberalism can be erased, wholly negated, by the perception of one 700-word piece in an online magazine. That instead of using Occam's razor to decide that maybe the piece needs another look, so many have instantly written him off as being the vilest evil our society can label, worse in the public mind than any sexual predator, Neo-Nazi, or terrorist: a homophobe.

Is it because he didn't profusely celebrate the ultimate superiority and rightness of gay parenting with showers of rose petals and (eco-friendly) ticker tape, that he was thus maligned? That's how it appears. I don't know if that's a fair judgment, but that's what I've got. Is the public so sensitive to any mention of homosexuality that anything other than obesiance is met with criticism? When so many gay men and women make livings playing off the stereotypes that they so deplore being mentioned by anyone outside the club? (Sean Hayes to the stage, please.) Doesn't that smack of hypocrisy to anyone else?

And I'm not talking about anyone's use of the six-letter "f" word here. That word is vile and ignorant, and I consider it almost the same way I do the six-letter "n" word. (Though curiously, each group feels free to use it with each other, and slap it from the mouth of anyone else. Hmm.) There is no place for either word in this day and age. (Especially in the speech of an avowed Christian, Ms. Coulter.)

What I'm getting at is that homosexual "rights" (forgive the scare quotes) has become such a third-rail issue that people are afraid to discuss it directly and actually acknowledge that it, like hetero marriage and parenting, has problems and negatives that should be considered. To speak against any aspect of the established position will get you tagged with that dreaded "H" label, which in this society has become akin the pirates' Black Spot.

And what people are losing sight of--as I am at risk of doing myself, in this post--is that he didn't oppose anything other than selfish parenting. The rest of his article was wry overstatement. But what a hornets' nest it stirred up, and how they sting.

Were I the esteemed GK, I'd be tempted to reconsider my political affiliation after being thus villified by so many. Granted, it's but a drop in the electoral bucket, but such a vehement outpouring of abuse would certainly give one pause. However, what I expect is that Keillor will continue to shrug this latest storm off with his affable good nature, and continue to hold fast to his (arguably misguided [... just kidding]) beliefs.

One simply cannot live in fear of being disliked or labeled or villified for what they write or say (whether seriously or in jest). Not on Lake Woebegone. Not in America. Not anywhere.

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