Saturday, November 01, 2008

Rising above the culture war

The past couple of weeks I was feeling somewhat frustrated that the anti-Prop. 8 campaign hasn't done more to answer the lies and misrepresentations of the opposition. It only takes a little research to refute each claim, and anyone who's been reading this blog the last two weeks has gotten a sample of my amateur findings. So why hasn't the No-On-Prop-8 campaign done more to respond to the accusations of the religious right?

Then I came to realize something. The anti-Prop. 8 campaign is not about screaming, accusing, and engaging their opponents in a fruitless, all-out shouting match. They are not trying to twist our arms, convince us of their moral views, or make us feel guilty or obligated. Instead they are appealing to our decency, and in doing so they demonstrate how much more respect they have for us than the other side.

The anti-Prop. 8 campaign is simply asking us to do what is fair and right. They are assuming that we already know a friend, family member, or acquaintance who is gay. They are assuming that whatever disagreements we may have with that gay or lesbian person, we ought to be intelligent enough and fair-minded enough to realize that he or she deserves to be treated as an equal member of our society. And they are trusting that when the critical time comes, when no one is looking, when we are alone in the booth with our ballots and our consciences and no one's eyes upon us but God's, we will do the right thing.

In other words, the anti-Prop. 8 campaign has been making a tremendous effort to rise above the culture-war ugliness even as the pro-Prop. 8 campaign has been attacking them with all the usual tactics from the playbook of 1985. Aren't the differences between these two campaigns telling? The fact is, the gay rights movement has grown up and gone to college, while the religious right continues to roam the playground looking for someone to bully. After all, it's the grown-ups who want to get married. The adolescents, with their limited imaginations, sneer at talk of committed love, always thinking it has be a cover for some baser agenda.