Sunday, July 29, 2012

Conservative Debate: I'm 100 % Right, You're 100% Wrong

Facebook has been caught up in two issues for the last week or so, namely, gun control and Chik-Fil-A. I've debated gun control so many times in the last two decades that I left that one alone for the most part, only trying to make the point a time or two that - yes, "guns don't kill people, people kill people" but people with automatic weapons can kill a lot more people in a lot shorter period of time than people with, say, knives. The N.R.A. and it's followers always want to conflate gun control with taking all your guns but, of course, what most of us really want are simply some commonsense efforts that make it slightly less likely that crazies like the Aurora shooter can take out whole crowds of us at a time. And, no, I don't think it would have helped if theater-goers had all been armed. Probably even more people would have been shot.

But Chik-Fil-A, now that's a whole new controversy and it seems to have brought out the worst in fundamentalist conservatives. What I've learned about the right-wing crowd is that there is no such thing as a debate where you say, "yeah, but what about this?" and they give their best answer and they say, "yeah, but what about that?" and you give your best answer. Their starting position is - "I am 100 per cent right and you are 100 per cent wrong - end of story". We've seen that very same attitude from the Republicans in Congress these last few years (much to the detriment of our democratic form of government). They will not ever grant the possibility that you have a point or even tiny piece a point or that you might be even the merest bit right (or I should say, correct, as they have pre-empted the word right as their very own). They will not consider a compromise even if you do 99 per cent of the compromising. They demand the whole apple. They won't even let you chew on the core.

Because liberals, don't you know, are the source of the decaying of America. Obama (foreign, Muslim, traitor) and his supporters are out to destroy America

 and we have come close to getting the job done already. Therefore, conservatives must be hyper-vigilant. If they don't take their country back for the conservative God in the upcoming election, it may very well be too late (although if God is all-powerful isn't he going to determine what happens anyway?) I have a little difficulty seeing Mitt Romney as their Knight in Shining Armor and many of them do too but sometimes your Savior is anointed only because he's not your nemesis.

And the Kathy family, owners of the Chik-Fil-A chain are their new poster children for conservative principles. They are all going to rush out and gorge themselves on chicken sandwiches to prove a point (which will probably have the Kathys laughing all the way to the bank).

For those of you who may not know what this is all about. The elder Mr Kathy started the Chik-Fil-A chain of restaurants which has become hugely successful. Mr. Kathy's son is now the CEO of the company. The Kathys are devoutly Christian. They are not open on Sunday. They support groups that oppose gay marriage. They want the Defense of Marriage Act to remain the law of the land because their God tells them being gay is a sin. You assume, or at least I assume, that back in the day, the Kathys would have been donating their money to anti-mixed race marriage groups.

So far, so good. The Kathys certainly have the right to spend their money and run their business anyway they please. That's the American way. But it is also the American way that those who disagree with them - gays and their supporters - have the right to choose not to enrich people whose actions are meant to hurt them.

So, it's a good old American argument and may the best side win.

Except to the conservatives, it isn't a good old American argument. It is, instead, good against evil. They seem to believe that it is outrageously unfair for people who oppose the Kathy's point of view to "discriminate" against them by not patronizing their restaurants. Boycotting Chik-Fil-A is blatant discrimination but refusing gay Americans their full civil rights is not? I think the right-wingers have slipped behind the looking glass. (Haven't conservatives boycotted businesses with whom they disagree themselves? I seem to recall that they have.)

The reactionary right claim that gays see themselves as "entitled" and want more than they deserve and the Kathy's are doing God's work to try to stop that. It seems to me that gays only want the same civil rights the rest of us already have. I don't claim to know what God's expectations of us are but if I was guessing, I'd say He'd be on the other side....the side of tolerance and respect for our neighbors, gay or straight.

I brought this up on Facebook and found out fast that to the far right, tolerance is the four-letterest of four-letter words, worse than any that are banned on primetime television. Tolerance is just another way of saying lilly-livered, weak-kneed, limp-wristed, chicken-hearted. To tolerate is to condone.

"What do you care anyway?" I asked one of my conservative debaters. "How does it affect you if gays get married?"

Oh, but it does affect him! Because he is offended by the very idea of gayness and what is he supposed to say to his innocent children if they see two men kissing? "I don't know," I said, "that they love each other, maybe?" And don't I realize, he asked, "that if we're going to let gay people marry, the next step is to let people marry their dogs? Do I think his pit bull (I don't really know what kind of dog he has, I just think he'd be the type to have a mean pit bull - not that I think pit bulls are inherently mean but they attract owners who want to make them that way) deserves to receive his retirement and social security check?

Is this a deliberate ploy, do you think - that they drive off their opponents by indulging in such breath-taking ignorance that you realize it is hopeless and go away?