Of Movements, Rights, and Big Mouthed Allies
So there’s been major issues over on LiveJournal about conservative political ads (as well as some with other objectionable content) appearing on the pages of people who are not exactly the target market. And the ads are indeed offensive, but they are also an indication of what’s going on in the oppression business these days. It’s not a comfortable conversation from a business (or social) standpoint, but it is a necessary one. For a while now I’ve had thoughts brewing on the whole marriage protection movement and why Perez Hilton’s face off with Miss California isn’t quite the coup he thinks it is as well as on why these groups are proliferating courtesy of slick campaigns like the one behind The National Organization for Marriage and their (effective!) fear mongering tactics and pre-written talking points for supporters. Like it or not they have a coherent cohesive approach to achieving their goal, and the reaction to them (while certainly fun from the standpoint of easy mockery) isn’t anywhere near as well organized or packaged. Perez Hilton looks like a big old bully in that pageant clip and that’s a problem. So is the fact that the gay marriage movement is lacking in the charismatic leader department. And on the unified message front. Grassroots movements are great, but in order for them to be successful a focus and a leader are pretty much required or it winds up being much ado with nothing significant accomplished.
Lots of comparisons are made to the Civil Rights Movement and even when I don’t agree with the analogy I can see how it can be used as a framework, but then we come back to history and the use of strategy to achieve a desired goal. Make no mistake Rosa Parks didn’t just happen to refuse to give up her seat on that bus. In fact the person who gave them the idea of organizing a boycott was another young woman entirely, but they decided she wasn’t a suitable test case because she was a single mother. Fair? No. But, totally understandable given the need for black people to have a movement as far above reproach as possible in order to effectively change the staus quo of Jim Crow laws being viewed as acceptable. All along oppressors have used specific tools to sway people to their way of thinking and I see it happening again in this situation. POC have (at various points to achieve various goals) been painted as dangerous, lazy, whores, incompetent, and even subhuman. We’re already on the “They want to destroy our way of life and silence us” as the primary message. And yes, I know the idea that gays getting married will somehow destroy marriage as a social construct is utterly insane, but you know logic generally has very little to do with these sorts of things. It’s all about the hyperbole and the carefully constructed propaganda. Not to Godwin my own post, but Hitler didn’t sell the Holocaust as “Let’s kill all the Jews in horrific ways” because that wouldn’t have been remotely effective.
And no, I’m not saying that the people opposing gay marriage want to kill anyone (well some might, but I don’t think that’s a primary goal) but they do have an agenda that they want to advance and it’s useless to expect them to keep that agenda out of sight. Does that mean I want to hear their bullshit on LJ? No. But then I didn’t want to hear one of LJ’s biggest racist trolls (one rx_suicide) either. Or any of the people that periodically find their way to my LJ (and my inbox) to call me a nigger or a racist or whatever the word of the day is for their issues with my big mouth. I suppose I could figure out a way to lock my LJ (and my inbox) down, but that wouldn’t change the fact that those people are out there pushing their agenda. Post-racial America isn’t a particularly different place from racial America and I imagine that America really isn’t ready to be post-oppression so folks might want to consider coming up with useful ways to fight it. In my opinion that includes knowing your enemy (and their tactics) as well as coming up with your own methodology for combat. And I know someone is going to tell me that I don’t get to dictate how to run a battle that isn’t about me or tell people how to react to their content sharing space with hate. And on the one hand that’s totally true and valid. On the other…I’m just trying to help and while people are certainly welcome to tell me I’m doing it wrong (and I swear I will listen) I really want to see someone doing it right. I don’t want these people to win and as of right now? That’s what is going to happen if someone doesn’t push back effectively and start winning the people on the fence over.