First of all there is no guarantee about how to achieve fairness. That's just a fact. If you look at history, you see fairness is not an obvious given for human interactions. But we have to try, right? And so the question in a country where there is the vote, how do we get fairness or as close as we can come to it?
Cultural issues are a big deal in our country as we are in a time of transition which threatens many while others see it as hope that we finally, as a culture, are getting it right. We see this in both economic demonstrations and gay rights. We have seen it with the tea partiers who insult anybody who doesn't see it their way. We see it with people like the right wing candidates who talk about protecting marriage by some kind of cockeyed talk about gays threatening it.
We are seeing it finally with the ending of DADT which for people like me is a healthy and logical thing to do. A few on the far right tried to paint this as sexuality run amok, but in the eyes of the majority of Americans, it wasn't about that. It was about gay couples having a right to be recognized by the military when they are gay. It was the right to come out of the closet. It was the right of people to be able to be who they are without lies. It was no more about the right of gays to openly flaunt their sexual practices than it is of straights to do the same thing-- while in the military. In other words no making out or sex in public by either.
Okay so here comes the latest gay rights topic which I admit I skimmed over when I saw it in the papers because I didn't know the truth of exactly what happened and don't like making assumptions based on what I read somewhere. Also it didn't seem like a big deal to me but that's likely because I wasn't impacted by it. Now I am seeing it as a possible issue that could impact more than it and I'll explain why I'd say that.
For anyone who hadn't read of the two lesbians who got kicked off a plane, the general gist of it is that they kissed. They said they kissed only once and not sexually. The stewardess or steward, who knows what the appropriate term is these days, came over and told them this was a family airline, other passengers had complained, and knock it off. The lesbians got angry, admit they used foul language and were kicked off the plane. The airline claims they were kicked off by their angry response, not the kiss.
Now assuming the women told the truth and their kiss was only one and not sexual (and I have never heard the airline say they are lying), the airline appeared to have been totally in the wrong to have said anything to them or to imply that it is not a family thing for couples to kiss once. Or at the least if this is not airline policy, that steward or stewardess, or whatever the right term is today, was out of line.
Now when the women began to swear, they lost the high road but gained cult following among others who sympathize and are wanting a boycott of the airline (fat people are also mad at that airline) or maybe a kissathon on another flight to express their anger and in a joining together against bigotry.
Here's the thing where I probably make gays mad at me. I agree with their anger at anybody daring to say it's not a family thing to see two women or two men kiss. I disagree with their next step to swear or now threaten to react in a way that they would not otherwise behave. I get it. They are frustrated that it's taken so long to get somewhere with this issue but will anger get them rights?
I remember when John Kerry was running for president and somehow gay marriage became an issue with demonstrations that riled up the right and evidently moderates because then state after state put forth laws to ban gay marriage and in the case of Oregon-- constitutionally-- which shocked the heck out of me as that's not Oregon's way-- or wasn't. It may have very well also given us four more years of GW Bush. Only now is Oregon trying again to get this issue on the ballot to undo the damage done by that 2004 vote.
What has happened since that year is by showing the country that being gay is not threatening, that it's normal, that it can be part of family values, that people don't need to fear gayness taking over the schools and youth of the nation, state after state is going the other way and making gay marriage legal. I think that comes because at heart Americans are good people and really don't want to hurt others. I truly believe that. BUT they are as are most humans, easily riled and maneuvered and that's where this story comes in.
IF these women had made what happened to them an issue based purely on the kiss being nonsexual and something many straights do, then they'd have had another issue to make Americans feel to be fair there needs to be more done. That opportunity is lost. And if gays make more out of this, they could end up enraging more people to vote for their idea of protecting marriage (which is about as nuts as anything I can imagine given that what gays want is marriage). We can win a battle and lose a war if we aren't careful by our actions.
People who want to bully their way to rights better be in the majority. Whether that sounds fair or not, minorities gain their rights by convincing the majority they are in the right. That is more true today with the kind of Supreme Court we have than it possibly was in earlier times when the Court might've been more aware of the rights of minorities. What is more important, expressing anger or winning the war?
This is similar to what I am seeing with the demonstrators on Wall Street and various banks which seems to be a mixed bag of people who are there. Okay now I admit this is just me but I don't have much use for people who dress up to express their viewpoint. That was turn off to me with the tea party with their tea bags hanging from their hats and their Revolutionary War uniforms.
It'd be hypocritical to think more highly of seeing a bunch of people parading down the street with zombie make up. And what is with the bare breasted women? That's bound to get coverage on network TV, right? Well it might get on Maher, it did, but it won't even make cable news programs. So why do that? I think it discredits your position. Likewise if crowds block bridges (the demonstrators claim the police forced them onto the Brooklyn Bridge) or do anything illegal, they will be seen as the anarchists who have been trashing cities off and on whenever an economic summit is happening there.
Such behavior makes Americans ignore the real issues being raised as they are distracted by the showy stuff which has nothing to do with what is really being said. I think the cause is helped more when serious economists join the protest and explain what is happening economically to the detriment of us all. Anarchy, in any form, right cause or not, will never win sympathy and it can lead to an opposing reaction.
So I believe making viewpoints known by speaking out, by demonstrating peaceably, by pointing out wrong where it exists, by voting for candidates with a sympathetic view is a fair way to get change. Yes, I recognize in some countries, it does take violent overthrow; but here we vote and I do not want to see the left or right trying to circumvent that process and win their ways through violent responses whether as individuals or as crowds-- right or left wing.
The tea party didn't really win power by their demonstrations or the silly outfits. They won, with the backing of moneyed interests, by the candidates they have been running and who are winning. We on the left must find people like that to support. If they are not out there right now (some are like Elizabeth Warren), we need to find them, talk them into running, and support them.