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Gay Activists Need to Learn from Conservatives

In the comments section to my post considering Michelle Malkin’s piece on the insane rage of the same-sex marriage mob, a number of readers faulted Michelle (and by extension) me because of our supposed hyperbole, attempting to define the protests by their most extreme participants.  To be sure, we should distinguish between those who protested peacefully and those who hurled angry slogans (or carried mean-spirited placards).

The former may have indeed been angry, but managed to contain their wrath as they rallied.  The latter, however, well deserved the description, “insane rage” that I borrowed from Michelle who, in turn, borrowed it from Paul Krugman, a left-wing columnist who used the expression to describe a handful of angry Republicans at McCain campaign events.  There have been far more angry activists protesting Proposition 8 than there were angry Republicans at such rallies.

I don’t think Michelle was trying to paint with a broad brush or contend that all protesters were gripped with “insane rage.”  I think she was just trying to point out that while those in the MSM were eager (based on a few isolated incidents) to find angry outbursts on the right, they all but ignore it when it comes from a non-conservatives groups.

And while Republicans (and conservatives) routinely denounced such excess, I have yet to see heads of gay organizations denouncing the extremism at the anti-8 rallies.  Indeed, some seem to encourage it by calling their adversaries haters.  To be sure, organizers of this past weekend’s rallies did encourage participants to “to avoid signs that single out a particular religious or ethnic group,” saying, “We must continue to garner support for our movement through positive and peaceful messages.”

I commend them for discouraging ad hominems and encouraging peaceful protest.

Yet, I remain unconvinced that the rallies represent anything more than a public display of anger, even if contained.  I just don’t see what they accomplish.

I criticize the rallies because they paint a pretty pathetic picture of the gay community, of citizens who refuse to accept the results of a popular initiative.  Instead of community leaders saying, “We accept this loss; we failed to get our message across, we’ll do better next time,” they organize in the streets.

To be sure, provided they don’t disrupt traffic (as some seem to have been allowed to do) or otherwise impede citizens going about their business, they should be allowed to protest in public.  In the end, all these protests do is show the protesters’ unwillingness to accept the results of this month’s election and their unwillingness to engage in introspection to figure out what they did wrong.

Not the kind of message we went to send to a citizens who don’t yet feel ready to extend the privileges of marriage to same-sex couples.  Gay activists need to learn from conservatives and, in Michelle’s words, begin “the peaceful post-defeat process of self-flagellation, self-analysis, and self-autopsy.

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20 Comments

  1. Gay activists need to learn from conservatives and, in Michelle’s words, begin “the peaceful post-defeat process of self-flagellation, self-analysis, and self-autopsy.“

    Problem with that, GPW, is that you are asking a population that has been taught for decades that nothing that ever happens to them is their fault to take on self analysis

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — November 20, 2008 @ 9:31 pm - November 20, 2008

  2. I was thoroughly disgusted by the old lady incident. These tunnel-visioned reactionaries apparently weren’t raised properly.

    First, you just don’t do that to anybody.
    Second, don’t even think about touching my cross, bee-atch.
    Further, what happened to their oh-so-liberal sensibilities? She had as much of a right to protest as they did. There was undoubtedly a lot of name-calling from both sides, but at 57, I’ve been called everything and really don’t give a hoot.

    Calm yourselves down. When Shakespeare said “First, kill all the lawyers”, he was talking about the surest way to cause anarchy. Let the lawyers speak for us, but make sure you make yourselves heard by the lawyers. Anarchy is the worst state of affairs to be in — which speaks to why the angry mobs never get much done. Well, I take that back: there was the French Revolution, which took decades and killed untold thousands of people.

    I paid for my appointment at the SF city hall for us to be married in December after 25 years. Whether or not the government intercedes and determines that it was an illegal ballot, we’ve decided not even to do it there. We’ll go home to my family in Massachusetts where the issue is fairly secure. Heck, I may even find a priest from my religion to do a blessing.

    Our choice to do it in SF was originally a peaceful attempt to let our numbers be counted (we are going to SF anyway, so admittedly, it was an afterthought). If such union is in peril in the eyes of the State, we know that it is not in our eyes. We wanted to avoid having the family shell out for gifts and killing the fatted goat, but it will be more comfortable than making a statement like that in a war zone like KKKalifornia.

    IMHO, I think we shouldn’t concentrate on the word “Marriage”, but instead on equal rights. I want every single freaking right that straight people have (who, at this point, don’t last as long as we have. My kid brother is on his third marriage since we’ve been together, and his present mail-order bride will get his benefits). I want him to get my Social Security. I would have wanted to adopt, but we’re too old and really don’t personally want to live anywhere but Florida, home of vestiges of the Anita Bryant abomination.

    I urge folks to redirect the thrust towards equality and not what others consider usurping “their” word.

    EQUALITY!

    Comment by Leonidas — November 20, 2008 @ 9:52 pm - November 20, 2008

  3. I have no problem painting with a broad brush is this sort of instance, everyone has seen how out of control these demonstrators are, and yet they still lend their voices to the protests. That makes them complicit in my book.

    Comment by American Elephant — November 20, 2008 @ 11:45 pm - November 20, 2008

  4. on tuesday, malkin posted a link to a zogby survey commissioned by john ziegler. she endorsed his (dubious, to say the least) conclusion that the reason obama won the presidential election was because “lots and lots of stupid people” voted. so i guess if we take your advice, and follow malkin’s example, we should cast aspersions against prop 8 supporters and call them stupid. right? hmm, maybe she’s on to something…

    on the other hand, maybe some people are entitled to their anger. some of the most effective gay activist movements were predicated upon anger. see ACT UP circa. 1987-88.

    i don’t think malkin has anything to teach the gay community or the anti-prop 8 movement about good sportsmanship. i also think your defense of malkin is misguided. she plainly IS trying to portray the entire anti-prop 8 movement as gripped with insane rage. on monday, under the headline “anti-prop 8 mob watch: christians in SF’s castro district”, malkin linked a story about a group of christians who were chased out of the castro by a group of angry gay residents. but the incident was not connected in any way with an anti-prop 8 protest. it was a spontaneous reaction by neighborhood residents who were upset by antagonizers who came to the castro to convert its gays to the straight lifestyle. why would she deliberately conflate the anti-prop 8 movement with an incident that was plainly not associated with prop 8?? why would she refer to protestors as a mob unless she is trying to define the entire movement as gripped with “insane rage”?? and as i mentioned earlier, it is particularly cruel to call a group of people an insane mob when they are simply asking for civil rights and equal protection under the law.

    as far as your defense of malkin on the grounds that she is serving as a MSM watchdog, well, that too is misguided. in the post mentioned above, malkin links a MS television source that reported the story, a source which was careful to point out that the incident was not connected to organized prop 8 protests. she’s not “reporting” on stories that the MSM ignores; she’s distorting the prop 8 narrative to get more hits on her blog, and her mistakes need to be corrected by more reasonable conservative voices.

    Comment by Chad — November 21, 2008 @ 1:06 am - November 21, 2008

  5. ok, Chad, get the ball rolling for us, if Michelle made mistakes, identify her errors. And please note, she’s linking local television news coverage, not national media.

    Okay, maybe the heckling of evangelists is not related to rallies against prop 8, but she didn’t say that it was. And heck, you’re doing the same thing, bringing in extraneous points about Michelle’s others posts which I don’t address in this one (to which you attach your comment) and have no relevance to the issue at hand.

    Seems you just want to vent at Michelle. So, why don’t you go do that her blog?

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — November 21, 2008 @ 3:16 am - November 21, 2008

  6. Chad- Based on the eHarmony lawsuit, the evangelicals had as much right to be there as the homosexuals. Why are their first amendment rights being oppressed?

    Personally, I think the eHarmony lawsuit was wrongly decided, but if I’m allowed to cry discrimination against people who I disagree with because they don’t want me around, I just might take you up on the offer.

    Louise B

    Comment by Louise B — November 21, 2008 @ 8:55 am - November 21, 2008

  7. This from Thomas Sowell:

    “Blacks and Mormons have been the main targets of the gay activists’ anger. Seventy percent of blacks voted against gay marriage in California, so racial epithets were hurled at blacks in Los Angeles — not in black neighborhoods, by the way.”

    I suppose when the gay activists have had done with the Mormons, they will turn their attention on clearing out the black neighborhoods. They can start in the nursing homes.

    Comment by heliotrope — November 21, 2008 @ 10:08 am - November 21, 2008

  8. Chad notes:

    malkin linked a story about a group of christians who were chased out of the castro by a group of angry gay residents.

    and Chad adds:

    it is particularly cruel to call a group of people an insane mob when they are simply asking for civil rights and equal protection under the law.

    Chad, I think, means the angry gays, not the Christians. I assume this because Chad notes:

    on the other hand, maybe some people are entitled to their anger. some of the most effective gay activist movements were predicated upon anger. see ACT UP circa. 1987-88.

    Chad’s conclusion about Michelle Malkin is that:

    she’s distorting the prop 8 narrative to get more hits on her blog, and her mistakes need to be corrected by more reasonable conservative voices.

    So, Chad, what is the “Prop 8 narrative” that the gay activists are unfolding and Michelle Malkin has wrong?

    Smacking a cross out of an old woman’s hands, hissing the N-word, disrupting church services, picketing Mormons and chasing Christian missionaries out of the Castro district seems like a narrative to me. Did something escape my lying eyes? Remember, I am straight, so I am a homophobe and need careful instruction.

    Comment by heliotrope — November 21, 2008 @ 10:25 am - November 21, 2008

  9. [...] Gay Activists Need to Learn from Conservatives [...]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » Advice for John McCain and Prop 8 Opponents — November 21, 2008 @ 8:10 pm - November 21, 2008

  10. #8: It’s not that this stuff wasn’t happening. It obviously is, and it is embarrassing. But it is not, by any stretch of the imagination, the majority of the protestors. That’s where the distortion lies. The MSM is clearly trying to boost its dying numbers.

    Comment by Attmay — November 21, 2008 @ 8:24 pm - November 21, 2008

  11. Maybe if you folks see Milk when it comes out next week, then maybe you’ll learn something about a man who was a great liberal and didn’t need to “learn from conservatives”.

    I only wish it had opened wide before the November elections – then perhaps the outcome of the prop 8 vote would have been different.

    By the way, you’re telling people to listen to a woman who attacked Rachel Ray for wearing a piece of clothing because it’s allegedly the garb worn by terrorists? puh-lease.

    Comment by Kevin — November 21, 2008 @ 9:40 pm - November 21, 2008

  12. the fact that anyone would even cite Michelle Malkin as a credible source is pathetic. That woman is a histrionic, irrational lunatic and a sub-par, D-list journalist. Furthermore, as scientists say, anectode does not equal data. Just because a few gay activists got out of hand doesnt paint the entire picture of the actions of all protestors. She is an idiot and any gay person who supports her ought to just admit they are self-hating and should sign up at their local KKK office.

    Comment by anthony — November 21, 2008 @ 11:50 pm - November 21, 2008

  13. She is an idiot and any gay person who supports her ought to just admit they are self-hating and should sign up at their local KKK office.

    We’re not the ones hurling racial slurs at blacks.

    Comment by Attmay — November 22, 2008 @ 10:33 pm - November 22, 2008

  14. Maybe if you folks see Milk when it comes out next week, then maybe you’ll learn something about a man who was a great liberal and didn’t need to “learn from conservatives”.

    First of all, only a fool would claim either that liberals have nothing to learn from conservatives AND vice versa. We all may not agree exactly on what that may be, but we are all human and none of us are perfect. Second, the biggest problem I have with Hrvey Milk was his cruel outing of Oliver Sipple, the former Marine who saved then-President Ford’s life. I first read about that in “Conduct Unbecoming” and lost a LOT of respect for Milk for his exploiting Sipple for political gain. I still find that to be completely despicable.

    Comment by John — November 23, 2008 @ 9:05 am - November 23, 2008

  15. By the way, you’re telling people to listen to a woman who attacked Rachel Ray for wearing a piece of clothing because it’s allegedly the garb worn by terrorists? puh-lease.

    You’re absolutely right. The keffiyeh is soooo yesterday while Che Guevera t-shirts are back in vogue this season! Give me a break. I agree with Malkin on this. Do you even know what the history of the Palestinian version of the keffiyeh is or have you swallowed some BS, PC-inspired version of this being a symbol of the struggle of the peace-loving people of Palestine?

    What the hell is it with the lib fascination with brutal thugs and dictators? These are the same folks who would target gays and liberals of all kinds in the West if they had a chance. Puh-leeze.

    Comment by John — November 23, 2008 @ 9:13 am - November 23, 2008

  16. how laughable. conservatives, after proving they have no scruples and no ideas, have nothing to offer to activists, other than how to lose elections.

    it’s going to be a LONG decade for you folks.

    Comment by buckeyenutlover — November 23, 2008 @ 11:46 am - November 23, 2008

  17. Buck, it would be amusing that you speak of scruples while whoring it up for the Dems, if it weren’t so sad.

    Comment by John — November 23, 2008 @ 5:58 pm - November 23, 2008

  18. I seem to recall, vaugely, during the 80′s the concept of the ‘silent majority’ being mocked.

    While I, by no means, assume the nutjobs on 8 represent the ‘silent majority’ like it or not, they are the visible ‘face’ of the gay rights movement. As much as the Folsom Street Fair is the ‘face’ of every couple that practices spank, tickle, and rope in their bedroom.

    That is why the denouncement of the violence and insults has to be clear and no hedging. Saying “I disagree with their means, but…” or attacking the messenger is not going to help the cause.

    Compared to tearing a cross out of someone’s hand, or chasing people out of the Castro district, makes even the most disagreeable rant on the internet seem lucid by comparison.

    Comment by The Livewire — November 24, 2008 @ 7:43 am - November 24, 2008

  19. [...] Once again, gay activists have something to learn from conservatives. [...]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » Once Again, How Gay Activists Can Learn from the Right — December 2, 2008 @ 2:37 pm - December 2, 2008

  20. [...] Read more here. [...]

    Pingback by Gay Activists Need to Learn from Conservatives « Gay Reading — December 11, 2008 @ 1:24 am - December 11, 2008

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