The whole Carrie Prejean hullabaloo has revealed a fault line in American culture, between the politically correct purveyors of information and ideas in our mainstream media and left-leaning blogs on the one hand and social conservatives, their occasional allies on the secular right and others who favor civil discourse of controversial issues on the other. Some indeed who, on this issue at least, find themselves on the social conservatives’ side, do not share their ideological agenda, indeed often quite strenuously oppose it, but do believe in their right to express their opinions, particularly when they do so in a civil manner.
Donald Trump today, in an example of leadership which should inspire the President who won that office promising to change the partisan tone in our nation’s capital, attempted to bridge that gap in American culture while strongly defending Miss Prejean’s right to express her opinion, reminding us that she gave the same answer on gay marriage “that the president of the United States gave. . . . She gave an honorable answer. She gave an answer from her heart.”
Trump refused to criticize anyone by name, parrying a question about Perez Hilton by saying effectively, “That’s just what he does.” He wisely refused to express his own opinion on gay marriage.
His was a masterful performance. He stood by a woman who had been maligned in the media and made a plea for civil discourse. Would that more prominent public figures do the same.
The issue here is not gay marriage per se, but how we debate it. Let’s learn from Donald Trump and show some respect for those who express their opinions in a civil manner.
This whole hullabaloo has shown that there is a fault line with those who would debate this issue and those who would smear the defenders of the status quo. Until today, it appeared that the maligners were winning in the media while the great majority of Americans sat silent, stunned at the attacks.
Let us hope that Donald Trump’s defense of Miss Prejean will cause others who favor a serious discussion of this controversial issue to speak out against name-calling and to engage in a real conversation about the meaning of marriage, its place in our ever-changing society and government’s role vis à vis this ancient institution. We would all benefit from that conversation.
Kudos to Donald Trump for doing something to further than exchange.