June 22, 2013 § Leave a comment
For me at least, the line between acceptance of different opinions and rejection of those that hold them comes down to coexistence. Specifically, are they willing to allow it?
It’s not enough that they be willing to allow me to exist, either. It’s not enough that they be willing to allow others that they disagree with to live, as long as they don’t make them uncomfortable. Right now I’m thinking about Orson Scott Card again, as I do sometimes because to me he’s the primal example of someone I once enjoyed as an author, whose books I purchased and who I probably would have defended until I discovered that he hates me.
I am an adult who was a child, and when I was a child, I was sexually abused. I’ve talked about it before, and I’ll probably do so again, but for now, that sentence suffices. Card’s argument that homosexuality is the result of childhood sexual abuse enrages me to my core – it takes good people I’ve known and paints their very identity as trauma, it takes my pain and uses it to make cheap points in his campaign to make people he doesn’t like go away. For him, gay people having the same rights he enjoys is terrifying, a threat to all he holds dear. To be honest, his logic escapes me, but his fervor doesn’t. He’s claimed that if the US Government allows gay marriage, he’ll become its enemy and seek its destruction. I’ve been called a liberal communist and called a traitor for my opposition to the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions, and I never called for the destruction of the United States’ Government.
So here I sit, and Ender’s Game is about to come out, and it will have a huge marketing push and people who only know Card’s novels and not his newspaper columns or other statements will go see it, and some of those people will be gay, and their money will go to someone who hates them. Some of those people will be the survivors of rape or sexual abuse, and their money will go to someone who has used the worst day of their lives to try and steal happiness from other people, to use their pain to justify causing pain to others. This is why I won’t go see the movie, but I don’t claim that my decision in this case should matter to you.
You can’t coexist with hate.
Hate isn’t rational. Hate isn’t willing to allow others to live, much less live purposeful or happy lives, or even simply pursue happiness (since happiness isn’t guaranteed in life, of course) – hate needs the objects of its vermillion gaze to be held down, to be stripped of their essential sameness. The people who hate will not accept that the people they hate are their equals, perhaps even their superiors – they must be kept down, held back, kept away from whatever it is they want that those suffused with hate already have. For the man who embraces hate, it is not enough that he wins, the object of his hate must also lose. It is not enough that the ones who hate have every advantage, every right and privilege afforded by society, but those despised must also crawl in the dirt and be thankful for every scrap hurled their way from on high.
“We don’t need gay marriage, gays can already get married to someone of the opposite sex if they want to get married” is the kind of argument you hear from those who will not coexist. Make no mistake – they are the ones who have chosen the path here. They are the ones who will not live and let live. Not us. We’re not the ones threatening to declare war on the government if it doesn’t vote our way, we’re the ones threatening to vote. We’re not the ones calling women sluts and whores for wanting the same access to medicine as men, we’re not the ones who try and make it harder for minorities to vote because they can’t win elections any other way. The targets of hate are always the ones being told to compromise.
You can’t compromise with someone who would rather you starve than see you eat the same food he eats.