Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Why won't the gay community 'study' the other team?

'WWJD' - about healthcare reform?

Home invasions would occur under Obamacare

Illegal aliens trump veterans at U.S. medical offices

Obama tack on NKorea wrong, misguided

Democrats' 'bait-and-switch'

These are the headlines to this morning's edition of the phony news service One News Now. As you can see, One News Now is waging a huge war against President Obama.

Subsequently the lgbt community, a reliable victim of One News Now's campaign of misinformation, has been pushed to the side for the time being.

It's the same way on the conservative site Town Hall. And even the Family Research Council and its head, Tony Perkins has gotten into the act.

I venture to say that almost every right-wing news site and blog are trying to engage in a Barack Obama feeding frenzy.

Now far be it from me to spin conspiracy theories but a case can be made that there is a coordinated effort to give President Obama as much hell as possible.

And I hope that the lgbt community is paying attention to what's being done.

I like the fact that we are singleminded and determined to grab what belongs to us.

But sometimes we miss out on a lot.

When I read these articles and columns and see how those town hall meeting protests were coordinated via astroturfing, I have to wonder if the lgbt community gets what we are up against.

These same entities that are now focused on President Obama have been fighting us for years and will continue to do so after this situation with health care passes. And with some of the same methods they are now using to try and make President Obama's life a living hell.

This is a perfect opportunity to study their methods. All good battle plans involves studying "the other team." But for some reason, the lgbt community will not do this. Instead, a lot of us minimize the power of the religious right and the right-wing in general.

We tell ourselves that they are "prejudiced" or "ignorant" so as to make ourselves feel superior towards them.

We think that hurtling the words "haters" and "bigots" or marching in angry crowds are going to get us over.

And we miss the big picture because we need to embark on more than these lazy efforts.

While we are name-calling or marching and chanting, people like Michelle Malkin, Glenn Beck, and Sean Hannity will be distorting our viewpoints from coast to coast.

People like Peter LaBarbera will be filming our actions with misrepresentations in mind.

And right-wing bloggers, columnists at Town Hall, and phony news articles on sites like One News Now will take incidents out of context to spin the image of "angry, pushy homosexuals."

The right-wing noise machine is so ingrained that until we attack it at the roots, all of our actions (i.e. marches, protests) will be used against us.

President Obama will survive this feeding frenzy. But I just hope that the lgbt community will learn as much as he does about the "nature of the enemy."

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Christopher™ said...

I think it's telling that this story has yet to be crossposted to Pam's House Blend.

Like you, I'm extremely frustrated with our side's unwillingness to learn the motivations of our opponents (not all of whom I would classify as "enemies") and how best to answer their arguments, which are often a mile wide and an inch deep.

I'll give you a little story.

The night after Prop 8 passed, I attended a rally in West Hollywood where one of the speakers was Lorri Jean, the head of LA's Gay and Lesbian Center. During her speech, she criticized the other side's religious motivations by quoting three "Thou shall not's" from the Bible (only two of which were accurate), then saying, "That's the extent of my Bible knowledge." To which I said to my friends, "That's the problem."

The GLBT community has no real understanding of what motivates evangelical Christians, and as a result, we don't know how to talk to them, and therefore, remain powerless to change their minds.. or even raise questions in their minds. Yelling "bigot" and waving signs only convinces us of the righteousness of our own cause, but has no power to change minds on the other side.

It doesn't matter if you believe the Bible or not. You can think it's a book of fairy stories for fools. It doesn't matter. What *does* matter is that the other side *does* believe it. You need to understand what evangelicals think of the Bible, how they interpret it, and how that motivates their politics before you can engage them in an sort of useful discussion. If you understand their Biblical arguments, you have a much better opportunity at drawing distinctions between religious objections and civil laws, and bringing the foot soldiers on the other side (most of whom think they are "doing good" but are desperately ignorant) to the recognition of their own cognitive dissonance on these issues.

The objections I usually hear are:

1. I hate Christians, I think they're bigots and liars, and I want nothing to do with them, and refuse to talk to any of them.

2. Christians are stupid, and you'll never change their minds, so there's no need to waste your time talking to them.

3. Anyone who believes the Bible is an idiot, so there's no sense in learning or understanding what they believe.

Now that we've dispensed with the other side as a bunch of haters, idiots, bigots and homophobes, we feel so much better, don't we! But we've accomplished nothing. We're still allowing the other side to frame the arguments, and we continue to play defense.

I understand that the Church in many of its forms has harmed and hurt the GLBT community. I understand that many in the GLBT community don't want anything to do with religion. But the harsh reality is... many people in this country are Christian. Their faith motivates their politics. And until we accept that reality, and engage the other side's arguments in an educated way, we won't get anywhere.

I mean, how many constitutional amendments and resolutions against gay marriage and civil unions have to pile up against us until we finally figure this out?

BlackTsunami said...


And if I can take that point farther, I would venture to say that a lot of these Christians would have no problem with gay rights if it is explained to them that organizations like Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America, etc. are exploiting their religious beliefs and fears.

Anonymous said...

How does one refute a lying liar who is delusional, paranoid and focuses their attention obsessively on what we do to each other in bed instead of the issues of the day like civil rights. We wait until the US Supreme Court rules in our favor and then tell them to shove it. Sign the petition to amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include LGBT at www.thepoweronline.org.

BlackTsunami said...

I almost believe in what you said. I have a serious objection to the waiting part though. We shouldn't wait to take over the argument from them.

Christopher™ said...

See, this is the problem.

Calling the other side "delusional" isn't helpful. I'll agree that there is paranoia that is driven by the lies from organizations like FOTF, AFA and others.

However, our emphasis should be on reaching those who are the "foot soldiers" in this fight. Many accept what they've heard lock, stock and barrel (because Christians tend to trust their pastors blindly) and this is where we have an in. If we can demonstrate the lies and distortions from the other side without name calling, we have an opportunity to create questions in the minds of those on the other side.

We can also shoot holes in the logic of some of their assumptions about GLBT people... again, without name calling.

Yes, this requires us to be the better person and to be the better example--which may not be "fair," but hey... that's where things stand if we want to be effective.

BlackTsunami said...

I agree with everything you are saying, Chris.

Unfortunately the problem is with the anger and lack of patience our side shows. We need to approach this thing on a strategic level. Yes, it's warm and fuzzy to look at this thing as a human rights struggle (after all, it is) but a little strategy and common sense goes a longer way than just pure emotion.