Friday, June 21, 2013

The Tolerance Trap

Awwwwww, anti-gay folks have a sad that their viewpoint is purportedly being "censored" in the media.

Brent Bozell cites, but doesn't link to, a Pew report (presumably this one) that looked at 500 articles between March 18 - May 9, 2013 and found that they contained more statements in support of same-sex marriage than opposed to it. Bozell goes on to, ahem, stoically, state:
"In many corners of the liberal media, the space for a social conservative to argue against 'marriage equality' is vanishing before our eyes. It becomes twice as difficult the more and more anchors and reporters come out and declare themselves gay, and then the gay lobby expects those journalists to perform with perfect obedience to their agenda."
Wow, he sure makes "the gay lobby" sound so .... villainous. He continues:
"In recent years, the promotion of homosexuality has gone beyond the 'news' programs and became heavily entrenched in network entertainment shows, with entire programs devoted to gay characters and their struggle to overcome the alleged ignorance and oppression of religious villains."
Ha ha ha, perfect- "alleged" ignorance and oppression. On a more serious note, I'm also curious, in particular, which shows Bozell is referring to here. Like, specifically, which shows.

The entire article is so fear-mongering and, ahem, problematic, that, to me, it's a pretty good example of why I find the so-called culture wars surrounding same-sex marriage to be so exhausting and infuriating.

Support of and opposition to same-sex marriage are not, in my opinion, morally equal positions in which people on all sides deserve 100% equal air time. I oppose actual real-life government censorship of viewpoints, but I don't think the media is obligated to hand people the mic and give equal air time to people who want to parrot their various definitely-not-bigoted-or-anything iterations of why my partner and I don't deserve equal marriage rights.

I'm also not opposed to conversing personally with even extreme bigots, and I often have during the course of running this blog. Indeed, when some same-sex marriage opponents speak for themselves, frankly and uncensored, they actually do a fine job themselves of acting like religious villains - a fact that speaks to how tolerance, as a stand-alone context-free virtue, is not a virtual at all.

I too often see the word tolerance appropriated by those with anti-equality and bigoted positions and wielded as a "gotcha" against progressives: You don't tolerate my religious belief in traditional marriage? Tut! That's not very tolerant of you! and What do you mean you raised your eyebrows at that Catholic wedding when your cousin promised to "obey" her husband? Tsk tsk! How intolerant!

Yes, newsflash. Progressive feminists are not tolerant of all things all the time. That's.... kind of the point.

Indeed, as a lesbian, I've been repeatedly demanded by family members, friends, and many members of society to tolerate, in the name of tolerance, viewpoints that deem me unhealthy, immoral, unequal, undignified, and less-than others on the mere basis of my sexual orientation. Wellll, they scold, just as your uncle tolerates you, you have to tolerate his opinion of you and his belief that you don't deserve equal rights.

What? Excuse me?

It seems a weird- maybe abusive is a better word- thing when others expect me to "tolerate" opinions such as these at the risk of not being deemed a sufficiently "tolerant," and therefore "good," sort of person. I have learned that tolerance is all fine and dandy until we tolerate ourselves out of equality and into degradation. I think that's kind of the point when people use The Tolerance Trap.

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