Monthly Archives: April 2012

3 posts

Same-sex Marriage and Gay Rights: Some Instructive Links

Written by: Matt Seyer

Readers of “Surprise!  New York Is Not On Fire!” have asked that I give a more serious take on the issue of gay rights.  The following is a group of videos, cartoons, and images concerning the issue.  They range from the silly to the uplifting.  I’ll hopefully write a more thorough piece eventually, but for now let this serve as a transition post from complete satire to slightly serious.

We’ll start with the silly.  Here’s a very clear illustration of what gay marriage would and would not entail:

How Gay Rights Is Nothing Like Legalizing Bestiality

Next, we’ll indulge in some more satire.  First, we have a faux representation of opposing arguments:

Ten Reasons Why Gay Marriage Should Be Illegal

Second, The Partisans tell us all about what’s natural in the wonderful world of sex.

We’ll make a slight shift to the serious now.  Here, Ellen Degeneres has a brief conversation with Senator John McCain.  The best Senator McCain can come up with is that they have a “respectful disagreement” that marriage is between a man and a woman.  Imagine a country where if a large portion of the population has a “respectful disagreement” about whether Jewish people should be allowed to vote, then the country declares that they cannot vote.  Sounds fair, yeah?  Because human rights can be thought of that way, I suppose.

Inspired by the Zach Wahls video (see below), this Iowa grandmother decided to give her views on gay marriage.  Her reaction to her son’s coming out is probably typical of most families.  Less typical is her change in perspective.

The Golden Girls give us a brief return to the humorous.  Despite the fun attitude, the message couldn’t be simpler or more poignant.

“For The Bible Tells Me So” is a documentary about the relationship between homosexuality and Biblical teachings.  This is a brief clip that demonstrates that homosexuality is not a choice.

One more piece of satire before the heavy-hitters.

On August 8th, 2010, Ted Olson — the conservative lawyer who represented President Bush in Bush v. Gore — appeared on Fox News Sunday to discuss his recent victory in overturning Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriages in California. Throughout the interview, host Chris Wallace attempted to trip up his guest with a series of familiar Republican talking points, all of which Olson repudiated.  [Olson is featured prominently in the next post of this series.]

I’ve often heard that it’s only a matter of time for gay rights to become a reality; that the older generation will die out, leaving a more tolerant and accepting generation in its place.  Here, Senator Gronstal, from the Iowa state senate, comes to agree with that idea.

This Zach Wahls video has gone viral since its initial upload.  Mr. Wahls speaks to us about living with two mothers.  He offers us a unique perspective, a resonant and moving message, and proof that the sexual orientation of one’s parents has “zero effect on the content of [one’s] character.”

Diane J. Savino tells it like it is.  She gives an especially good response to those who would champion the “sanctity of marriage.”

The fact that it is appearing on a list of gay rights links will likely ruin the intended effect of this video.  Let me assure you, though, that I did not see that ending coming.  It makes you ask, “What’s the difference, really?”

Last but certainly not least, we have a preview for the documentary “Second Class Citizen.”  The documentary details the gay rights movement from its beginning as a reaction to discrimination to a widespread call for justice and equality.  I dare you to be unmoved after watching.

Perspective on Conservatives and Liberals: An Addendum

Written by: Matt Seyer

I have two more articles for all of you lovely people!  They both specifically talk about conservatives, so you won’t gain a whole lot in the way of a better understanding of liberals, but they’re still solid pieces.

The first is an older article from Forbes that was posted a few months ago.  I felt it deserved reposting simply because it fit the theme of conservatives and liberals.  The article asks why Republicans are embracing intellectually-subpar candidates for the presidency, and attempts to give an answer.

“Why Do Republicans Gleefully Embrace Idiots as Presidential Candidates?…The question naturally begs a larger question: How can a country, with the world’s highest national GDP, and absurdly complex systems regulating everything from credit default swaps to nuclear missile safety, possibly allow onto its national stage men and women of such transparently inferior intellect?”

The second article is a blog post written by Corey Robin.  It is a summary/introductory post that discusses the major themes of his book, The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin.  Robin takes a serious look at the claim that modern-day conservatism is some kind of radical strain of traditional conservatism, a notion endorsed by such public intellectuals as Paul Krugman, P.M. Carpenter, and Andrew Sullivan.  His conclusion: it’s really not all that radical.  This is a fascinating read: beautifully written, erudite, but fun all the same.

“I wrote The Reactionary Mind for many reasons, but one of them was to show—contra Carpenter, Sullivan, Blumenthal, Tanenhaus, Krugman, and many more—that today’s conservative is in fact conservative. She hasn’t betrayed the traditions of Burke, Disraeli, Hayek, Oakeshott, Buckley, and Reagan: she has fulfilled them.”

Baffled

Written by: Matt Seyer

The theory of evolution is not a legitimate scientific theory.  9/11 widows are harpies who enjoyed their husbands’ deaths.  The Jewish religion is deficient and is in need of the perfecting grace of Christianity to make it whole.  Women should not have the right to vote, because they don’t vote in the country’s best interests.  Excess radiation acts as a cancer vaccine.  All terrorists are Muslim, and we should invade Islamic countries, kill their leaders, and convert the populace to Christianity.

It’s rare when so many bizarre and abhorrent views are held by one person.  But such persons exist, and Ann Coulter is one of them, and she’s pretty proud of that fact.  She’ll be at Truman tonight, and she’s being sponsored by the College Republicans (CRs).

I’m not mad.  I’m not going to go protest the event.  I’m sure Ms. Coulter won’t be speaking about any of the above views in her talk (though the Q&A is wide open to such topics).

More than anything, I’m confused.

I know a few of the CRs.  We’re not bosom buds, but we’re respectful to each other, friendly even.  For the most part, they’re kind and intelligent people.  They recognize the fringes of both the right and the left, and they detest and/or dismiss such extreme points of view.  Last semester, they brought another speaker, S.E. Cupp, who, though I disagreed with her on almost everything, was not…well…a nut.  She said her bit, fielded questions, and fairly accurately represented modern-day conservatism.

Ms. Coulter is an entirely different story.  Sure, she holds all of the usual views: gays and lesbians shouldn’t be allowed to marry; climate change is a farce, etc.  That’s not what bothers me about her.  It isn’t what has me confused.  What bothers me about Ann Coulter is that she embodies the worst kind of attitude imaginable: she’s mean and she loves it.  What confuses me is the notion that anyone would want that attitude and those fringe and often cruel views to come to Truman and to represent their organization and their ideology to campus.  It eludes me that the CRs whom I know would want to put this woman up in front of everyone and say, “When you think of a Republican, when you think of a conservative, think of her.”  I genuinely don’t get it.

When the College Democrats held our Exec retreat, we deliberated on the best speaker to bring to Truman.  We had a long list that included many popular and less well-known names.  One of the potential speakers was Bill Maher.  Lofty, I know; he’s not cheap.  It wasn’t very likely that we would bring him.  But I very loudly (too loudly) protested, going so far as to say that if we actually decided to bring him then I would actively fight against the decision and do everything I could to keep him from coming (ask someone who was there…I made an ass of myself).  Why?

Because Bill Maher is a prick.

I don’t care that Maher probably agrees with me on almost everything in terms of my ideology.  If we’re going to bring someone to represent our organization and our viewpoints to campus, we damn well better bring someone who is honest, fair, and respectful.  I don’t want mean people.  I don’t want to bring people who take pleasure in making fun of others, who value mockery and ridicule above careful discussion and serious inquiry, who find it more productive to be stubborn and insincere when dealing with those who disagree with them, who think the truth is something to be treated casually.

But maybe that’s just me (actually, it WAS just me at the retreat).

For me, bringing a speaker isn’t about having someone shout my views to campus.  It’s about showing my peers that there are decent and fair people out there who share my views and the views of the College Democrats.  It’s about starting a conversation.  It’s about opening new areas of discussion with those with whom I disagree.

I somehow doubt that Ms. Coulter will accomplish any of these things.

Ann Coulter isn’t a Republican.  She isn’t a conservative.  She isn’t to the right of the extreme right.  She’s just mean, and she enjoys it and uses it to sell books.  I have no idea what happened to her in her life to make her so spiteful, but whatever it was, I feel very sorry for her.  It baffles me that the College Republicans want to implicitly or explicitly tell Truman,

“This here, this is a Republican.”