A respectful parody of a Legal Insurrection
Two or three days ago I was reading www.legalinsurrection.blogspot.com as I usually do, and I ran across something profoundly provocative. For I do find the man reasonable and thoughtful. He and I share the distinction of having both been judges for contests at www.iowntheworld.com, so we are perhaps of some similarity. (Actually, we sort of both look professor-ish too.)
And of late I’ve noticed among gay guys under thirty blogs a search for a new way of looking at the reality of gay folks in this country. Places like www.goodasyou.com, and many other places. It’s definitely different than what older gay guys think, that’s for sure. And many sites which previously had a lot of pictures have now gone to a lot more political and legal reasoning, and even theological and philosophical thought. And all of a sort that an older generation of gay men thought about but had no time for. Like www.izzoiz.com and www.queerty.com and www.bilerico.com among just hundreds, maybe thousands. We elders had other things to do, like get rid of the worst laws against us. But now, well, there’s a qualitative difference. So I thought I would use this post of Professor Jacobson’s to illustrate a point.
Here’s his first paragraph:
“Why are you apologizing all the time?”
With that single sentence made to her Israeli hosts, Sarah Palin demonstrated a greater understanding of the problems confronting Israel than the collective wisdom of all the J.D.’s, Ph.D’s, and Masters of International Affairs in the Obama administration combined.”
And as I read, it became clear to me that with some minor nip and tuck, the word “Israel” could be substituted for “gay folks” and the piece would make perfect sense. While you can read his original on his site, and I recommend it, I do thank him for the inspiration to use it for my own purposes (and yes, I will email him a copy, precisely because he is reasonable and thoughtful.)
“Why are you apologizing all the time?”
With that single sentence made to her Gay hosts, Sarah Palin demonstrated a greater understanding of the problems confronting Gay folks than the collective wisdom of all the J.D.’s, Ph.D’s, and Masters of Sociology or Psychology in the nation combined.
The question was profound, as simple as it were, because it addressed the narrative of perpetual heterosexual victimization and grievance.
First, it goes to the heart of Gay folk’s right to exist. The recent trend, including among mainstream Republicans, is to acquiesce in the Catholic-academic and Fundamentalist view of Gay folks as a mistake and an anomaly, something which deserves to exist — if at all — merely by reason of historical accident. Palin refuses to succumb to such a narrative, recognizing that the connection of Gay people to Civilization and Humankind goes back over 300,000 years. For millennia gays have prayed “next year we’ll be accepted,” something no other people had done until the 1969 riot led to the creation of a Gay national identity. The Gay Movement as the gay part of the nation owes no apology for its creation or continued existence.
Second, Palin recognizes that the reason there is no peace in the Culture War is not that Gay folks aren’t unwilling to give up being picked on, but that gay folks are not willing to give up completely. Regardless of peace treaties with some Judeo-Christian denominations and many in society, gay folks never have been accepted by the populations of either of those categories or elsewhere in society. In California recently over a million people chanted “No Gay Marriages we say, for us to be the Saviors of Marriage.” In Iowa thousands chanted “No to the Gays!” even though there are few Gays left in Iowa. When Mathew Shepherd was brutally attacked the crowd chanted “Gay, Gay,” and called him a homosexual agent. There will be no peace, regardless of how much Gay folks give up or how many times Gay folks apologize, until there is a change in the hearts of Gay folks’ neighbors.
Third, the specific issue to which Palin was reacting was the inability of Gay folks to pray in many churches out of fear of Christian riots and violence. Indeed, it was Gay folks entry into the Marriage Quest in 2000 which was the excuse used by Tony Perkins to ignite the Second Culture War, which has lasted roughly 10 years and disrespected thousands. Respect is demanded for Christian holy sites, but that respect is not reciprocated. Christian worshippers on the Marriage Debate repeatedly have thrown figurative large stones down onto Gay worshippers at the marriage debates, yet Gay folks do not riot and attack Christians in response. Showing respect for Christian holy sites is the right thing to do, but refusing to insist upon reciprocal respect simply encourages more demands and more verbal violence.
Of course, the beauty of Palin’s question was that it applies just as well to Obama, who has launched apology tour after apology tour, who dwells on our imperfections, who refuses to lead, and who seems embarrassed by us.
“Why are you apologizing all the time?”
That is the question Gay folks need to ask, and so do straight people.
[The “first” paragraph was corrected to reflect the 300,000 year old Gay connection to civilization.]
End of My Parody
And then I think, you know, Jews and Gays are very similar in many ways. Oh sure, the big difference is of course that Jews are the Chosen People of God, and Gays are apparently the Not Chosen By God People. That’s true, we are at the opposite ends of the God-loves-you spectrum for sure. Or so it’s said; we gay folks quite disagree, we think He loves us quite a lot, which is why He has given us the strength to listen to this “debate” about us without going nuts.
Still, there’s amazing similarities between Jews and Gays. Such as a genetic component, that’s been proven. And there’s a chosen component – to live the life of a Jew or Gay person. And too, the Catholic Church and Christians in general, not to mention the Muslims, have been out to get both Jew and Gay, seemingly for two millennia, and at the same level of ferocity. Jews were even outlawed from marrying in many countries. And Jews and Gays were chased off our lands; albeit Jews as a whole, we singularly from our families. We have both had our Diaspora, they for faith, and us, well, us too for faith – our faith that we’re just born this way. (www.borngaybornthisway.blogspot.com) And we both wound up in Ghettos, though theirs of old, and ours newly so. And many countries have tried to expel the Jews and some seek to expel the Gays today. Even Peter Sprigg, of the Family Research Council, a good Christian he says, wants to expel us from the nation.
Then too there’s the stereotypes, the accusations, the unfounded beliefs – applied with wild eyed abandon at Jews and Gays alike; though each in our own way. And a blood libel was made against Jews, that of eating Christian children, and Ms. Palin spoke to that too. And gay men are accused of the blood libel of “recruiting” Christian boys, yes and I suppose Jewish boys, too. This done to some how slake our thirst for man-flesh as much as Jews ate the kids to slake their thirst for Christian boy-blood.
And Jews and Gays have been told: “Convert or suffer” And we Gays say, like the Jews say, we will not convert, for this is us. This is whom we are.
And we have both wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. They in ancient times. We since 1969.
And we have both faced implacable enemies – the National Socialists – Jews with a yellow star and Gays with a pink triangle. And too the International Communists, and of course, the Catholic Church & Christians in general.
The Pope has just now apologized, and exonerated the Jews. Took 2000 years. We Gays await our turn.
Ms. Palin has seen the light on the Jewish situation. We Gays await her to see our situation.
And Jews have a saying, I’m told: The impossible takes a little longer. And that’s as good enough for us too.
So thanks, Professor Jacobson, for the inspiration. I hope you see it with the respect I offer it, to a man who is reasonable and thoughtful. To make you reason more thoughtfully on us Gay folks. Because this mishmash about us cannot long continue to divide the nation. We’re just too unimportant.
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