Monday, December 22, 2008

Bill Kristol as Jodie Dallas

It's hard to know where Kristol stands on gay rights. Most likely it's an issue that he could go either way on; just as long as conservatives don't loose support for crazy economics and crazy foreign policy, they'll keep on with the gay-bashing.

I remember reading once about how David Brooks was the most obvious choice to succeed William F. Buckley as the editor-in-chief of the National Review. But alas, David Brooks is Jewish, and William F. Buckley picked someone else. Now, I don't think Buckley was anti-Semitic, but he knew that a valued part of the conservative movement was, and he wasn't about to lose them by making a good decision. Better to go with an immoral decision.

So in this column, I think that Kristol is doing something similar. He isn't really taking a side in the gay marriage debate, but he is going out of his way to make the anti-gay marriage position seem to be the more reasonable and less hostile side of the issue. The argument: "Rick Warren seems like a nice guy! His side of the issue is reasonable. Gay rights groups are mad! Their side is mean." 

What Kristol is ignoring, though, is that when gays and lesbians are told that they are not allowed to be like everyone else (the word "unequal" comes to mind), and that idea gets enforced through the law and gets enforce socially, then that is a form of hostility. So responding to hostility by being hostile really shouldn't be surprising. 

It's interesting what Kristol is doing here: he isn't invalidating either side of the gay marriage argument. In fact, you could say that he holding them on an equal ground. Instead, he's judging the issue on the perceived tone of the two sides. He wants to lead people to believe that the side that has a nastier tone isn't the side you want to be on.

"It's time to welcome him [Obama] into the American mainstream, to salute the president-elect's progress from Reverends Wright to Warren."

So Obama is in the mainstream now because he's gone from a preacher who has preached anti-American views to one that has preached anti-equal rights views? Reverend Wright spouted First Amendment-protected sentiments that hurt people's feelings, while Rick Warren supports legally denying a group of people their rights. That's not progress.

Some of the Tuskegee Airmen are expected to be the inauguration. However, if feels too much like we are will be trying to progress in ending one era of discrimination while legitimizing another one. This is a point that Kristol conveniently avoids. 

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