Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Credit Where Credit is Due

Great post over at Little Cicero today. No, really.

Anyone and everyone at this blog who has found themselves, shall we say, *frustrated* by LC's commentary needs to head over and take a read.


little-cicero said...

Gosh, thank you my friend! I feel all fuzzy inside- something us conservatives aren't exactly used to!

Percival said...

But what about bigotry?

Andy said...

What about it? I think LC and I, together, have made a good case that the way forward in areas of disagreement is to sit down and just start talking...or blogging, in this instance. He could have called me faggot, I could have called him bigot, and that could have just been the end of it. But through months of back and forth, we have made progress to the point where Little Cicero is calling me his friend. Do we see eye to eye on everything? Nope. Don't think we ever will.

But that's really the crux of it; you don't have to agree with someone to like them, you just have to understand where they're coming from.

LeshDogg said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
LeshDogg said...

I'm a teacher (by occupation and nature). I have a hard time writing off an 18-year-old as a "bigot". I have a hard time writing off anyone completely as a bigot.

little-cicero said...

Thanks Andy. In the words of Archie Bunker: "I ain't a bigot".

(I know how much clout Archie has in the gay community! Does anyone remember the transvestite "Beverly" that Archie befriended?)

Jarred said...

LC: I've noticed you'd quoted Archie Bunker a couple of times, now. You are aware that the Archie Bunker character was created as a stereotype of bigotry to be mocked, aren't you? (Indeed, the last name of the character was chosen because it was popular slang for "nonsense" at the time.) I ask because every time I see you quote him, it tends to create a bit of cognitive dissonance in my mind, given your rightful insistence that you're not a bigot.

huomiseksi said...

I just posted the following comment at "Little Cicero." Since I was the 37th commenter upon the posting there, I'm re-commenting here to lessen my chance of falling through the cracks.


Your posting is quite diplomatic, courteous, and palatable. Thank you for taking the trouble to word your viewpoint, and for your thoughtful words about Andy.

I want to address two sentences you wrote:

"Gay parades and militant political firebranding both alienate gays from mainstream America as much as homophobia and Christian Fundamentalist protests. The gay community has to get serious if they want to be accepted, but they also have to reach out to those who think badly of them."

You practice what you preach with Andy, and set a good example of "agreeing to disagree" by keeping a high tone in your debates. That is the way to arrive at mutual understanding.

But civil rights has less to do with mutual understanding and more to do with justice and equality. The gay movement has learned the hard way that mutual understanding doesn't make any real difference.

We HAVE gotten serious. We HAVE reached out to those who think badly of us. Journalists and politicians do not care how smart, nice, articulate, rich, qualified, or tactful we are. They listen to us talk, nod, and then go on exactly as before. We are alienated, that is made "alien," before we even open our mouths. If you want an example, check the history of the struggle for AIDS drugs in the 80s. Polite disagreement cost many lives.

That is why militant political firebranding is necessary. Militant political firebranding IS "getting serious" because we know acceptance will never come from those who never cease to think badly of us no matter what we say or do.

And as for our gay parades: they are "serious" expressions of our own self-acceptance. If you or mainstream America find them more alienating than any other kind of parade, perhaps you should examine the root of your own alienation rather than frown upon our motives for holding the parades.

Matthew said...

The problem I have is with the sense of power and entitlement that is displayed by LC and others like him/her. I know he/she means well, but telling Andy and the rest of us gay folk, 'Act this way and talk to us that way, and maybe we'll understand you better' is such a power trip that emasculates the people being told what to do that I scarcely know where to begin.

I don't need to be understood, or liked. I need my equality. There's the rub. There are plenty of folks out there that people don't like (for whatever reasons), but they are not denied certain rights or privileges because of it.

Andy says (in a well-intentioned manner):

"He could have called me faggot, I could have called him bigot, and that could have just been the end of it. But through months of back and forth, we have made progress to the point where Little Cicero is calling me his friend."

The only problem is, Andy could have called LC "bigot," and that would have been the end of it. The majority that LC belongs to can say "faggot," and back it up with the power to deny rights.

And, yes, I know that the method minorities have used over the years to attain full equality is to patiently engage the majority in a dialgue in order to prove themselves, but I'm just tired of it. It's rather low, when you think about it, that we have to continue to prove ourselves to the majority in order for them to deign to grant us the rights they enjoy. Blacks shouldn't have had to do it, and neither should gays.

Until heterosexuals who've been divorced multiple times or who have abusive marriages or who marry so that someone can become a citizen or... (the list goes on) have to prove their competence to get married, then I don't see any reason why homosexuals should, either.

DJRainDog said...

I've gotta add my voice to this because I may be the only one on here who knows Mr. Huomiseksi, and I'm proud that over the last 2 years, I've come to call him a friend. And he's right; bottom line: talk is cheap. Diamanda Galas hissed, "Let's not chat about despair!" (And I played that recording whilst driving with my mother when I was in college, if those of you who know it can believe it!) And these recent discussions and current events, particularly the recent discriminatory court rulings on same-gender marriage, with their thinly veiled hatred simmering just beneath the veneer of concern for the perpetuation of the species in their language, HAVE made me angry, which has been reflected in my comments (and I'm sorry little-cicero has borne the brunt of my fury). But honestly? I think America needs more angry people. The downtrodden have been silent for too long. This nation was founded on revolution. It's time for another.

little-cicero said...

Matthew, I understand where you're coming from, but usually when a bunch of people are offering solutions to a problem, they will prescribe actions for individuals to take. There are two ways to solve prostitution: One is prescribing for individuals to stop patronizing prostitutes and the other is to arrest those who solicit prostitution. Both are solutions to the same problem, and both can be applied simultaneously.

So if the problem is homo-hetero relations (clearly this is the central problem to all "equality" and "discrimination" cases) there are two ways to solve it- one is legal and the other is social. The only reason I offer social solutions is that legal solutions are not enough to solve your predicament. Reach the goal of the marriage certificate and you may find yourself lightyears ahead legally- but lightyears behind socially! Since a majority of percieved unfairness on the parts of minorities is within legal boundaries (purely social), the social realm of minority progress ought not to be neglected on the grounds of "pandering".

By the way- when have I ever said anything to the effect of "faggot" on this blog. As far as I'm concerned a fag is just a British cigarette.

Andy said...

The only reason I offer social solutions is that legal solutions are not enough to solve your predicament.

So...basically you're saying it's our fault straight people discriminate against us? Because we're not doing a good enough PR job? Nice.

Anonymous said...

A bigot, is the last one to know, that he is a bigot.

little-cicero said...

Okay anonymous and all you other geniuses out there who agree with him. I'm a bigot. Happy? Now that we've established my bigothood maybe we can get on to more constructive discussion.

Andy- I'm not saying it's anyone's fault, I'm just saying that you should recognize that there are multiple fronts in any war. Consider the analogy to the Israel-Hezbollah war. The more Israel wins the military fight the more they lose the PR war. If you want victory, you have to win both. Try dropping leaflets on Alabama! (:

kr pdx said...

LC/Andy: LC, recognize that Andy (through this blog and his day-to-day existence) and many others here are already _clearly_ facing the social front you describe. It is condescending for you to preach The LC Gospel on this topic, as if the gay community hadn't thought of it (certainly over at your blog-post you've gotten that reaction) ... and, Andy, perhaps it is the sensed condescension, not so much the premise, to which you are actually reacting, since your actions show agreement with the premise?

kr pdx said...

All bigot-callers:

Honestly, aren't we all bigots one way or another? (Most common American examples I can think of, aside from homosexuality: how do you feel about fat people? About Catholics? About Muslims? About New-Agers?)

I would say that assuming LC can't change "for the better," which is what you imply(?), is its own form of bigotry: if one is born into conservative circumstances, or heaven forfend still reflects such a birth at the your-life-is-set-in-stone age of 18(!!!!), well, clearly, we get to write that person off as a human being!


(that's my text-shorthand for the feeling behind "WTF??" ... I am trying to clean up my language. Again.)

Even if LC were 57, or 115, the fact that he is here and asking questions--and has in fact changed his thinking to reflect the answers he has received in the past year--well, I am hard-put to see how one can begin to justify writing him off. Writing off some of his opinions, sure--just like he writes off some of yours and some of mine. Wishing he changed his perception of reality to more comfortably match your perception of reality, or at least could see where you're coming from, of course, that's only natural--just like he often wishes "out loud" on the blogs that people could see more often things that are to him as clear as day.

Seriously: He listens, and sometimes he actually hears what is said ... isn't that what we want out of each other, as humans? Isn't it all we can ask?

Each life is a journey. LC is asking for journey-help from the very people he is being accused of being "bigotted" against.

Again, ??!?

His (current--we are chronological beings!) opinions may offend, but I don't see the logic in calling him A Bigot. A Bigot assumes they are Right, and doesn't purposely collect evidence contrary to their assumptions (and they don't admit the validity of contrary evidence, if they manage to accidentally collect some).

LC's history here does not support this name-calling.

kr pdx said...

PS, on my Andy/LC comment:

I see LC's premise as not that the opinions of heterosexuals "should" matter, it's that those opinions "do" matter.

LC undoubtably means it primarily in the political reality. How many opinion-poll victories have been celebrated on this blog? Those opinions matter, or why the celebration?

I would add also the human-emotional reality. I have yet to see a homosexual declare in anything except obvious bitterness, "What the heterosexuals think about my homosexuality doesn't matter." I am sure there are some homosexuals who truly don't care--but there are observably a large number who do care, and care deeply.

LC's actual premise, that there is a social front to the battle, isn't wrong.

(His attitude and assumptions are, of course, somewhat less unassailable ;). Sorry, LC ;).)

little-cicero said...

When you talk about equality, I know you're referring to marriage and military entrance. My point, however, is that assuming you gain both rights in their entirety, you still won't be satisfied, as well you shouldn't.

Hate can only be eradicated by LOVE, not lawyers! Equality cannot coexist with alienation!

Andy said...

Yes, but LC, the civil rights movement doesn't work that way, and never has. African Americans didn't have to wait for a majority of white folks to come to their senses in order to get desegregated public accommodations; lawsuits were brought, the courts saw the logic of the claims, and the system forced the change on a reluctant majority, who came to see that they had been wrong. If the courts had said, "We need to wait until public opinion is more squarely in favor of the equality between races," we'd probably still be waiting. That monkey-wrench in the system is what jolted complacent white Americans into seeing the folly of their thinking.

little-cicero said...

Are you telling me that all is good and peachy in the black community as the civil rights movement is concerned?

Of course not. And all of their inequalities are social- not legal.

Andy said...

But that's exactly my point, LC. If we wait for legal equality to catch up with social attitudes, nothing will ever change.

little-cicero said...

I understand. I guess if you feel that your situation is as dire as that of blacks in the 1950s then you would want to take the easy way. Just consider that the easy way might not be the right way. It may just be a quick fix.

Andy said...


Little Cicero, seriously. The *easy* way? Have you noticed the summer the LGBT civil rights movement has had? Major court losses in New York, Tennessee, Georgia, Washington and the 8th Circuit? The EASY way?

By the way, what makes you think that we only have one strategy? Of COURSE we are working on the "PR" end of it, too. Please, we are not that inept. You can't do one or the other, you have to do both. We're doing both.

But I'm still miffed you think the courts are the "easy" way. I mean, maybe "easy" because ideally judges put personal ideology aside and look at facts and rationally balance competing arguments, but obviously they don't always do that. If it wasn't for taking "the easy way" right up through the Supreme Court, people could still be prosecuted and sent to jail for consensual sexual activity; Colorado would have a Constitutional amendment barring state officials from granting any rights or protections based on sexual orientation; almost all of the rights and protections we have earned for ourselves we have gotten through the courts.

Do you STILL not understand how our democratic government works, Little Cicero? The power of majority rule is limited by design. We use it to elect our leaders and pass certain kinds of laws. But when it comes to civil rights, the majority has no voice, and that's the way the founders intended it. It is up to an INDEPENDENT judiciary -- meaning, they are not beholden to public opinion -- to ensure that all Americans have equal access to rights and are equally protected by the laws. Once rights are recognized, you don't wait for the majority to be comfortable with it. That's not democratic.

little-cicero said...

Of course changing laws is easier than changing minds. It's more expedient and it's easier. You don't think convincing millions of Americans that gays are not degenerates is harder than having a few sympathetic judges hammer out precedents in favor of gay marriage?

We've already been through the democratic process. You don't seem to understand that the only way to a strong judiciary is to have the judiciary follow the rules set in place in our Constitution. I've been arguing that mere majority votes on gay marriage bans are not enough, and that a supermajority is necessary.