There is no difference between what's being said about liberal and progressive Americans now and what was said of my family members then. The feminist, queer, and civil rights communities have heard it a thousand times before. We can sing the refrain.
Starting from the top. Tell me when these stop sounding familiar:
- You're shrill.
- You're exaggerating how bad things are.
- You're destructive to families.
- You're humanists (You place the well-being of people over God's Law, in other words.)
- You're irrational.
- Your arguments are specious.
- You're ugly.
- You just need a good dicking and you'll see the light.
- We're doing this for your own good.
- You're mentally ill.
- You're morally reprehensible.
- You should shut up, stay out of sight, and let decent people get on with their lives.
- You want to upset the natural order of things.
- You're going to Hell.
- This is God's punishment for your sins.
- You spread disease.
- You deserve whatever you get.
- Get over it.
I could go on. But I think the point is made.
Silence still equals death.
Before anybody gets into this fight, however, they should know that not staying silent can be equally deadly. They will try to take your children away. In some cases, they will succeed. They will blacken your name. They will send you to jail on trumped-up charges. They will have you beaten to death in alleys. They will fight to the last man, because this isn't about morality, and it isn't about religion, and it never has been. Those are just weapons they use, and we can't be distracted by mistaking the weapon for the arm that wields it.
This is about privilege. And it always has been. This is about whites defending their status from people of color, and about straights defending their privilege from queers, and this is about men defending their status from women, and the classes defending themselves from the masses (and using the masses against themselves).
It doesn't look like a zero-sum game to us, but it does to them, because if we gain status, then they feel like they're losing it.
Do not make the mistake of thinking it's about anything else. Do not be distracted. Do not look down. Do not blink.
Eyes on the prize.
ETA, pursuant to requests to copy/disseminate:
Copyright 2004 Elizabeth Bear. Permission is granted to duplicate and propagate at will, so long as no changes are made to the text and this copyright notice remains intact. Online copies will please link the original journal entry at http://www.livejournal.com/users/matociquala/407295.html