Monday, January 19, 2009

What Communitarianism Apparently Means in California

This story in today's NYT is one of the best examples I have seen recently of why I started this blog. Somebody went through the public records of donors to the campaign to ban gay marriage in California, known as Proposition 8, and put them on a Google map. Unsurprisingly these folks have been receiving harassing mail and other annoyances. Two organizations, a Mormon temple and the headquarters of the K of C, were sent white powder by some very inventive person. I should note that the site I linked to for the Mormon story thoughtfully refers to gay people as "homosexualists" which is a new one for me.

It's great to see hypocrisy in full bloom here. For years the left has been going on and on about building communities. Well I for one would like it explained to me, very slowly because I guess I'm sort of dense, how faux terrorist activities achieve that goal? Folks on the right want to honor families, but they do things like ban people from adopting orphaned kids simply because they don't like the civil and personal arrangements people have selected. If you are going to preach morality to people you had better be prepared to get some angry responses.

Because the answer to Rodney King's question is apparently no, folks on both side of this battle have decided to settle it the old fashioned way - using the judiciary. Conservatives are being represented by this guy, who's been involved in conservative legal activities for a while. On the other side the legal director of a National Lesbian Rights organization is asking if conservatives "have something to hide" by not wanting to be harassed. I mean maybe I'm missing something but I don't think that gay people who don't live in San Francisco want big signs posted in all of their front yards pronouncing "Lesbians Within."

The reason I find all of this interesting is that the Times is also reporting that we are all going to come together in peace and harmony tomorrow with some musically themed schmaltz of "We Are One." I guess Washington types believe that if Bruce Springsteen and Beyonce and Bono (who's not even American) tell us we are all one we are supposed to believe it.

Inaugurations are supposed to be times of unity (although it certainly wouldn't kill the NYT to come clean and remember this little piece during the build-up to Bush's second inauguration) and I guess it's fine that we try to set aside our differences during the most historic inauguration of my lifetime. But let's not delude ourselves. Prop 8 is a really powerful example that while we all say we are communitarians there are some awfully big differences of opinion about how those communities are supposed to look and who can get married in them.

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