Here’s a fun video in which bigots declare themselves to be victims:
Oh, excuse me. I wrote bigots. I meant BIGOTS. Is there a way to make that text bigger? Because I can’t figure out how to more aggressively emphasize the word.
Let’s start with what is immediately happening here, which is a group of allegedly Catholic adults (who we’ll presumably find out are paid actors at some point in the near future) earnestly (so serious) and cowardly (no names) telling us that they remain opposed to gay marriage. They’ll do this without offering us anything bordering upon an explanation for their opposition and they’ll insist … and actually, you know what? How about we deal with what’s really being said here?
Three somber folks sit down, one-by-one-by-one, in front of a camera. The first to speak is a woman in her mid-30s perhaps, or maybe she’s a bit older. “I am a little bit nervous about people, ummmm, kind of hearing that I’m this way and then thinking, ummm, well, she’ll, *eyeroll*, she’s not welcome here.” Then a man, maybe in his late-20s or early-30s, says, “I would say that I’m different. We’re all different” And then another younger(ish) man, “Most people probably already think I’m weird anyway so I don’t think society’s impression of me is going to change drastically based upon one or two discoveries that come to light after this video.”
Maybe Catholic Vote was thinking that it could finally – finally – tap into the presumably (?) vast (?) reservoirs (?) of people that have watched coming out videos and thought, “Here’s another one. I’m likely to emotionally engage with this video, so now I’m going to watch it.” There’s no hint at the big reveal that we’re going to get after roughly another fifteen seconds.
“Pretty scary, yknow, you wonder how many people can I really, truly, honestly be open with?” says a young man who doesn’t appear to be scared at all. And then a young woman, “I’ve tried to change this before, but it’s too important to me.”
Again, everything that we’re getting is hinting at the reveal of sexuality. We have an acknowledgement of some as-of-yet-undefined difference, we have the fear that comes with this difference, and we have a stated desire to change this difference. We’re meant to sympathize with these very real people (who might be paid actors) because they are going through something.
Now we get the same actors again, in the same order. “I actually think marriage is between a man and a woman.” says the woman in her mid-30s. “I think that marriage is between a man and a woman.” says the man in his late-20s. “I already have an idea of what marriage should be.” says the other younger-ish man, before adding, “And that will never change.”
We have now learned that the very somber something that these folks are going through is the fear of no longer getting their own way as it pertains to the state’s recognition of marriages. At night, lying in bed, unable to sleep, tossing and turning, the thing that’s going through their heads is no greater than, “I’m not gonna get to have my way anymore. The world isn’t doing what I want anymore! THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!”
“At the end of the day, I don’t think we need to truly be ashamed of how we really feel about things. So be you.” says one of this video’s young people. “No one should be looked down upon. No one should be suppressed, err, no one’s views should be suppressed.” says another bonafide young person.
These are people that spent generations demanding the shame of gay people. These are people that looked down upon gay people. These are people that suppressed gay people. And now that the world seems have to turned, perhaps to a considerable degree, we have a Catholic organization essentially insisting upon very different treatment than they were ever willing to extend to their enemies.
“I know a lot of people who are gay,” says remarkably earnest young person. “I have friends who are gay. I don’t fear them, yknow? They’re wonderful people. I love them…but what I do feel insecure about is speaking from the heart and being really open and honest about what I believe.”
This young person wants us to believe that he is the victim here, that even though he’s done so much for the gay people in his life via the love that he says he has for them – he doesn’t even fear them, for God’s sake! – he still feels uncomfortable being truly open and honest. In fact, he even feels uncomfortable being open and honest with us too, because although he definitely wants us to understand that he’s the victim here, he never tells us what he would say if he was really “speaking from the heart.”
And now another young person, “I love my friends. Several of them happen to be gay. How would it not be the case that the ever-loving creator who gave us everything we have doesn’t love us?” And now another young person, “Where’s that balance, yknow? Where can you say, ‘No, I’m not going to be a part of this.’ but still respect someone?”
Here at least do we get a question that we can answer, something more substantive than everything we have heard up to now: “Where can you say, ‘No, I’m not going to be a part of this!’ but still respect someone?” The very simple answer is not being a jerk when you are invited to be a part of the love shared between two people (assuming, oddly, that you are getting invited to the now-legal nuptials of two people who apparently do not know that you have no interest in being a part of their nuptials). The very simple answer is by not advocating for the state to prevent the marriages of the people that you claim to respect. The very simple answer is by not doing what you are doing.
Back to the young man who knows a lot of gay people and who does not even fear them. “Bigoted is a huge word that gets thrown around and it’s just not true.”
Well, except that those opposed to gay marriage are bigots motivated by their hatred of gays. Principled opposition to gay marriage is always revealed to be nothing more than an expression of the individual’s discomfort with gay people, as the explanations offered to exclude gays from marriage are never – never, never, never – applied with equal force to straight couples. It is easy to understand why organizations like Catholic Vote are anxious to have us believe that their opposition to gay marriage isn’t motivated by plain bigotry – there’s very little chance that plays in today’s America – the fact of the matter is that they’ve got nothing more substantive to say about the issue that doesn’t boil down to outright animus toward gay people. Remarkably earnest young man up there can believe whatever he wants about his own position, but unless he has got a brand new argument that nobody has yet heard, he wants gays treated differently than straights because gays are not straight. That’s bigotry, plainly and simply.
“You cannot have a society of hatred or a society of bigotry.”
One way we can know this video’s remarkably disingenuous nature is this particular comment. It would have saved time perhaps to have him shouting, “Please do not treat my views on marriage the same way I have treated gays for existing! It is unfair…when it happens to me, but not to them.”
“I happen to know what marriage is and I don’t see how it could change.”
A fun thing to do here is to watch this very real person’s eyes as he makes this claim. He rolls them way up to his left as these words are coming out of his mouth. Other very real people featured here are clearly reading from cue cards. But, taking them at their word that they are real people (without names), his knowledge is so fascinating and certain. He knows what marriage is and it definitely does not include gay people, because reasons, which go unstated. Not that he will tell us about the real marriage that he knows about of course. Telling us about real marriage risks the possibility of introducing unsustainable arguments into the equation and we absolutely positively cannot have that, so instead, we should simply trust that this young person knows what marriage is. End of story.
“The best way to break down all of these barriers…*sniff* *wild hand-flailing*…is to just get to know people one on one.”
Much like the very odd Creator comment above, it is worth wondering what exactly we are meant to take away from this particular bit of commentary, because yes, getting to know people one on one is great, but how that ends in denying marriage rights to gay couples is not entirely clear. Maybe if I really get to know her, I will start to hate gay people too?
*SNIFF* “You’re not alone. You’re not alone. You’re not alone.” And finally, on the screen, the following: SPEAK TRUTH WITH LOVE.
This is disgusting of course. The “It Gets Better” videos were specifically designed to let people – genuinely victimized people – know that there was more to their lives than the fear that they were feeling. This video is designed to do the opposite, to reassure the people that hate gays that they are not alone in this hatred and that, in fact, they can describe their hatred as loves. Words trump actions, apparently.
This video has generally been mauled by the internet, a reaction that Catholic Vote is thrilled to revel in, Trolls gonna troll I suppose. Still, wanting us to believe that bigoted Catholics are somehow just as victimized as gays have historically been – which, again, is somehow genuinely the point that this video wants us to believe – is hilariously wrong-headed in a way that simply defies the imagination. Somebody sitting at Catholic Vote thought, “This is how we’ll win!” and nobody else in the room apparently had the heart to say, “No, it isn’t.”
That thought alone is worth the price of admission.