Out with the Old Intolerance, In with the New

Some want equality before the law and social inclusion. Others, who feign wanting the same, actually have darker aims and see an opportunity to pursue these by confusing their authoritarian agenda with the cresting fight for liberty.

As Mark Lee writes in the Washington Blade:

The news on the gay civil rights and marriage equality fronts has been nothing short of stupendous of late. Except for the attitudes and behavior of some LGBT people, including many community activists.

Inclination toward ideological hegemony and political retribution of the sort that would make Chairman Mao proud is substitute for an appropriate sense of communal celebration and circumspect congeniality. It seems we’ve become so accustomed to anxiety and alienation that gays don’t know how to be happy. …

Two instances in the past week are clear illustrations.

When generation-spanning Olympian and reality show star Bruce Jenner indicated he’s a conservative Republican, when discussing being transgender in a national television interview, the denunciations and condemnations were swift. Taunts that he’s “self-loathing” or a “traitor” and “despicable” for his political beliefs were emblematic of a lack of tolerance for divergence of thought.

The news that two prominent gay hoteliers, owners of multiple businesses and most of the gay venues on Fire Island, had invited Ted Cruz to a small meet-and-greet to primarily discuss non-gay issues sparked rapid-fire pillory. Lost in the outcry was the fundraising event they had recently hosted for 900 contributors to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Calls for a boycott of their enterprises ensued and they were reduced to issuing an “apology” to avoid continued harassment….

Why do we remain tolerant of an abhorrent petty mob mentality demanding “groupthink” and pouncing on nonconformists? For all the chatter about a need for “safe spaces” it’s time we create such for one another.

[Added: Subsequently, Reisner revealed:

“In the interest of transparency, I gave Senator Cruz a $2,700 cheque to show my support for his work on behalf of Israel,” Reisner said in a statement [to the New York Times]. “When I realized his donation could be misconstrued as supporting his anti-gay marriage agenda, I asked for the money back. Senator Cruz’s office gave the money back, and I have no intention of giving any money to any politicians who aren’t in support of LGBT issues.”]

More. Via Reason, this cartoon nicely captures the Jenner controversy.

Perhaps a better example to make the point, the Supreme Court arguments, as noted in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, came just four days afer:

in Oregon, an administrative-law judge proposed a $135,000 fine against Aaron and Melissa Klein, proprietors of the Sweet Cakes bakery in Gresham, for the “emotional distress” suffered by a lesbian couple for whom the Kleins, citing their Christian belief that marriage is between a man and a woman, had declined to bake a wedding cake in 2013.

Some have come to think anything that purports to advance “LGBT rights” and that brands itself as “progressive” is by necessity of the light and is thus to be supported without question—especially when the target is religious conservatives and/or Republicans, who themselves can’t possibly have rights worth defending.

Liberal tolerance. Drive them out of business, subject them to penurious fines, and then block their attempts to raise money for their legal defense.

And while you’re at it, attack an unrelated bakery with the same-sounding name:

Though the Smiths are across the country from Sweet Cakes by Melissa, run by husband-and-wife team Melissa and Aaron Klein, their bakery’s strong presence on Twitter has caused it to be the target of “really awful, hateful tweets,” Emily Smith said Thursday.

“People are calling us bigots and say we should rot in hell and are tweeting Bible quotes to us [on Twitter],” said Emily Smith.

26 Comments for “Out with the Old Intolerance, In with the New”

  1. posted by Jorge on

    A man transitioning at age 65 and people are surprised he’s self-loathing?

    I mean, don’t we already know this? Ex-wife Kardashian contributed to him stifling himself, but she can’t take all the credit. Bruce Jenner allowed it. Were they really expecting him to be a millennial liberal?

    And it is not my place to say whether or not that was the right decision. He has children and step-children with this woman. Can anyone give back what would be undone had he made a different decision earlier in life? Can anyone guarantee what he would otherwise have now?

    What’s self-loathing to one person is simply a sincerely held belief or decision to another. I think the long-known Mr. Jenner supposedly said it best when he said his entire life has been preparing him for this moment. Let him make the bed he’s laying in.

    …an administrative-law judge proposed a $135,000 fine against Aaron and Melissa Klein, proprietors of the Sweet Cakes bakery in Gresham, for the “emotional distress”…

    And speaking of millennials…

  2. posted by Jim Michaud on

    As far as Bruce Jenner’s political orientation, hopefully it will provide the GOP a teachable moment. Anything that inches the Republicans towards inclusiveness and tolerance is good. The Ted Cruz meeting raised as many eyebrows on the right as on the GLBT side. There are plenty who aren’t thrilled that Cruzy boy broke bread with them thar homosexuaaals. Why does only our side get the finger wagging lecture?

  3. posted by JohnInCA on

    Can’t say anything about Bruce Jenner as I don’t care. I see an article with that name in the title and I ignore it. Just not on my radar, ya know?

    As for the hoteliers… apparently *also* lost in the conversation is the right-wing attacks on Cruz for meeting with them. But remember, when boycotts are called for by right-wing sources over ideology (like say, Starbucks, Home Depot, or Apple over their LGBT-support), it’s a righteous expression of free association and free market principles, but when left-wing groups do the same it’s unconscionable expressions of homo-fascist jack-booted thug-stomping. Or something.

    And lastly, in regards to the bakery… yeah, suing someone using non-discrimination laws… that *is* equal treatment. If I refuse service to a Christian couple because they’re Christian, they get to sue my pants off. And if they refuse me service because they’re Christian, it’s only *equal treatment* if I get to sue their pants off.

    No, it’s not nice. But as Red Riding Hood noted, “Nice is different then good”.

  4. posted by Thom on

    I have to say, after reading accounts from his first wife, I become less and less impressed with Bruce Jenner’s “courageous” decision to transition. Clearly he knew this about himself and was open with his first wife decades ago but because it wasn’t politically or financially advantageous back then, he kept quiet, married a few more times and continued living a lie, all while voting Republican and luxuriating in endorsements and reality television deals. Then after the Left fought and bled for the last 40 years so he could live in a world where it was deemed ok, (if not trendy) to be transgendered, (and after his divorce from his reality show family) he decided it was time to be “true to himself” and live as a woman. How convenient. Of course he clarified in his interview that other than presenting as a woman, not much had changed in his life – he has never been with nor has plans to be with a man….(aka, he’s not one of those icky gays), he still votes Republican and he’s still using male pronouns. So much for courage. What offends me is not that he votes Republican, it’s that if the GOP had its way, it would still be 1950 with regard to LGBT rights and his transition and Diane Sawyer interview would never be happening. Talk about white male privilege. I don’t see it as self-loathing, I see it more as brand management. He doesn’t care what the LGBT community thinks because he’s speaking to a much wider demographic. Ultimately he’s allowed to vote for whomever he choses – but I am equally allowed not to be impressed or tune into his next reality show.

    As for the hoteliers, gays boycotting their business is just capitalism at work. Where we choose to spend our dollars is the greatest agency we have. If the hoteliers live in such a bubble that they’re oblivious to how unpopular a Ted Cruz sponsored dinner party would play with their gay clientele, then they don’t deserve my hard earned dollars. If they held the dinner party despite knowing, (which is far more likely) then I have no pity for any backlash they are feeling. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t enjoy all the benefits the Left has provided while laying in bed with the Right and not expect to held accountable for your actions.

  5. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    This post, and others like it, demonstrate the old adage that “there is nothing new under the sun”. Certainly, demonizing gays and lesbians as a dark, powerful force determined to undermine the American way of life, is nothing new, nor are the accusations that gays and lesbians march in lockstep, moving to a semi-secret homosexual agenda determined to crush a defined enemy. We’ve lived with this nonsense for a long time, and will continue to live with it for a long time, still.

    The language may have changed — we used to be described as diseased, perverted child abusers and so on, and are now described as ideological fellow travelers of Chairman Mao, Adolf Hiter, Robspierre and ISIS — by the message is no different: gays and lesbians are a threat to all that is good about America and the American way of life.

    What is new, though (if a shift that happened a decade ago can be described as “new”) is that gay-bashing has become politicized.

    I am old enough to remember a time when gay-bashing was universal, and politics had little if anything to do with it. About three decades ago, as left/liberal gays and lesbians began to push hard for change within the Democratic Party and conservative gays and lesbians elected to enter into a Faustian bargain with religious conservatives, the parties began to diverge, the Democratic Party slowly becoming less gay-adverse and the Republican Party becoming more gay-adverse.

    A decade ago, the divergence took a practical turn when the Republican Party, under the leadership of a gay conservative, Ken Mehlman, embarked on a conscious course of “energizing the base” by leveraging fear and loathing of gays and lesbians for short-term political gain. The result, played out over the course of several election cycles, was adoption of anti-marriage amendments in about thirty states, which, in turn, were countered by a legal/political strategy from left/liberal gays and lesbians that “turned” the Democratic Party and led, little by slowly, to a series of state and federal decisions mandating marriage equality.

    As an apparent fellow-traveler of Mao Tse-Tung*, let me note that “Many people think it impossible for guerrillas to exist for long in the enemy’s rear. Such a belief reveals lack of comprehension of the relationship that should exist between the people and the troops. The former may be likened to water the latter to the fish who inhabit it. How may it be said that these two cannot exist together?“, or as it is usually short-handed, “Revolutionaries are fish that swim in a sea.”

    In other words, we are where we are, in terms of our progress toward “equal means equal”, because thousands upon thousands of gays and lesbians came out to family, friends, neighbors and co-workers, changing the attitudes of the American people over time. Neither the political parties nor the “gay rights movement” brought the change in American attitude top-down, but instead ordinary, unremarkable (except for their courage) gays and lesbians came out and changed hearts and minds, converting “the sea” from toxic to supporting. We owe little to politicians or the so-called “LGBT leadership”.

    We are now at the cusp, I hope, of an important legal victory. A favorable Supreme Court decision in June will not be the end of the road, though, and we have much to do — protecting gays and lesbians in the workplace, public accommodations and schools, continued HIV/AIDS prevention, lessening the rates of gay teen suicide, and so on, and we can expect conservative gays and lesbians to fight against these efforts on ideological ground.

    So the politicization and polarization, now locked into our political environment by the divergence of the two left/liberal and conservative political parties, is likely to continue unabated, although perhaps in more moderate terms than in the last decade. And we can expect continued demonizing of gays and lesbians. I don’t like being demonized, but it is nothing new, and I’ve developed a thick hide over the years. If I’m no longer a deviant child-molester in the rhetoric of conservatives, but instead a fellow traveler of totalitarian anti-heroes, so be it. Sticks and stones and all of that …

    Hateful and un-American though we may be, gays and lesbians are, little by slowly, winning our fight for equal treatment under the law.

    We are a long way from realizing my hope that a gay or lesbian high school kid will be just another high school kid, and I don’t expect to that come to pass in the remaining 5-10 years of my lifetime, but I continue to hope that my grandchildren will live in a world that is much closer to my hopes than the world in which I grew up, and the world in which we now live.


    *Special Forces doctrine/training during the period when I served were adapted from the from guerrilla tactics pioneered by Mao, and I can remember reading, at the behest of our Group commander, “The Little Red Book” as a young soldier.

    • posted by Francis on

      I’m reminded of a similar line from an a-ha song, “Hundred thousand changes, everything’s the same”.

  6. posted by tom Jefferson 3rd on

    so….religious freedom should only apply to the Christian right….????2

  7. posted by Ricport on

    I wonder how many of the lefties here who expressed such outrage over the two hoteliers will blindly and faithfully go into the voting booth next year to cast their ballot for the DOMA- and DADT-supporting, “Wait ’till the polls say it’s OK to support gay marriage” Hildebeast? If they were so concerned with hypocrisy, they need only look in the mirror.

    • posted by Doug on

      I think you need to get out of the Faux News ‘bubble’. Clinton changed her position on DADT and DOMA some time ago. The hoteliers are pleading ignorance for having their little intimate dinner with Cruz and have since apologized. Apples and oranges IMHO.

      • posted by Ricport on

        And I think you need to get out of the MSNBC bubble. “Some time??” Try a whole whopping 2 years ago. Rationalize it all you want, her record is clear.

        • posted by Doug on

          The GOP position is crystal clear as well, anti-gay on every issue and by every candidate. Spin that.

          • posted by Ricport on

            And what makes you think I’m here to defend the GOP?

    • posted by clayton on

      I’d rather vote for, “‘Wait ’till the polls say it’s OK to support gay marriage’ Hildebeast” than the actively anti-gay Ben Carson, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, or even for the mealy-mouthed, “Well, I guess if the Supreme Court says it’s okay….” Jeb Bush. These are men who can’t even follow polls of the general public and are still pledging blind fealty to the increasingly small minority of Americans who are anti-equality.

      • posted by Ricport on

        So your excuse is “she’s less bad than the Talibangelicals?” That’s a mighty fine stance there, Clayton.

        • posted by clayton on

          And the conservative alternatives to the Talibangelicals would be…?

          • posted by Lori Heine on

            So the only alternative to the Yankees, in your mind, are the Red Sox.

            This is not a sporting event.

            Plummeting voting levels, or an elevated vote for an alternative candidate, would be the best way to provoke change. “Duh…Go Sox!” only assures more of same.

            It may be too astonishing for many commenters here to accept, but we actually do have more than two choices.

            Two whole choices! Wow! That’s one more than they get in North Korea.


          • posted by Clayton on

            To Ripcort: First of all, her name is Hillary–not Hildebeast. Let’s leave the Ad Hominem attacks in the weapons cabinet, shall we?

            To Lori: I’m not the one who introduced the false dichotomy. I merely stated that given a choice between Hillary and an anti-equality Republicans (a descriptor that applies to all those who have thrown their hat into the ring so far), I would vote for Hillary. Ripcort is the one who brought that argument down to the either/or dichotomy, in response to which I asked him to supply the names of some equality-minded conservatives. So far he hasn’t responded. Possibly because there are none–at least none that have so far indicated an interest in the 2016 Presidential run.

            I’m certainly aware that Bernie Sanders has announced his intention to run, and he’s certainly an equality-minded alternative to Hillary, although not a conservative one. And there may be Libertarian candidates (as opposed to Republican “Libertarian Leaning” candidates) who provide alternatives. I’m more than willing to discuss any of those. But to the extent that America only has two viable parties, and the dichotomy is effectively a choice between the Republican candidate and the Democratic candidate (whoever they may be), I’m still waiting to hear which equality-minded Republicans should attract my attention.

          • posted by Ricport on

            Clayton, if Hildebeast was deserving of even a nanoparticle of respect, I’d afford it to her. She is nothing but a pathological lying, greedy, soulless, amoral, stunningly incompetent individual.

            And, as usual, Lori proves her mettle as one of the only actual INDEPENDENT voices on this INDEPENDENT forum. She said it perfectly – there are other choices besides the two tents in our current circus. I’ve been voting for independents and Libertarians, as I am royally pissed at the virtual duopoly the two failed parties have on our political system. Every revolution begins with a spark. If you want to go the hypocrisy route and vote for an individual who has a long track record of vacuuming up gay dollars while stabbing them in the back, have at it. But no amount of rationalizing and political Febreze will prevent the odious effluent that is the Clinton record from smelling any sweeter.

            And had you bothered to read some of my other posts (including on this thread), you’d see that I am hardly a supporter of the Talibangelicals on the right.

            Try opening your mind and you just might find that there is life beyond the DNC plantation.

          • posted by clayton on

            Ripcourt–I’m still waiting for specific names of specific alternatives. Per your instructions, I have read your other posts on this thread. I see plenty of places where you talk about who you wouldn’t consider voting for, but nowhere do I see you name a specific individual who you think is a politically attractive alternative. Surely you can come up with a couple of names.

          • posted by Ricport on

            Sorry, Clayton, but I simply refuse to dance to your tune. It’s not about me and/or who I support or don’t support. It’s about exposing, telling, and reminding people of the truth about Hildebeast and her immensely hypocritical gay dem backers.

            It’s also May of 2015. Most of the third-party and independent candidates have a long way to go, as they have not been sucking up to Wall Street the way ol’ Hildebeast has done (all the while trying to project herself as a “woman of the people”), and thus, they are far from ready to run. They have a much shorter window, uinfortunately.

            And once again, you miss the point. It’s up to EVERYONE – including YOU – to get off your lazy behind and learn the truth about all of the candidates, and also discover that – once again – there is life beyond the two circus tents. It takes courage to vote your conscience instead of doing the politically expedient. Change isn’t always bad. Perhaps it’s way past time to demand more from our leaders than “less bad” (or, in Hildebeast’s case, far less evil)?

  8. posted by Roger on

    Some want equality before the law and social inclusion. Others, who feign wanting the same, actually have darker aims…

    I went to a marriage equality rally where we were informed that taxpayer-funded abortion on demand throughout the length of pregnancy is an LGBT right. Oh, and income redistribution, also an LGBT right. And people just accept this because, you know, they support LGBT rights.

  9. posted by Lori Heine on

    I used to vote for Democrats (with some notable exceptions), but they’ve become so extreme that I can’t stand them anymore. Hillary is one of the worst.

    Bernie Sanders may favor “equality,” but he is a socialist. We’ve just barely survived almost eight years of that, and I don’t think we can endure even four more. Elizabeth (“I’m a Native American”) Warren is cut from the same cloth. Biden is probably far less extreme, but he’s…well, come on.

    Most politicians, of either “major” party, would sell their souls to win high office. They’re malignant narcissists and at least borderline sociopaths. The very nature of our system is corruptive to the morals and ethics of even the citizenry. So we end up as cynical as those for whom we vote.

    Ricport, I’ve begun to believe that voting for Libertarians and independents might be the only way for us to make our own convictions known. Not as clear as we would like to make them, but at least studied, tabulated and duly noted. It does make a difference, in that sense. I personally don’t think I can pull the lever for any of the major contenders. At least not those I’ve seen thus far.

  10. posted by Lori Heine on

    “…nowhere do I see you name a specific individual who you think is a politically attractive alternative.”

    I can’t speak for Ricport, Clayton, but (A) nobody here needs to comply with your demands to provide information, because–among other things–(B) they may not think inside your big-money, political-power-worshipping box.

    Perhaps Ricport, like me, wants to change the entire system. If that happens to be the case then the answer to your demand might be “none of the above.” We are, in fact, not obligated to support anyone. Our support must be earned, and as far as I’m concerned (and perhaps Ricport, too), no one right now has earned it.

    I can’t help but notice that no one deals with much of what Stephen and the other bloggers say in their posts. The intolerance of which they write is simply glossed over, because the other team’s at fault, and they are evil.

    On an earlier post, I commented that many of the people who opine here seem to get their view of the world from comic books. I was roundly ridiculed, but my assertion stands.

    • posted by clayton on

      Lori, I was making a request–not a demand. I do think it is telling, though, that neither you nor Ripcourt will advance the name of a single equality-minded candidate you think is worthy of open discussion. I’m not sure whether this is because you are unwilling or unable to come up with a name, but if you truly believe the best way to save the country from narcissistic politicians is to break the stranglehold of the duopoly, it would logically follow that you would encourage discussion of intelligent, independent-minded men and women from other parties.

      • posted by Lori Heine on

        The only candidate for president who fits the bill, at present, is Gary Johnson. For whom I’m probably voting. He hasn’t a prayer of winning, but if he got more votes than expected, especially given the high polling of libertarian ideas among millenials, his influence could make a difference.

    • posted by Ricport on

      “I can’t speak for Ricport, Clayton, but (A) nobody here needs to comply with your demands to provide information, because–among other things–(B) they may not think inside your big-money, political-power-worshipping box.”


      ” We are, in fact, not obligated to support anyone. Our support must be earned, and as far as I’m concerned (and perhaps Ricport, too), no one right now has earned it.”

      As usual, you get it right. As I just mentioned in my response to Clayton, and as I’m sure you know, the third-party and independent candidates don’t have the machines and money behind them to launch this far in advance. It’s OK. I’ll wait. There’s still plenty of time.

      And I find it interesting that Clayton has yet to offer any kind of defense of Hildebeast and her dismal record… I can only assume it’s because deep in his heart, he knows it’s indefensible.

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