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Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Hypocrisy or Is It Me?

I accept that relationships are based on compromise (or I accept it in theory. Hello, single?). I accept that work requires compromise—sometimes a mind-numbing amount. And I should, being the cynical journalist I'm supposed to be, accept that politics is based on compromise. But at what point does compromise just become hypocrisy?
What am I yammering about now? Well, I'm still chewing over the condemning of the gay-bashing of Santa Fean James Maestas with the progression of the Defense of Marriage Act in the state House. I am, once again, reviewing my irritation that John Kerry and John Edwards had to proclaim, repeatedly, their belief that marriage is between a man and a woman in order to get elected (or not, as the case may be). I am trying to decide if I am just loco or if, indeed, it's hypocritical to say, on the one hand, hate crimes are wrong and then, on the other, support the denial of civil rights for the same group under attack.
Here's how my thought process is working. Attitudes in society have to come from somewhere. Bigotry, hatred etc., exist. There's no point in denying it and chances are it's not going to be eradicated anytime soon. But how it plays out in society, how en masse these feelings are allowed to become DOES depend, in large part, about how society, as a whole, treats them. Making any sign of discrimination, of inequality, legal gives license to hatred. (Hello, Rwanda?). Locking down all signs of inequality starts to send a message to society that it's not OK to run around calling people names, evicting them, denying them health insurance, beating the shit out of them.
Why is it OK for leaders to say they don't support gay marriage but they're horrified by a gay bashing? What did John Steinbeck say? Either everything matters or nothing does? (Actually he said that in The Log from the Sea of Cortez and I think he was talking about nature so maybe that's not the best reference point).
All of this stuff is driving me bonkers lately because it just seems so…unacceptable. This is the last bastion of civil rights—yet how hopeless things seem right now with religious fanatics taking over every sector of society (check out SFR's cover story tomorrow). It's The Handmaid's Tale sprung to life. Or, as a local nonprofit director said to me at the gym the other night, "it's a very grim time." Grim indeed. A time to compromise? Or a time to fight even harder?