The truism is relatively independent of my beliefs on a current hot button issue that everyone's pissing and moaning about. But, since I cannot discuss said truism without at least establishing my stance on said hot button issue, I'll get my masturbatory soapboxing out of the way first, and then I'll get to what this has to do with my truism.
The subject is gay marriage. * brief pause while some readers finish rolling their eyes * That isn't sarcasm, by the way. Every time gay marriage is the topic of an editorial or a news show or anything like that, I roll my eyes, too. Given all the horrible things going on in the world, the sustained outrage aimed at "protecting the sanctity of marriage" makes me want to build my house inside out to finish the asylum. Let's face it, it's easier to oppose a bunch of people who aren't hurting anyone than people who might hurt you if you get involved (notice PETA throws blood on supermodels wearing leather, but knows better than to try that on the Hell's Angels). The whole debate is making the Establishment look like the total fools they are. Nevada amended its state Constitution to not recognize gay marriages from any other state. I imagine the debate went something like this -- "This is Nevada. We have whores, gambling, the mob, liquor...we gotta draw the line somewhere!" And because states are not recognizing other states' gay marriages, they have just legalized bigamy, replacing one "crime against the sanctity of marriage" with another. Nice work. As for me, my stance is simple -- marriage has nothing to do with love, it's about property and legal rights. Who inherits, who has power of attorney, and so on. People get married for reasons other than love all the time (sex, money, green card, etc.) and people love each other without marriage all the time. I see no reason why the legal rights of marriage shouldn't be extended to gays. And no, I don't see this as opening the door for people to marry kids or animals or anything like that, one of the favored hypothetical extrapolations of gay marriage opponents. We're talking about the power to make legal decisions. Kids and animals can't do that. Case closed. Yes, I'm aware you can legally set things up for the same results as marriage without marriage, but why should gays have to jump through legal hoops when straights can just pay a justice of the peace and get the same results?
I have noticed, however, that opposition to gay marriage usually stems from traditional religious grounds. I don't see many pagans or atheists who oppose it. Like me, the response to protecting the "sanctity of marriage" is one of acute disinterest. When you've seen as many bad marriages as I have, it's tough to romanticize the whole institution. It's not so much that I actively support gay marriage as I see no reason to oppose it. It's not some flag I rally around, it's just libertarian indifference, which is a fancy way of saying, "I don't give a rat's ass." However, traditional Christians grab their metaphorical swords and rush into a manufactured Crusade, and most of these people couldn't name the twelve Apostles if you gave them a scorecard. These people aren't content to simply express an opinion of "I think gay marriage is wrong" and leave it at that, a matter of personal opinion and nothing more. They turn to the Bible and align themselves with others to make it seem like they are living proof of some sort of natural order. If they can prove it is actual natural order instead of just opinion, they can reassure themselves that they have the right answers, even if annecdotally is the only thing they got.
Which brings us to Miss California, a contestant for Miss USA last week. She was looking like a winner until she was asked an interview question by gossip columnist Perez Hilton. The interview questions are always minefields because they are supposed to be about extemporaneous speaking, thinking on your feet and expressing yourself clearly. But in actuality, it's about providing an acceptable answer to a question, no matter how unrealistic, that will make the judges smile. This overloaded function occassionally results in brain seizures that triggers things like the stream of consciousness train wreck of Miss South Carolina a couple of years ago, whose speech about maps and "the Iraq" and everywhere like such as was so full of FAIL, it overflowed the integer and wrapped around into WIN. Miss California was asked about her stance on gay marriage, and she stated that she believes it is wrong on religious grounds. Just that. She didn't turn it into a rallying cry, but an apology for not supporting a cause Hilton telegraphed he did.
And now, we get to the truism.
Hilton has been using his blog to slam her for not supporting gay marriage and letting everyone know that's why she didn't get the crown. Good message: think the approved things, or you'll pay dearly. Big Brother would be so proud. The fact that he has millions of people who hang on his every word while she doesn't is basically a form of censorship and bullying. She will never get to express and defend her point of view like he does, and he knows it. (The religious nuts aren't acquitting themselves. Miss California has been invited to be a presenter at the Dove Awards, the Christian music equivalent of the Grammy awards. She hadn't been invited until this whole thing blew up. Way for you guys to reaffirm open-mindedness.)
If you truly believe in freedom, you have to extend that freedom to people who not only don't agree with you, but have beliefs that piss you off. These aren't dangerous revolutionaries advocating the violent overthrow of the government here, they are people just like you and me, trying to make sense of a fucked up world they are trapped in. Miss California isn't saying Hilton is wrong, just defending her views. Let people make up their own minds just like you do. Just because someone has reached a different conclusion than you doesn't make your ideas any less valid. Don't take it so personally, and start acting like a grown-up. If you don't like someone or something, just avoid it. Don't force it into non-existence just to give standing to self-centered world view. Don't forget: everyone is entitled to an opinion on everything, including other opinions. I think Miss California's stance is wrong, but I don't think she's wrong for thinking what makes sense to her.