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I'm starting to think many progressives who claim to support human rights, don't. Not really.

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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-20-08 07:07 PM
Original message
I'm starting to think many progressives who claim to support human rights, don't. Not really.
They like the sound of the words, sure. "Equal rights" is the sort of thing that sounds good to everyone. But where's the evidence that this reflexive belief in the words translates to meaningful behavior in support of them? It's the same problem with Christianity--ask any Christian whether or not they believe that the poor and humble are blessed, or that a rich man will have a metaphorically difficult time getting into heaven. They'll say "yes," but if you look for evidence that these supposed beliefs have an impact on their daily lives and actions, you'll find little if any.

I feel confused at a lot of the discomfort with gay marriage amongst progressives. The milk-safe, cordial dislike directed at hateful people like Warren is also puzzling. When it comes from those who profess deep and profound belief in equal rights, I'm at a near total loss. This apparent contradiction is a particular one, however. It comes and goes. On issues where -everyone- agrees that equal rights are being trampled upon, you'll find such people right there with you issuing strong condemnations. In more controversial but nonetheless -very- clear-cut cases of trampled human rights, however, this unanimity largely evaporates.

Since I have little doubt that in twenty years or so gay marriage will be taken as a self-evident human right in our society, why is there so much timidity now amongst supposed equal rights advocates? In my view--to paraphrase Mill--it's that most people who see themselves as devoutly holding noble beliefs nonetheless look around for their peers and their society to show them how far it is acceptable to go in upholding those beliefs. That seems to explain the contradictory behavior in this case and many others. Gay marriage is currently seen as vaguely unacceptable by many prominent, respected people. It won't last, we'll get past it, but in the meantime it means that bigots like Warren will still get plenty of respect, and equal rights advocates will maintain a polite distance from the stance their ostensible beliefs would argue for.

Does that sound about right? Or am I missing the point? It's not limited to gay marriage or equal rights in general, naturally, but that's one instance where the contradictions are really on display. You'll get people who say they are "uncomfortable" with the idea of gay marriage and in the same sentence profess their devout support for equal rights.
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LostinVA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-20-08 07:12 PM
Response to Original message
1. K&R -- very nice post -- thanks
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Sarah Ibarruri Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-20-08 07:15 PM
Response to Original message
2. I think what happened was that right wingers took over everything in the U.S. around 1980....
We Dems lost our backbone and became AFRAID and were no longer active in anything as liberals. Many Dems even joined the right wing and began to worship Reagan and other right wingers. Then the Bible-banging evangelicals sealed the deal with the Republicans, and the entire country went right wing.

A lot of Dems, in order to appeal to the our suddenly right wing country remained registered as Democrats but held right wingish views (the DLC).

We're just now beginning to wake up from that monstrous fascist nightmare, but we're still behaving right wing and we're still afraid and scared.
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readmoreoften Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-20-08 07:17 PM
Response to Original message
3. Very thoughtful post, thanks.
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Sebastian Doyle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-20-08 07:23 PM
Response to Original message
4. Being "uncomfortable" and being for equal rights shouldn't have anything to do with each other.
As far as I'm concerned, people can be personally uncomfortable with whatever the fuck they want to be uncomfortable with. Personally, I'm uncomfortable with the idea that anybody named "Bush", "Cheney", or "Palin" is allowed to reproduce. But that doesn't mean I'm going to push for a law banning right wing idiot marriage.

Equality under the law is non negotiable, and civil rights should never be up to a vote.
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Fumesucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-20-08 07:39 PM
Response to Original message
5. You get exactly the same reaction when you talk about ending the drug war..
Lots of lip service but not that many who actually want to pressure the politicians about it. You'll get told "the time isn't right" and all the other crap that we've been reading for the last couple of days about anti gay bigotry.

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Oak2004 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-20-08 11:51 PM
Response to Reply #5
13. It's as if people have forgotten how change comes about
Change does not come about because everyone agrees they're "ready". Change comes about because a well organized group makes it so, and then the rest of society gets used to it.

If no one can remember how it once worked when we had progressive change, maybe they can take a look at how the right has managed to force through regressive change. It had nothing to do with everyone politely deciding they were "ready" for it.

I have never had much faith in Obama, I'll admit. I saw his record and his rhetoric and saw a "New Democrat" in disguise. But what I have had faith in is that Obama, by building a movement, has been inadvertently setting the stage for the demise of Republican-lite politics.

As butter is to bread is right and right-center politics to limiting democratic participation. For a very good reason: the people, given half a clue as to what is happening, will firmly oppose corporatism (and minority groups tend not to see much of a point in supporting their continued oppression). I think the Obama movement will end up working against Obama's chosen policies. In fact I think I once described him as looking like Kerensky to some future (hopefully nothing like Bolshevik!) movement. He himself may or may not be a great gift to this country (the jury is still out), but an aroused, active public is a great gift.


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NJmaverick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-20-08 10:56 PM
Response to Original message
6. Yes you are missing the point (to answer your question)
There has been a vocal group that have set about framing Obama's choice of Warren as an issue of gay rights. That is not the correct framing of the issue. Obama has been and will continue to be the strongest advocate for gay rights, the White House has ever seen. What this is about is Obama's efforts to unite the Country. Obama has believed that respect and dialog is a superior path than fighting and attacking one another. Obama is making every effort to engage people on both sides of the political spectrum. For the last 8 years all DU have been bemoaning the fact that George Bush was only the President for conservatives and Republicans. Now when there is a Democratic President there are some people that want to push the hypocritical idea that Obama should engage in the exact same behavior we all have been codemning (their excuse being that we as Democrats have odor free excrement). The double standards or do as I say not as I do mentality doesn't stop there. There are many, who are favoring the false framing, that have actually compared one's religious beliefs with the organized racism of the KKK. The in the sentence before or after they talk about how wrong and evil Warren is for comparing homosexuality with incest (the irony seems to be lost on these people).

Obama has his work cut out for him. Hatred and intolerance has become ingrained in so many people on both sides of the political sprectrum. It's only by refusing to allow it to dominate our national discourse, can we hope to see it ended and our nation once more united in common purpose and common cause. Only when our nation is united by respect and tolerance, can we move forward and enjoy the progress all progressive should be seeking.
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Toasterlad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-20-08 11:12 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. You In No Way, Shape, Or Form Answered the OP's Question.
But to answer the question you SHOULD be asking, instead of assuming based on either lack of concern or ignorance, yes, the Warren selection is very much about gay rights.

There is nothing to respect about Warren's embrace of hate, and that embrace of hate should have prevented him from being chosen for this honor. Your blind devotion to Obama notwithstanding, he is a panderer who made this decision purely for crass political reasons, and not with any intent to initiate dialog. The fact that his decision is an enormous insult to the many gay people who worked tirelessly to get him where he is is the least of his concerns.

There. Now we've BOTH made assumptions about Obama's motives. But only mine make sense.
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NJmaverick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-21-08 09:19 AM
Response to Reply #10
15. The questions- Does that sound about right? Or am I missing the point?
Yes I answered that question, you just didn't like the answer, because it was the truth
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Toasterlad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-21-08 10:42 PM
Response to Reply #15
30. No, In Point of Fact, You Did Not.
Edited on Sun Dec-21-08 10:44 PM by Toasterlad
The OP asked if he was right in assuming that human rights were a forgone conclusion, but some people felt the need to halt progress.

You went on a rant about how Obama's pick of a hateful bigot was totally justified.

FAIL.
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Fumesucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-20-08 11:42 PM
Response to Reply #6
12. The best way to unite the country is to thoroughly dis your strongest supporters
There are basically three groups of citizens left in America that can be safely disrespected, teh gay, teh Dirty Fucking Hippies (DFHs) and teh non-religious, all *real* Americans at least find these groups distasteful and many of them find them worthy of the long dirt nap.

Any politician that wishes to be thought of as "Serious" in Washington cannot be seen as catering to any of the groups I have named, do so and you will become a "Kookinich" and the pundits and all the other politicians will laugh at you.

AFAIK, no representatives of any of these groups, which together make up possibly as much as 25% of the population, is to speak at the inaugural, instead we are going to have a homophobic, sexist, anti-science, would-be theocrat bless Obama's inauguration.

This is not my original idea, Glenn Greenwald over at Salon.com has been expounding on this thesis for quite some time and I find his facts and logic compelling.



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NJmaverick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-21-08 09:18 AM
Response to Reply #12
14. You don't speak for his "strongest supporters" as I am one of them
and your statement couldn't be farther from the truth, in how I feel he has acted
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-21-08 10:06 AM
Response to Reply #6
18. SO what you're saying is that gay rights can be pushed aside for political reasons?
That "uniting the Country", which in this particular case means giving a platform to a guy who continues to liken gay marriage to incest, polygamy and paedophilia (just yesterday, after the invitation), is better than recognising the right of gay people to marry?

Warren's remarks yesterday show that this invitation haven't made him change his position at all. There's no sign of dialogue, or respect, from him so far.

Yes, I'll compare what Warren does with the KKK; there's no 'irony' there. I don't care if it's his religious belief, or a psychological problem he has. He hates gay people, and wishes to stop them getting married to whom they want. The KKK hated black people, and wished to stop them getting married to whom they wanted.

You're not just asking us to tolerate the intolerant. You're supporting the promotion of the intolerant as well. It's always a question for liberals - "how much do we tolerate intolerance?"; but liberals should never promote it, just to 'get along'. We tolerate Warren by allowing him to preach in his own church; he gets favourable tax breaks too, which he should be damn grateful for. But we don't need to hold him up as an example of what a good preacher is - which is what having him give the invocation prayer is.
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NJmaverick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-21-08 11:33 AM
Response to Reply #18
21. Hearing what you want to hear, instead of what is said
is not a good thing.

1) No matter the hyperbole, there were NO RIGHTS TAKEN AWAY, by having Warren say a prayer

2) National unity is a far reaching and important goal that helps achieve all others, including gay rights


You need to start seeing the world as is it. Fitting it to your beliefs is no better than what your typical right wingnut does.
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-21-08 12:34 PM
Response to Reply #21
26. I used your words
and you continue to say that 'national unity' is the only way of achieving human rights. That's ridiculous. You think that Warren gets to veto other people's rights - while he continues to insult gay people, everyone just has to say "oh well, Rick Warren doesn't agree, so we have to stop until he feels like changing his mind". No, that wasn't how Lincoln did things. It wasn't how Martin Luther King, or LBJ, did things. You've given up on human rights, when you claim that it's a matter of "this is how the world is", and you'll let Warren dictate that from now on. You are fitting the world to a right wingnut's beliefs.

The rights were taken away long ago. Putting Warren forward as one of the 2 preachers most admired by Obama just reinforces the existing discrimination.
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sundog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-20-08 10:58 PM
Response to Original message
7. yeap
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anonymous171 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-20-08 11:05 PM
Response to Original message
8. I support destroying the Republican party by whatever means necessary
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terrya Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-20-08 11:07 PM
Response to Original message
9. I agree 100%. Superb post. Thank you
And I see in one of the replies here exactly what you're talking about.

I should seriously leave DU. Nothing will really change around here for us.
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enigmatic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-20-08 11:15 PM
Response to Original message
11. You're my favorite poster here, man
:thumbsup:
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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-21-08 09:27 AM
Response to Original message
16. The next time I donate, I'll get a receipt, scan it, and post it here. Will people then be happy?


BTW: I'm surprised more people aren't talking about Elton John's position on "gay marriage" - he is against it.

http://www.celebitchy.com/21719/elton_john_is_against_g...

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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-21-08 09:27 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. (post it on DU, that is, not this exact thread per se...)
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Zuiderelle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-21-08 11:23 AM
Response to Reply #16
19. Why would anyone care what Elton John thinks about gay marriage?
I don't give a damn if a rich British celebrity doesn't care about my equality.

Oh and, no a receipt for a donation towards a cause you don't actually believe in enough to stand behind 100%, won't prove anything.
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-21-08 11:44 AM
Response to Reply #16
24. Do you think the liklihood that no one would ever marry you has jaundiced your perspective
on marriage?
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Zuiderelle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-21-08 11:23 AM
Response to Original message
20. Recommended! Great post.
:thumbsup:
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JustAnotherGen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-21-08 11:35 AM
Response to Original message
22. This is an excellent post
K/R . . . I agree on the 20 years - but hope it doesn't take that long. My parents met in 67 and got married in 1969. Had they met in 65 - and gotten married two years later - they wouldn't have been ABLE to get married or have their marriage recognized in the lower than Mason Dixon states. :hug: Time is of the essence when life is short and people are in love. :-)
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SammyWinstonJack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-21-08 11:37 AM
Response to Original message
23. K&R!
:thumbsup:
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-21-08 11:45 AM
Response to Original message
25. For many - maybe most - active DUers, civil rights is now considered a bonus rather than a core
commitment.
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PurityOfEssence Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-21-08 12:36 PM
Response to Original message
27. Religion is the enemy of the mind
Sanctified extreme irrationality has a hefty price, and it reflects itself in many ways.

Religion is a shortcut in every way, and that is the problem here. There is very little resistance to the acceptance of non-heterosexual orientations other than from the religion zone, and the "specialness" that religion claims amplifies the noise and certainty.

There is a reason why our founders prized secularism in government: any sanctification of belief (not a particular belief, but belief itself) creates an unassailable aristocracy that needn't ever justify its demands. This is absolutely anti-democratic, and much as sucking up to the believers is a handy shortcut to cleave off a big slab of supporters, IT HAS A PRICE.

There is a societal acceptance of religion that generally identifies it as a "good" thing. I wholly disagree. Christianity especially is a very dangerous operation: it's essentially a selfish death cult. Strip all of the alleged god's demands down to the barest essentials, and it comes to this: save your own ass and suck up to me. It's an imperial slave system that demands fealty. Mercifully, there is at least a concept of secularism in there, with the giving to Caesar admonition, but other religions, especially Islam, don't give ANY check to this unquestionable power.

This is, of course, a digression from your point about the toleration of progressives, but the prejudice against homosexuality stems from this godcrap. Ask yourself this: have you encountered ANY progressives who are fellow travelers with the continued persecution of non-heterosexuals who aren't all hamstrung with religion or its residual effects?

Religion doesn't play fair. It demands "specialness". It is predatory, domineering, aggressive, inherently conservative, self-serving and rapacious. Why people consider this scourge a blessing is mystifying. Sure, it provides comfort to the fearful and downtrodden, but the insanity it promotes and fosters is a heavy price even for them.

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DeSwiss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-21-08 12:51 PM
Response to Original message
28. Excellent points!!!
Also from Mills:

    From: On Liberty "The Tyranny of the Majority"

    "Like other tyrannies, the tyranny of the majority was at first, and is still vulgarly, held in dread, chiefly as operating through the acts of the public authorities. But reflecting persons perceived that when society is itself the tyrant society collectively, over the separate individuals who compose itits means of tyrannizing are not restricted to the acts which it may do by the hands of its political functionaries.

    Society can and does execute its own mandates: and if it issues wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates at all in things with which it ought not to meddle, it practices a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression, since, though not usually upheld by such extreme penalties, it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself.

    Protection, therefore, against the tyranny of the magistrate is not enough; there needs protection also against the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling; against the tendency of society to impose, by other means than civil penalties, its own ideas and practices as rules of conduct on those who dissent from them; to fetter the development, and, if possible, prevent the formation, of any individuality not in harmony with its ways, and compel all characters to fashion themselves upon the model of its own.

    There is a limit to the legitimate interference of collective opinion with individual independence; and to find that limit, and maintain it against encroachment, is as indispensable to a good condition of human affairs, as protection against political despotism. But though this proposition is not likely to be contested in general terms, the practical question, where to place the limithow to make the fitting adjustment between individual independence and social controlis a subject on which nearly everything remains to be done. All that makes existence valuable to any one, depends on the enforcement of restraints upon the actions of other people."

    ~ John Stuart Mill


- K&R!!!
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-21-08 12:52 PM
Response to Original message
29. ERA? I agree with your subject, but doubt your assurance that
"in twenty years or so gay marriage will be taken as a self-evident human right in our society".

It has been 30 years since the ERA was proposed and we still do not recognize over half the population as equal people.

The lesson we seem determined to ignore is that change does not happen through compromise. It comes when advocates draw the line, period.



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Mari333 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-21-08 10:49 PM
Response to Original message
31. they already have their civil rights, why worry about someone elses?
I hear the same thing when I speak out against sending troops to the wars. It doesnt personally affect some people, they have no loved ones in the service, so they just warmonger on the keyboard. doesnt bother them whose kids end up over there, it isnt their kids or them.
so they dont care about gay folks having the same rights as they do because it doesnt affect them personally. they already have 1049 more benefits from legal marriage, and they arent beaten up or killed for being gay, so they just dont care.
and I also have a sneaking suspicion theres a little fearful homophobia in there that they may not want to acknowledge to themselves.
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EstimatedProphet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-22-08 08:51 AM
Response to Original message
32. Unless all of us are equal, none of us are equal.
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