Monday, November 10, 2008

Forward Thinking

Of the GLB's (and T's) that are starting to blog about the post-Prop 8 world, there is a small but growing group of individuals that have come to the same conclusion, apparently independent of each other. These are D.C. lawyers and the like, political wonks, people that dig into political strategy for fun and have been blogging quietly in their own arenas.

The religious conservatives are going to keep their momentum going, they are going to build on the recent anti-gay ballot victories at the state level. Their plan is to move from state to state focusing their attention on enacting "marriage sanctity" laws in each state. They will be backed by large groups such as the Catholic Church, Evangelicals and the Mormons. And four or eight years from now, Republican neocons will use that platform to their own end as well.

They've shown us how they intend to organize and operate; that was their first mistake. Their second mistake is the decision to wage these state level battles to oppress gays. Once their political machine gets moving in a predetermined direction, it will be hard to turn. Lucky for us, they have already laid the aim and groundwork for their push. While they are focused on state level anti-gay marriage resolutions, we need to focus on the bigger prize. They are still thinking in Republican terms of States Rights over Federal, but this is a new era.

It is time to build the push for a fully inclusive ENDA.

We need to start rebuilding for a fully inclusive ENDA. Start making strong alliances, start reaching out, start laying the bare strategic groundwork for the next battle a year or so from now. Let the lawyers continue to fight to overturn Prop 8, it was in some respects a red herring primarily designed to build and test a religion-based political machine, but it did serve (hopefully) as a fertile source of lessons learned and an insight as to how we need to fight the upcoming fight for our rights.

Read the religious and neocon blogs daily. Get to know who we are up against. Start talking to and reaching out to those religious nuts you usually avoid or worse still, ridicule for their beliefs. They are the ones that will eventually need to be educated and turned, in a manner that does not put them on the defensive. Don't try to change their point of view just yet; instead learn why they think the way they do. Get inside their heads. I guarantee you'll find that their world view is *not* the mirror image of ours. Rather, it is a completely different view altogether and one that strongly affects their motivation to act. Think of why they are called Jesus' Flock and why wear that label as a matter of pride, wherein many of us would see it as mocking criticism to be called "sheep". Start thinking in terms of "group unity" and "the good of society overriding personal liberty". That is where the next battle for rights will be waged, not in the esoteric field of Constitutional Rights or Personal Liberty.

ENDA will form the foundation for our battles that lie ahead. Now is the time to build our push for Federal level legislation, while Democrats are in control. In the end, both the religious groups and we will have won our chosen battles. However, once ENDA is enacted, Federal civil unions will have something to build upon and at that point the battle over the "sanctity of marriage" will be moot and hopefully even forgotten. We will have overcome the bigotry and the hatred, we will have spoken to people's hearts in ways they understand. We will have earned our equality.

(Note: Yes, I wrote, "earned our equality". Think Barney Frank, think Joe-I'm-A Good Christian-Six Pack; to them rights are not inalienable and they are not imbued simply by Creation, they are earned by trust and union with those like yourself. It's an important distinction and one we need to learn to apply.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's important to know who your opponents are. It's very important to understand how they think. However, I doubt very seriously that you will change how a religious fanatic thinks. Once you understand how they think, you will see it isn't based in reality. How can you have dialogue with someone who is irrational? I think it's great if you can change one of these individuals' way of thinking. However, I feel that it isn't worth the high cost of further harm to us. I think the only way to solve the problem of religious fanactics taking away our rights is through the legal/financial channel. They have to be hit where it hurts most - the wallet. Do not support any individual or business who is for taking away LGBTIAQ rights. BTW - there is nothing esoteric about the Constitution. It protects us through the 14th amendment. Please become familiar with the Constitution.