blowfishhootie wrote:I did not vote for Obama in either election, and I never considered doing so. He's a crook and a coward, just like most of the rest of Washington. His cowardly position on gay equality - and his convenient revelation that he was wrong only once it became clear that the right side of history was going to, predictably, prevail - was only one of many, many reasons Obama is not a good president.
I respect this view (well, except for its actual consequences), but I also think the "What about Obama?" argument can be countered in another direction. Our system ensures that ultimately, only one of two people can be US President. Hence, to withdraw support from someone for not being close enough to your side of the spectrum is to help the other side that much more. The Eich thing would only be comparable if, for some reason, the only other realistically employable CEO was the actual head of the Family Research Council or something.
Also, I have some sympathy for Obama's pre-"evolved" views insofar as I don't think they were very genuine, just a matter of his trying to get elected. When it comes to those sorts of situations, pure principles can only make things worse (see: the 2000 election and "Gore is just like Bush!"). As for Eich, it's not like he had to make that donation or else lose prestige in the tech world; they're the real him, to the core.
zmic wrote:25 years ago gay marriage wasn't even an issue. The progress that's been made is just remarkable. You just cannot expect the whole world to come around that quickly.
I think that if we limited ourselves to acting against people only if their bigotry is not "understandable" (what they grew up with, what their culture believes in, not held obstinately while the world around them changes), then we make no progress. In fact, I think we now live in a world where everyone agrees that Donald Sterling is wrong precisely because, back when such views would be less controversial, someone held the people with such views to what we might call "modern" standards - campaigned against those people, took away their megaphones and soapboxes. If that hadn't happened, then we would all have grown up hearing those megaphones, and the culture's reaction to Sterling would be more along the lines of "Well he has a point, doesn't he?"
I myself probably have views that are sexist, racist, etc. I want to be called out on them when those views emerge.
The problem with the bigoted worldviews is that they're the air we breathe, and you can't "blame" people for breathing. So do you do nothing, or do you change the air, even if that means some people spend a few moments gasping? And you can't change it gradually because we're not wholly in chareg of the air and there are a lot of people who will do what they can to keep it the way it is.
Anyway, I agree that the progress on gay rights has been surprisingly rapid compared to other movements. But this fact can be turned around (and because we're talking about progress towards a better world, I think it should be): The biggest successes in women's rights and African-American rights took way too long
, and there's still a long way to go. If I were spontaneously sent back in time to the 1950s, I would absolutely "expect" everyone to treat people equally, in all contexts. If I were joined by enough other people, we could even help things happen a little faster this time around, and I wouldn't shed any tears for the people getting the proverbial band aids ripped off.
DeeperThought wrote:Does anyone remember McCarthyism?
The left was constantly on about blacklisting where people in Hollywood couldn't
work because of their membership in the communist party or their communist
I was wondering when this would come up. There's a superficial resemblance, but the reality is that these are totally incomparable.
To begin with, the government, with its full legal force, was directly involved in the blacklisting: both the House, with its un-American Activities Committee, and the Senate, with McCarthy in the lead. It wasn't a matter of actors, writers, and directors being unable to find work because private organizations and individuals boycotted them. So right off the bat the whole comparison falls apart. I'm not aware of any House Anti-Homosexual Activities Committee, and if one ever arose (which will never, ever happen) I would oppose it.
Secondly, what made the Red Scare so insidious is that it wasn't even about exposing actual communists and stopping there. It was about the suspicion of secretly held views that "logically" extended from their other positions, rather like "Obama is a secret Muslim-terrorist-sympathizer". Conversely, no one cares if you're "secretly" a homophobe -- indeed, the whole point of these brouhahas is to make homophobia something shameful enough to be kept to oneself.
During McCarthyism, people were blacklisted solely for refusing to answer questions, and could escape suspicion by naming more names, who in turn had to either confess or name names, etc. I don't see anyone doing that today, either conservative or liberal.
If the whole of the Red Scare was that leftists couldn't sell their scripts to studios because some increasingly-conservative groups always lobbied and boycotted them, it wouldn't be a big deal. But for the two reasons I mentioned (among others) it was.
So here's how my own thoughts on this Eich stuff coalesce: I think that boycotting-type actions, even when they "single out" someone, are generally acceptable tactics so long as the someone in question is a public figure who won't end up on the streets if they lose their job. I think that if the government is involved that crosses a line, as everyone else seems to agree.
And I think that "gotchas" along the lines of "But what if a CEO loses their job for a pro-
equality position?" are silly, because I acknowledge that, too. I also support voting as a civic action, and support the right of anyone to vote for anyone, but that doesn't mean I approve of every single vote ever cast, which would be self-contradictory. You can't "gotcha" me with "But what if someone voted against
your candidate? How would you feel about this voting thing then
the right of regressives to use these same tactics against people whose views they despise, just as they already have been doing for a long time. I just don't approve
, in the same way that I don't approve of their votes for Republicans. Everyone ought to stop opposing civil rights, as soon as possible. Starting now would be nice, if they don't have anything going on today.