Thoughts on the culture war
The culture war is very much alive in Sterling Heights. Apparently some perceive the America of the 1940s to be the good old days. Blacks were subservient. Women stayed home, raised children, and cooked dinner. Gays and lesbians were deeply in the closet. Schools, buses and lunch counters were segregated. I believe that a lot of the resistance we’ve seen to this ordinance has been the product of people who for some reason yearn to return to days like those.
Unfortunately for them, the last 70 years did, in fact, happen. During these past 70 years we have moved more toward the freedom the Framers envisioned than we ever had as a nation up until that point. It is a painful process, and there are setbacks along the way. But I will remind you that the Revolutionary War was fought with only 30% approval by the public, and it was still the right thing to do. We have a republic because the costs of a pure democracy are too high, and the tyranny of the majority should not and will not be allowed to destroy the lives of the minority.
On display for all of the world to see last night were people representing the worst side of Sterling Heights politics. The Christian culture warriors were determined that no matter what, they would not allow the LGBTs to be recognized as equal members of our society. The sophists were there claiming their only reason for organizing the petition drive was “to let the people decide” whether 2% of the population should be protected from discrimination by the other 98%. Washed up former politicians sought to avenge years-old disputes by making false accusations against current city officials. And future politicians with poor critical thinking and English speaking skills made their best attempt to seem potentially electable, or at least somewhat relevant.
Such is the plight of a free society attempting to find the path to freedom through the darkness of ignorance. Do not despair. The LGBT community will become a protected class in Sterling Heights.
A few points of order of my own from last night:
- If you want to avoid being compared to ISIS, stop behaving like ISIS. You don’t get a pass for touting your religion’s form of bigotry just because people of your religious persuasion wear crucifixes and go to church on Christmas. If you want to oppress people, find a place like Syria and do it there. Here in America, the operative term is “liberty and justice FOR ALL.” You may not be beheading anyone, but that’s really the only difference. Your goals and intentions are the same as those of the Muslim Caliphate: to oppress any form of thought or expression that does not align with your own. Yes, I am equating you with terrorists. Deal with it.
- If you are capable of standing up and speaking on an issue, it is generally considered to be good form to actually know what’s being discussed. The City Council does nothing in a vacuum. Every bit of information the council members use to prepare themselves before the meeting is publicly viewable on the city’s website in the form of something called an ‘e-packet’. The e-packets are available on the Friday morning proceeding a regularly scheduled meeting here. So if you found yourself feeling a little foolish asking basic questions about what was being discussed, perhaps you could save us all the trouble by reading up ahead of time. Get somebody to read it to you and explain it if you’re one of the aforementioned washed-up politicians.
- There are literally thousands of words accepted as law in Sterling Heights which have been adopted over its 46-year history. Very few of them had to meet with your approval beforehand, and equally few of them will have to in the future. Not everything the council does will be spoon fed to you with coffee and cookies at a symposium. If you want to know what’s going on in town, pay attention. Claims that the anti-LGBT ordinance was somehow sprung on an unsuspecting public only go to show the public’s relative ignorance of the political process, not the sneakiness of the government body.
- The Mayor, Mayor Pro-Tem and Members of Council are all people who a.) have a formal title which you should use to address them in a public meeting, b.) have been placed into office by the votes of thousands of people, many of whom do not show up for council meetings, and c.) all are individuals with their own thoughts, aspirations, life experiences, and Constitutional guarantees. They are there because they were put there via a Democratic process, but they are not obliged to apportion their support on the various issues according to polling data, or your perceptions of what the polling data would be if it in fact existed. They are not obliged to agree with you no matter how many you number. They’re not puppets. And their right to speak, to protest and to act in good conscience is not abridged by the fact that they’re your elected representative. If you don’t want them carrying signs and calling you a bigot, don’t act like one. Oh, and by the way, protesting bigotry is not “harassment” to the bigoted. Put your big girl pants on and accept the fact that what you were doing in front of the library there was going to be controversial.
- Finally, I am pleased that you read my blog. I am even more pleased if you opposed this ordinance and something I said about that upset you. If you would like to cite something I’ve said in a public forum, please be my guest, but please take the time to learn to pronounce my name correctly. My first name is “Geoff”, but it’s pronounced “Jeff”. The last name is “Gariepy”, which rhymes with “therapy”. Thanks.