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What are they thinking?

When I shared this story a friend commented that they didn't understand the thought process behind this letter.

The thought process behind this letter doesn't seem all that opaque to me.

I mean, we queer folks -- in part by existing, but certainly by insisting on our fundamental equality -- we challenge the Proper Order of Things on which some people have structured their moral understanding of the world.

If it turns out that we're just as good as they are, that we're just as moral and decent and worthy of love as they are, that God values us just as much as them, that our families are just as much the core of society as theirs... well, if they accept that, then on what basis can they defend any other piece of the Proper Order of Things? It's all one tight self-reinforcing structure.

What can one do with such a challenge but fight it or give in to it?

It was easier once. They didn't have to fight it, really, any more than they had to fight foreign enemies. They could rely on institutions to do it for them, and just support the institutions, and it was as if they were doing it themselves.

Then the world went crazy, what with the Liberals twisting everything around and recasting the Proper Order of Things as some kind of enemy, and suddenly they were fighting a guerrilla war in their own churches, their own schools, their own towns. Maybe even their own families.

So all of a sudden it was up to them to fight it.

Can you imagine? Having your homeland invaded and occupied by the enemy like that? Discovering the enemy were among you all along?

Maybe they stood up and fought that, and have the battle-scars that come with that. More likely they didn't... they hid, kept their mouths shut, allowed us to desecrate the Temple with our sex and our marriages and our inappropriateness, and felt bad about not fighting back.

Except now they have a champion. Not just Trump, but the millions of real true Americans who stood up and fought for him. So now they can fight back against our incursion, they can defeat us and take America back, reinstall the Proper Order of Things... and they can do so the way they prefer, in safety and comfort and secrecy, without personal risk.

(shrug) So, no, the thought process doesn't seem strange to me. I've been their enemy all my life.

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Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
joshwriting
Feb. 12th, 2017 10:47 pm (UTC)
But don't take it personally.
dpolicar
Feb. 12th, 2017 11:05 pm (UTC)
I try not to.
natcase701
Feb. 13th, 2017 12:38 am (UTC)
There's enemies and there's enemies.
That "don't take it personally" thing... I'm guessing a lot of the time it's an excuse to get the speaker not to feel bad about being evil, or a party to evil. But there's this bigger thing if you actually look closer at it. Because there is really a difference in shape between "You personally fucked me over, you personally (or impersonally) hurt my friend or my family. And now you are not just anything: you are my friend, because I touched the wound you caused, and I do not forget" and "I am part of this group, and loyal to that group. It gives me a sense of self and of meaning, and I am not going to drop that easily. So, I don't like being mean, but the group (or the leadership of that group, to whom I owe a great deal) hate you, and so I hate you. So... it's nothing personal..."
The objects of the two enmities end up just as dead, but if you want to prevent corpses, the approach to each (it seems to me) is quite different.
dpolicar
Feb. 13th, 2017 01:59 am (UTC)
Re: There's enemies and there's enemies.
What's the approach to each that prevents corpses?
natcase701
Feb. 13th, 2017 03:40 am (UTC)
Re: There's enemies and there's enemies.
I really mucked up that first "quote" instance I see now. Oh well.
If it's one person, you can potentially use the network of indivuduals—often the declared enemy has a network of friends who do not actually want more blood spilt. And if there is a kind of cluster of allied murderous folk, one can (in normal times) appeal to rule of law. If it's a nation allied against you, escape, disguise, and other under-the-radar work can work. Depending on the kind of loyalty they declared enemy has sworn, you might be able to appeal to a higher sense of decency and justice, or work to change the point of view of the powerful declarer of fatwas and such.
I guess I mean that the dynamic of having a nation or similar very large enemy against you, as opposed to someone the same size as you, changes how you want to stand up. Asymmetric warfare, or asymmetric non-violent work...
rmd
Feb. 13th, 2017 02:50 am (UTC)
Pity the poor letter-writer, who had to suffer for 8 years under the cruel yoke of the Obama administration, where people were given insurance and people were finally allowed marry their long-term partners. Enduring the horrible discrimination - white cis het folks have been the true victims!

I don't know how we prevent corpses, but I think "make bigots ashamed again" is a good place to start.
dpolicar
Feb. 13th, 2017 03:21 am (UTC)
(nods) I don't know if it prevents corpses, but it seems worth doing regardless.
nuclearpolymer
Feb. 13th, 2017 02:55 am (UTC)
I guess I find leaving people that kind of note puzzling, because although I have enemies, and although I can probably identify them sometimes by their bumper stickers, I can't imagine leaving a note on their car about how much I hate them or how much they're wrong. If I am in a position of relative power, I don't really have any urge to try to make someone on the losing side feel worse with a little note. If I am in a position of relative powerlessness, I don't feel like striking at someone on the winning side with a car note would make me feel better. So that is the part of the thought chain that puzzles me.

But I guess I could easily imagine making voodoo dolls and burning them, either literally or figuratively, and probably most folks would find that type of action against enemies rather puzzling and pointless.
dpolicar
Feb. 13th, 2017 03:26 am (UTC)
(nods) Yeah, we all have our preferred engagement styles. I understand the desire to engage by making the enemy feel bad.
nuclearpolymer
Feb. 14th, 2017 12:06 am (UTC)
Fascinating. I think it's not that I wouldn't want to make enemies feel bad, so much as it doesn't occur to me that I necessarily have that capability through that method. Now I'm wondering this reflects that I deep down believe more in the likelihood that I can make someone suffer through thinking bad thoughts about them versus the likelihood of making them feel bad through an actual communication. I almost certainly overestimate my ability to magically zap people karmically and underestimate by ability to cause pain through words, despite all actual evidence. (But sorry, this is all a total tangent from your actual topic of discussion...)
dpolicar
Feb. 14th, 2017 12:10 am (UTC)
No need for apology, it's an interesting tangent.

Yeah, I think I agree with your analysis here.

When I want to make people feel bad, or good, or really feel anything at all, I use words, not magic.

Not to dismiss magic here; it's just not my weapon of choice.
ethelmay
Feb. 13th, 2017 03:48 am (UTC)
I think the only time I have ever left a nasty note on a car was when someone parked their shiny red sports car across *TWO* handicapped spots.
dpolicar
Feb. 13th, 2017 04:23 am (UTC)
Someone left a really condescending note on my car once about how I was a bad person but it was OK, I probably had good qualities that didn't extend to my parking.

It really puzzled me, in that I had no idea what it was about my parking they were objecting to.

(shrug)
cdk
Feb. 13th, 2017 01:58 pm (UTC)
I've definitely felt the urge to leave an unkind note on cars that display certain bumper stickers that I feel are self-contained logical fallacies, and which also happen to express political viewpoints I disagree with. It's similar to the feeling I get when I see a posting online that I disagree with, and comments are disabled.
dpolicar
Feb. 13th, 2017 02:36 pm (UTC)
(nods) Right, this. And, indeed, the feeling I sometimes get when I see a posting online that I disagree with and comments are enabled.
livejournal
Feb. 13th, 2017 03:36 am (UTC)
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