Last night, the Professor and I were talking about gay marriage, which lead to a discussion of the efficacy of straight people not getting married because gay people can’t.
I think my position on gay marriage ought to be clear, but in case it isn’t, here it is. I don’t think the State ought to be getting involved in preferential treatment of any consensual sexual arrangements between adults. I don’t think they ought to sanction any marriages–leave them to religions to define them as they see fit and stay the fuck out of it–BUT, if we’re going to continue to have state sanctioned marriages, and it appears that we are, then we ought not to privilege some consensual sexual arrangements between adults and not others.
Marriage for everyone who wants it, and wedding cake for their guests!
But there are some straight people who refuse to get married because gay people can’t and some gay people who feel that straight people ought to refrain from getting married out of solidarity with gay people.
My question is, is that effective, in any way?
And I think, clearly, the answer is “no.”
The answer is no for two reasons. One is because of a common liberal mistake*.
1. Liberals spend a lot of time figuring out what our position is in the world and trying to be aware of the ways in which we benefit from the oppression of others. You see, we mistakenly believe that, armed with this knowledge, we can somehow get outside the system, that we can untangle ourselves from our privilege, and thus not be implicated in a system we see as inherently unfair. Of course, there is no way to not be implicated. We are born with debts and obligations.
But the mistake is greatly compounded by the mistaken belief that, if we give up our own privileged position (if there really is some way to do that), under privileged people can take that space.
Which leads us to number 2.
2. Liberals make shitty hostages.
Let’s stick with gay marriage. I could decide right now to never get married until gay people can get married. So what? James Dobson doesn’t want to marry me. It’s not like I can say “Uncle Sam, you’re getting none of this sweet, sweet pussy until you let my friends get married” (assuming I’m holding out on Uncle Sam until our wedding night, which, frankly, considering how much I get drunk and flash my tits and make out with whoever’s near me, is just not possible).
My not getting married only matters in terms of the “statement” it makes to gay people. It doesn’t do anything to actually help gay people achieve what ought to be a basic right, to marry whoever the fuck you want.
It’s like this. Say someone is giving out free ice cream, but only to people with wonderfully curly hair. Does it hurt that person if I don’t take the ice cream out of solidarity with straight haired people? No, it doesn’t affect the ice cream man negatively at all AND it means that I can’t have ice cream.
Isn’t it obviously better to work to get everyone ice cream?
*Can we switch tracks here slightly to talk about another misguided liberal strategy? The protesting outside of the 21st Avenue KFC. This is the only KFC I’ve seen people protesting outside of in Nashville and I think it’s because it’s both so close to Belmont and Vanderbilt; they can get a lot of do-gooders out on a Saturday.
But the problem with this strategy–of driving down sales at only one KFC–is that it doesn’t send the message of “stop abusing chickens or we’ll run you into the ground” to the corporate headquarters. It sends the message that this particular store doesn’t make a whole lot of money on Saturdays, which could result in the owner losing the store or the store closing.
This has no effect on the chickens, but it sure as hell has an effect on the people who work at that KFC.
Why is chicken welfare more important than the welfare of these humans who really need money or they wouldn’t be working that shitty job in the first place?