News’ View: Picking the right fight

The day before yesterday, Carl Paladino — New York’s Republican, Tea-Party-endorsed gubernatorial — gave a group of Hasidic Jews a homophobic earful in Brooklyn. Being gay is “not the example that we should be showing our children,” he declared. “And I don’t want them to be brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid or successful option. It isn’t.” In the mind of a man who could run New York state, “there is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual.”

These remarks would disgust us in any context. But given that this past month has seen six young men who had been tortured by anti-gay bullying take their lives, our patience is at a low. Perhaps Paladino forgot that last Sunday, just a few miles from where he boasted about avoiding New York City’s gay pride parade, three young men were abducted, tortured and sodomized in the Bronx — allegedly for being gay.

These tragedies and jibes should only embolden our political resolve, especially after yesterday’s observance of National Coming Out Day. We are a community that, by and large, supports marriage equality and opposes the military’s discriminatory Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. We at the News agree.

But as we condemn homophobic extremism, we must distinguish our villains from our opponents. It rightly worries us that the same essential anti-gay sentiment can inspire both the schoolyard bully and the violent assailant. But we must be careful not to conflate our political adversaries with the inherently intolerant perpetrators of the attacks, or the mouthpieces of hate.

From the schoolyard taunt to the hate crime, anti-gay action is symptomatic of a broader public discomfort with homosexuality that, fortunately, seldom touches Yale’s campus. We boast a healthy and active gay community and a relatively welcoming environment for those ready to come out as LGBTQ. But being surrounded by so many who agree with us has made it harder for us to understand all the rest who do not. As we angrily condemn homophobia in all forms, we must not overstep by applying the label to fellow citizens of different political stripes.

Many of these opponents are rarely given voice on this campus. So we are quick to stereotype them as redneck homophobes, or to condescendingly attribute their arguments to ignorance or closed-mindedness. This will not ultimately convince anyone, nor will it stand.

Stung by recent tragedies, we are tempted to grow angry and militant: to close debate. But the person who opposes gay marriage for religious reasons does not merit our hatred. Neither does the traditionalist who wants to keep marriage’s definition constant. They, and the politicians that represent them, are wrong; but they are not villains.

When it comes to gay rights, from marriage to the military, many of us are not willing to compromise. But this does not mean we are not ready to discuss. To give ourselves over to anger, and conflate the other side of the aisle with abusers, attackers and Paladinos is to pick entirely the wrong fight. With a levelheaded response, we can and will move forward from this month’s tragedies, emboldened and impassioned, ready to confront and convince the opposition. But if we fight vitriol with vitriol, tragedy with misdirected name-calling, we will get nowhere.

Comments

  • theantiyale

    [link text][1]

    Yale has something to be proud of in exposing anti-gay witch-hunts, and the Paladino editorial here and reports in *The New York Times* yesterday remind me that Yale has never fully appreciated its sacrificial role in this process, probably because they were dragged kicking and screaming on to *60 Minutes* against their will in exposing the witch hunt — a reluctant sacrifice, but a sacrifice none the less.

    Do not forget that in 1981-84 ours was a nation which tried to blame gays for the disease AIDS until that *60 Minutes* piece in 1984 (centering on a New Haven prostitute who had passed AIDS on to her infant in the womb and whose infant was a permanent patient at Yale-New Haven Hospital), uncovered the fact as INDISPUTABLE that AIDS is equally a heterosexual and homosexual disease.

    Something small, ugly, and frightened in human nature always needs someone else to PUT DOWN: Jews; blacks; Irish; Catholics; women; gays.

    Four several hundred years the MO (Major Oppressor) seems to have been white males and Paladino is simply the latest in that line, as this opinion piece ably reveals.

    Time to out the Oppressor.

    PK

    [1]: http://theantiyale.blogspot.com “Dartmouth and Yale”

  • RexMottram08

    Gay brownshirts on the march again…

  • Peachy Keane

    Whatever bond I had with The Yale Daily News posting board after two full years and the beginning of this third academic year of posts, ended suddenly with the last word of my final post: [EXORCISM][1] (9/21/10).

    My “abilities” are better utilized elsewhere.

    I may have stopped following The Yale Daily News, but I wish Yale, Yale students, and New Haven well.

    Paul. D. Keane (M. Div. ’80)

    The Anti-Yale

    Posted by PAUL D. KEANE at 11:30 PM Sunday, September 26, 2010
    [http://theantiyale.blogspot.com/2010/09/posting-bond.html][2]

    PS If you don’t like my posting , skip it. No one forces your eyes past the first word except yourself and your own *control-freak* desire to be Super-monitor. Until **your** Yale/New Haven resume exceeds *mine*, kindly refrain from suggesting I am a New Haven transient who brings nothing to the table of free speech.

    I consider these posts an **EXORCISM**.

    Paul D, Keane

    – M.Div. ’80
    – M.A. (Middelbury ’97)
    – M.Ed. (Kent State ’72)
    – B.A. (Ithaca College ’68)
    – Diploma (Hamden High ’64)

    [1]: http://theantiyale.blogspot.com/2010/09/i-dare-yale-to-censor-me.html
    [2]: http://theantiyale.blogspot.com/2010/09/posting-bond.html

  • YaleMom

    Dear Professor Keane:

    Why are you the Anti-Yale? I don’t think President Levin is the Major Oppressor. Not all white men are bad. My hubby, for instance, is a real nice fella. I think Gourmet Heaven is real oppressor! That’s price gouging for goodness sake!

  • theantiyale

    SUGGEST REMOVAL

    Editor YDN:

    The poster “Peachy Keane” is not me. Although s/he uses a letter I posted a week or so ago on another *YDN* article, s/he adds my high school diploma (wrong year: ’63) . I consider this mischief since it is not clealry stated who the poster is (or IS NOT, in this case) and since my name is signed to it.
    If this mischief is going to continue, I will seek a remedy from *YDN.*

    Paul Keane
    M. Div. ’80

  • Peachy Keane

    I wrote a very funny very cutting riposte, but Jesus told me not to post it.

  • theantiyale

    Dear Yale Mom,

    The answer is in my blog http://theantiyale.blogspot.com
    [link text][1]

    Best,

    PS Not a “professor”.

    [1]: http://theantiyale.blogspot.com “The Anti-Yale”

  • YaleMom

    With all due respect to a man of the cloth, Father Keane, I don’t think you should be teaching at Yale if you’re not a professor!

  • penny_lane

    YaleMom:

    Lots of people teach at Yale who aren’t professors. They’re often called “lecturers,” “tutors,” or “teaching fellows.” Your daughter learns from such folks every day.

    Also, I don’t believe Mr. Keane teaches at Yale.

  • theantiyale

    Dear Yale Mom:

    Neither a professor, nor a man of the cloth, nor a Father: Just a plain old Vermonter with a few academic initials after my name who runs a blog called *The Anti-Yale*. Judge me not on names you want to give me, but on my addresses (found on the blog)

    PK

  • Peachy Keane

    I *knew* PK was just goint to get exercised, not exorcised
    it’s a woman’s privilege to change her mind

  • RexMottram08

    PK = delusions of grandeur

  • theantiyale

    **PK = Delusions of Grandeur + Experience of Evanescence = Serenity**

    [link text][1]

    [1]: http://thantiyale.blogspot.com

  • FailBoat

    Jesus H, everyone. When will you realize that YaleMom is a hilarious troll and not a real Yale Mom?

  • Ashley

    @Failboat,
    Much as I appreciate your efforts to save my reputation by convincing everyone that my mom’s ydn posts can’t be real, rest assured, YaleMom is no troll. This isn’t middle school anymore; I’m a big girl, and I can deal with the embarrassment. And yes, I love her anyway.

  • RexMottram08

    best troll everrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

  • The Anti-Yale

    I think it adds flavor to the soup to have a parent hovering over it and throwing in some pepper every once in a while. No need for Ashley to be one bit embarrassed.
    PK