Sunday, April 12, 2009

Maggie Gallagher is a Caricature

I know that I said that I didn't want to talk about current events or politics in this blog and I'm still not going to. But just to give you, the reader (assuming I have any), some background as to who Maggie Gallagher is, she is an anti-gay activist. Well, she would never admit to that title but that is what she is. Why do I say that? Because she is currently President of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) which is an organization formed for the sole purpose of lobbying to prevent same-sex couples from having marriage rights. But this isn't about that.

Recently she was on the MSNBC program Hardball, "debating" with HRC's Joe Solmonese. See for yourself: (as long as the video continues to exist)

For me, watching that was frustrating. Maggie outright lied and contradicted herself but neither of them could call her out on it because she would just talk over them. There are words for that. Sidetrack, deflect, avoid...

But then I'm not sure I'm willing to accept that Maggie is a conscious liar though. She is so proud and lost in her beliefs that she appears to be lying when in reality she is just ignorant and damn proud of it.

I say that because I was accused of being a liar the other day. The reality was I was just stating my belief in something that was a lie. As much as it hurts to hear the other person call me a liar, I realized that him calling me a liar hurt worse to my pride than if I was just told that I was misinformed. I felt like I was being attacked rather than just schooled. I honestly didn't know I was believing a lie.

What I've observed over the years is that when people hold conflicting beliefs, most commonly encouraged by religious or political dogma, the amount of mental gymnastics that a person must perform to link the conflict into something that sounds rational and coherent, gives one a sense of pride for the effort involved. It's as if we believe we are some intellectual powerhouse and we can make perfect sense of the "tough issues". Once we've done that our belief becomes an infallible fact.

I once held a great personal satisfaction that I was able to think I truly understood how my sexuality wasn't gay, despite the evidence to the contrary. Going back to my old journals from 2004, (I avoided the subject before then) I am constantly surprised at the contradictions I would write, many times in the same sentence. I remember my state of mind when I wrote them too. I was consciously denying my reality so that a religious belief could fit and I felt a strange piousness in my heart because of that. Then, I would state the reality with a justification as to how I was a special case and then feel justified that I was on the right path. I was essentially creating deeper layers of lies by patching the inconsistencies with lies.

Looking back I can see the insanity. I was not rational even though I had convinced myself that I was. So, even though my convictions were based on lies, I was not lying because I didn't believe they were lies. But when I state my belief I am lying. But I'm not lying because I believe it to be this way...more mental gymnastics.

It comes down to this for me: when my beliefs are challenged am I going to lie to cover up the contradictions or am I going to acknowledge them and admit that I'm not properly educated on all of the facts? Well, it depends on my mood some days but also depends on how hard I worked to form the belief in the first place. The stupid belief I was called on the other day was not something I spent my lifetime trying to form. It was easy to let it go. But, when it comes to beliefs that I've spent years forming, I'm insanely protective of them.

Even though I'm better at killing my pride now than I was in the past, some days I find that I'm so hurt that my pride is the only defense mechanism that I've got. It's sad that I still think I need a defense mechanism. But when I'm afraid of something and I'm not willing, out of fear, to really look at why I'm afraid(double bind), I really bust open the pride and turn myself into an ever living asshole.

What also frustrates me is that few people ever ask the right question that would really get Maggie to think. And that is: what are you afraid of? Of course, as we see in the video, that line of questioning is always side tracked and never gets pressed. But then with some people, continuing to press it would get tedious which doesn't make for good television. After a few layers of fears are exposed the avoidance would pop-up again and again because the root fears always seem to be horrible shameful secrets. And many of us usually end up forgetting we have them anyway. For instance, like being gay. I managed to actually forget about that one for 25 years. Yeah, incredible isn't it? LOL!

Personally, I feel sorry for poor Maggie. Even though no one outright called her a liar, she got defensive when called on her contradictions (lies). It hurts to be called a liar. And it hurts to realize that you really are one. I feel bad for anyone who is hurt. I get conflicted because I don't want to perpetuate that hurt but at the same time I want to slap them upside the head. But that's just arrogance on my part. But what will it take? It took some serious tragedy (mental breakdown) for me to finally see where I got distracted (LDS dogma). What will it take for her and others like her to see where they took the wrong turn? And will they be willing, if or when their "storms" finally come, to be open to alternative ideas, scientific, political or religious?

Is it ALWAYS about religion? Those who realize that religion cannot be used as a defense seem to be getting desperate and calling on more non-religious reasoning but they are having trouble because the peer-reviewed scientific community, which ironically they do not trust, can't help them anymore like they did in the early part of the 20th century. It looks like it's now turning into pure politics at this point. Unfortunately politics seems to be in bed with religious rhetoric now. What a mess.

Going back as far as I can remember when I started following politics, 1980 (6th grade?), it always seemed to be about countering each other's misinformation and fears. The winner was the one who could out "opinionate" the other by sounding convincing enough that people believed their stores as fact.

I learned to despise politics at a young age.

So when someone brings up the topic of why gay marriage or gay rights in general are bad, I'm immediately at a loss for words because no matter what I say it's only a response to a sidestepping of the real issue. The real issue is really about their deep personal fears about themselves. And because I can't respond to their liking, they declare themselves the winner and boast at how they "confounded the opposition". In reality I was confounded by their utter stupidity and realized that arguing with them was a waste of my time and brain cells. And then I'm angry because I know how they perceived it and that the entire confrontation worked against me. And then I'm double angry because I wanted so much to slap them upside the head knowing full well that it would victimize them for real instead of the fantasized victimization that they are currently enjoying.

No matter what, the loser is always someone who tries to talk some sense into a nut job.

We humans are truly strange creatures.

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