Tuesday, December 09, 2008

So It Happened...

...that I actually agreed with Jonah Goldberg.

This doesn't happen very often. Our paper, The Kansas City Star, carries Jonah Goldberg once a week, on the right-hand side of the opinion page. Yup, they're still putting the liberals on the left, and the conservatives on the right.

If they were creating a perfect representation of the political spectrum, though, Jonah would disappear, as he is too far right to appear in juxtaposition to whichever liberal columnist we're running that day. He'd have to be off the page, over next to your cereal bowl.

I digress. Jonah Goldberg is a big time conservative; that's all you need to know. He is Editor at Large of National Review online. We never agree on anything, though I don't know everything he thinks--he may well love chocolate covered toffees, and so do I.

In his column this week, Jonah Goldberg took on "gay-rights groups." He seems to believe that they are aligned on gay marriage and other issues. Apparently he doesn't know much about these groups...just a little swipe at my people, don't get upset.

Anyway, while I didn't much care for Mr. Goldberg's thesis, that the "gay-rights groups" are "aggressors in the culture war" (seriously--what does any of that mean?), I had to admit that he was right in calling out some of the tactics of the "No on Proposition 8" forces.

Specifically, he was perturbed by a television ad in which two Mormon missionaries knock on the door of a lesbian couple, announce that they are there to "take away [their] rights" and yank off their wedding rings. As they leave, one says, "That was too easy." The other responds, "Yeah, what should we ban next?"

I don't know which of the many, many diverse gay rights groups was responsible for this ad, but I hope they're not too proud of it. It suffers from the sort of stereotyping and hyperbole which have dragged down our political discourse for, well, always. The sort we should be leaving behind, not dragging into a legitimate fight for equality and respect. You don't get respect by acting like an eighth grade schoolyard bully.

So when Jonah Goldberg says that this ad is shameful, I agree with him. When he says that it shows "gay-rights groups" as a vicious monolith, we part company.

It's still okay to ask why the Mormon church, with its own checkered past regarding observance of national marriage law, feels so strongly that gay marriage is a threat to heterosexual relationships and families. It's okay to question the tactics of the "Yes on 8" folks, who suggested that little kids were going to be indoctrinated into The Gay Lifestyle, if Prop 8 didn't pass.

But must we play in the mud in order to make our own case? Justice is justice. It will be great when all of our gay rights groups learn that it speaks for itself.

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