08 November 2008

An Apology To My Californian Friends and Readers

Received a graciously critical reply to the message enclosed along with the Courage Campaign Repeal Prop 8 link I sent out this afternoon from an old and dear friend of mine, who justifiably criticised the use of certain nasty terms in it, as well as its loose grip on the facts regarding civil unions and its pedantic tone.

Have already apologised to her in my reply to her message, and promised that I would send out a similar apology to you all as soon as I was done with my reply to her.

So, here it is, in plural form, addressed to each and every one of you who read the earlier message.

The only defensible reason I can and will give for the use of those terms is that, in confronting the many attitudes that support Prop 8 and other measures, including Nevada's own Defense of Marriage Act, far too often, these attitudes are disguised by language like "Defense of", and "Protection of" "Traditional Values", "Family Values" and the like.

All of these are euphemisms, as you and I, and indeed, the other people to whom I sent this message already well know.

For me, the idea in using those terms is to strip away the euphemisms masking the attitudes and beliefs underneath.

I don't endorse those attitudes nor their expression, either verbally, rhetorically nor physically.

My intention was, and is, to say to those who may hold such attitudes, "All right, you don't like such people. Fine. Doesn't give you the right to keep them from making an honest living, getting married, having kids, or doing anything else that isn't harmful to you or anyone else."

Thinking about it now, this is the approach that I'd have best taken to start.

So, when this reply is done, I will publish what I've just written above, along with apologies for the use of those terms and the factual errors about civil unions, in my next blog post, which I will publish this evening.

I will offer no excuses for the terms nor for the errors, period.

Will also do so in a shortened version which I will send to the others to whom I sent this message.

The more I think about it, the more I can see that the use of such terms, while meant to strip away the polite veneer masking the ugliness underneath, not only hurts those who are direct targets of those terms, and worse, and alienates those who support the victims of such abuse, such as yourself, but also, by using them in an attack on those who do hold those beliefs, only strengthens those beliefs, because no one likes being called a son of a bitch, even if one is a son of a bitch, and only gives rise to a "Screw you!!!" mentality on the part of the person or persons being called that.

Now that I think about it, I think that I can see, however dimly, that, by stripping away any legitimacy of belief or choice on such people's part, I deny them the same amount of humanity and capacity for change that I would like for myself and others to enjoy.

In short, am doing, albeit rhetorically, the same damned thing some of 'em do to others-taking away their rights and humanity.

That, too, will be acknowledged in the follow-up essay to come, and in the message I send out to the others.

I also apologise for the pedantic tone of the essay.

Thought I was writing a corker of an essay, when, in fact, I pulled a bone-head stunt.

For perpetrating something like this, and for wasting your time, I most sincerely apologise.

It wasn't my intention to cause anyone any harm in any way, and most certainly not to waste time, energy and effort on your parts by indulging myself in bad rhetoric.

I did, and that's my responsibility.

I can be an over-enthusiastic jack-ass at times, and this was definitely one of them.

If you can forgive me for this, I would be honoured.

If not, I entirely understand.

Life's too short to put up with junk, even well-intentioned junk, and that was what I put out this afternoon.

Be seeing you.

Yours, D.

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