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Michael Russnow Headshot

Proposition 8 Backlash: What's Wrong with Discriminating Against Those Who Want to Discriminate?

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After reading an article in the Los Angeles Times today about whether there should be "boycotts, blacklists, firing or de facto shunning of those who supported Proposition 8," it didn't take more than a moment for me to come up with a response: Why the hell not?

Freedom of speech has nothing to do with this issue, as no one I've heard or read has called for rounding the bastards up and putting them in concentration camps, or doing them physical harm or taking away their civil rights. Most of the outrage I've witnessed deals with not wanting to associate on a professional level with people who promote a political objective to interfere with a person's right to have the same joy in their lives that the majority of Americans have.

Most occupational situations are at will, which means that, barring a violation of no-nos prohibited by government statute, many of us can be fired just like that. It can be a simple fact that the boss doesn't like us or finds our work habits, even when successful, not to his liking.

Why then should it surprise us that when people publicly support a statute limiting the rights of a fellow human being, some of those human beings and their supporters might rise up and say, "Well, we can't stop you from voting the way you have, but we're sure not going to make it profitable for you or desire your presence in our work premises anymore."

We liberals tend to bend over backwards to appear fair and say, "Well, is this stance any different than a boycott of companies that promote gay rights?" This is an apples and oranges point of view, because in the case just stated it is a stance taken by people who want to perpetuate inequality and discrimination. These people are intruding in the lives of others -- people who have no effect at all on the hate mongers, except a presumed disturbance of the bigoted lifestyle they want to maintain.

On the other hand, those who rise up against the forces who want to impose their religious and so-called moral beliefs on the public at large and thus prevent loving couples from legally sanctifying their union, are in effect mimicking Paddy Chayefsky's famous words from Network: "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore."

They're not throwing stones at the contributors' cars or burning their houses and certainly shouldn't be. However, taking a stand against those who discriminate is moral, legitimate and the correct stance to take. Just as the blacks boycotted the Montgomery, Alabama city buses when they were only permitted to ride in the rear sections.

This is not just a question of not liking a person's politics. Whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, most of the issues in disagreement involve economics or our foreign policy. And although I admit to being disappointed when one of my favorites doesn't hew to my political philosophy, I can get over it if I can respect him or her as a decent citizen of our planet.

But when hate or smugness affects our neighbor's quality of life and places him or her on a pedestal below, it deprives that person of the chance to be happy and fulfilled. It bespeaks a policy that says "I'm better than you are, and since I have the votes I'm going to prove it with the force of law."

People with that attitude should be punished in a manner that they'll well understand. They must suffer, not with physical torture or incarceration, but with economic retribution, which is the most civilized and fairly meted out solution. Why should those whom they have hurt help them prosper and why should those who are equally offended do likewise? Let these prejudiced souls work and interact with those whose views share their desires to hurt others. If this is blacklisting of a sort then it's of a stripe I can support, as I have little use for those who interfere with the well-being and happiness of their fellow men and women.