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Saturday, February 12, 2005

Dispatch from the trenches 

On Rabble, we find Charles Demers' Pride and prejudice in the chapel o' love
A good article all around, skewering people who want the left to stop dealing with "wedge issues" like gay marriage. "One would assume that, in the face of such a blatantly contradictory, homophobic, illiberal, anti-democratic, obscurant campaign by the right, we might see a reinvigorated, confident, accessible and lucid counter from left. One would be wrong, as one nearly always is when one expects invigoration, confidence, accessibility and lucidity from us." He decries the left's failure to mount an aggressive defense of gay marriage because it is thought to be a "wedge issue". ". . . we know from the experience of workers and activists of colour what appeals to ignore 'wedge issues' means: 'Shut up about abortion, language rights, affirmative action, tiered wages, and wheelchair access. We need to emphasize campaigns that white men can get behind.' "
And he points out something I have wondered about as well -- the hypocrisy of Harper's use of the "polygamy" scare tactic, while also courting Muslim men whose religion has been interpreted by some to actually support having more than one wife.
And for more news on the gay marriage fight, now the Conservatives are playing the victim over some sort of email scam where MPs were told to send their constituents a pamphlet about gay marriage. The CP story leads with this remarkable sentence "The Conservatives say they're the victims of a dirty tricks e-mail campaign designed to make them look anti-gay ... "
Well, let me just remind the conservatives of this one little fact: opposing gay marriage IS anti-gay! They cannot have it both ways, demonizing gay marriage while pretending they actually support gay rights and gay people.
But they want to, oh how they want to. As a result, they're living in a self-created myth world, where they think they can pander to bigoted religious groups while denying that they are actually promoting bigotry.
I checked out the Conservative Party Website to see what it had to say on the issue. Here is their discretely-titled section "Definition of Marriage: The Conservative Party will fight to give a greater voice to Parliament. We will ensure that issues like marriage are decided by parliament, not the courts." That's all. So, I guess they'll be issuing a press release any day now to say how happy they are now that parliament is deciding the issue, eh?
And here's an example of Harper's fire-and-brimstone rhetoric on the issue, from the text of a Feb. 5 speech , the most recent speech posted on the website. "I think its important to have equal rights, just as important to preserve traditional definition." That's it, one incoherent sentence. Of course, he was speaking to a Conservative meeting in Nova Scotia, with Peter McKay apparently in the room, so he knew he couldn't actually get into the scare tactics used in the Conservative ad campaign, about which he had not informed McKay before it started.
Well, I can only conclude that, while the left may be somewhat cowardly on the issue, this pales in comparison to the mean-spirited, deliberately-misleading hypocritical cowardice on the Conservative side.

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