Sunday, November 23, 2008

Op- Ed Editor of the SF Chronicle Gets It

Thank you, Jon Diaz of the San Francisco Chronicle for having the courage to write this:
A supporter of Proposition 8, fed up with what he believed was the gay community's and "liberal media's" refusal to accept the voters' verdict, fired off a letter to the editor.

"Please show respect for democracy," he wrote, in a letter we published.

What he encountered instead was an utter lack of respect for free speech.

Within hours, the intimidation game was on. Because his real name and city were listed - a condition for publication of letters to The Chronicle - opponents of Prop. 8 used Internet search engines to find the letter writer's small business, his Web site (which included the names of his children and dog), his phone number and his clients. And they posted that information in the "Comments" section of - urging, in ugly language, retribution against the author's business and its identified clients.

"They're intimidating people that don't have the same beliefs as they do ... so they'll be silenced," he told me last week. "It doesn't bode well for the free-speech process. People are going to have to be pretty damn courageous to speak up about anything. Why would anyone want to go through this?"

Diaz goes on to give his credentials as a card carrying supporter of gay rights and to reassure gay readers that they will eventually prevail. And he concludes with the "both sides" talking point I have noted before seems to be required of the media by the GLBTQ activists:
Intimidation, through attempts to chill free speech or an independent judiciary, should have no part in this debate. The leaders on both sides should have the honesty to recognize it within their camps - and the courage to condemn it.
But don't blame John Diaz for reciting the required words. The Chronicle would have picketers and his own job would be on the line if he didn't.

In the news section, the Chronicle reported that the anti-Prop 8 rally at the California capital in Sacramento fizzled yesterday, only 5,000 showed up while organizers had intially forecasted 20,000. And their leaders were spouting the ugly rhetoric Diaz cautioned against. One of the speakers was Robin Tyler, one of the plaintiffs in Supreme Court case that resulted in the brief institution of gay marriage.
Tyler, a longtime activist for lesbian rights, argued that same-sex marriage opponents have no right to complain about any physical and verbal attacks they've encountered since election day.

"Get over it," she said. "It's easier to wash a paint stain off a church than to take off the stain they left on the California Constitution."

And comedian Margaret Cho sang a rather ugly song:
Cho, whose comedy routines are anything but G-rated, provided a song she wrote slamming Mormons for their support of the measure, ending with a chorus suggesting that voters not let the Mormons get away with what they did.

Well, the Chronicle published the 5,000 estimate, but the Sacramento Bee is putting it quite a bit lower. In a story published 22 hours ago, one reporter wrote "Thousands of gay rights supporters," but an article by a different reporter published 15 hours ago says:
It drew between 1,500 and 1,800 people to the Capitol's west steps.


Dr.D said...

One of the many new "rights" invented by the Left in recent years is the "right" to prevail by whatever means necessary. Thus when they see that reasoned argument is not going to enable them to carry the day, by their lights they are fully entitled to resort to whatever other tactics are required to assure that they win. If this requires that they kill people, well it is a war and people get killed in wars. They have lost all sight of the concept of living together, making decisions for the good of all people, respect for other citizens, etc. They are all about winning and nothing else.

Perpetua said...

Hi Dr. D.,

This is the end result of "deconstructing" all social norms and moral values. For the hard Left with the post modern world view, all that is left is the will to dominate. So for them it is all about gaining power.

Not all people with same sex attractions have bought into this, but there does seem to be a lot of it in the GLBTQ movement right now. I hope the low attendance at Saturday's rally in Sacramento is a signal that the ordinary gays and lesbians are sickening of this hate-filled backlash and do not want to be associated with it.

The Underground Pewster said...

Such behavior must be called out lest it spread to other political issues.

Maybe it will be a new hate crime to bully people exercising freedom of speech in such a manner.

BillyD said...

The violence and threats of violence are shameful, but I think that the editor goes too far in labeling boycotts of businesses that contributed to the Yes on 8 campaign as unacceptable intimidation.* Surely people have a right to decided what businesses to support, and no one has a right to my business or money, do they? Not giving money to a dentist, for example, who is going to use some of that money to fight against my interests sounds perfectly reasonable. Boycotts have long been used across the political spectrum: think the Montgomery bus boycott, or the boycott of Disney.

Of course, if you think that threats of boycott are intimidation, then you would have to agree that both sides have engaged in it - the Yes on 8 campaign having done so officially by sending letters to those who donated to the campaign against the measure threatening to publicize their support for gay rights unless an equal donation was made to Yes on 8.

*Whether boycotting donors is a smart political tactic is another question.

Perpetua said...

Hi Billy D,

I think you are exactly right to use the examples of the Montgomery bus boycott, or the boycott of Disney as legitimate boycotts. I don't think people have a problem with a boycott of a large business that uses its profits to ... whatever one disagrees with.

But in California right now we are seeing the targeting of individuals, not large companies. The boycotts we have been seeing have been:
1) of fairly small businesses because one of their employees made a fairly small donation, or
2) very small owner owned businesses like the dentist or a photographer or a ice cream shop.

In one of the cases, the daughter of the owner of a restaurant had made a $100 contribution to Yes on 8. Although other employees of the restaurant had made donations to No on 8 actually totaling to more than twice the contribution to Yes on 8, still the GLBT activists were threatening a boycott of the restaurant unless the particular women who had donated the $100 would donate the same amount to a GLBT cause. There were 18 employees in terror over this and they pooled their resources to make a $5,000 donation to pay off the bullies..

Or, consider the Scott Eckern case. He had been very supportive of gays and lesbians in his career and promoted musicals with the lyrics and/or music written by gays or lesbians. However, he supported the traditional definition of marriage and donated $1,000 to Prop 8. The ensuing boycott of his place of employment, California Musical Theater, caused him to resign to protect the California Musical Theater, from going under.

Imagine if it was going in the other direction. Imagine a massive internet campaign organized to destroy any business who had an employee who donated to No on 8. The companies would have to let go those employees who donated to No on 8 in order to save their businesses. So all these gays and lesbians who donated to No on 8 would be loosing their jobs. Wouldn't that be a civil rights violation?

BillyD said...

But in California right now we are seeing the targeting of individuals, not large companies. The boycotts we have been seeing have been:
1) of fairly small businesses because one of their employees made a fairly small donation

I wasn't aware of that. That's completely unacceptable, of course. Companies are not responsible for what their employees do outside the office; employees are not slaves.

, or
2) very small owner owned businesses like the dentist or a photographer or a ice cream shop.

Again, it's hard for me to get worked up over this. Even conservatives make conscious choices about where to spend their money, based on other factors other than the ability of the business to meet their needs. If you had a choice between two comparable dentists, one dedicated to the protection of traditional marriage and the other who was giving donations to, say, an organization that sought to legalize polygamy, which would you pick? Heck, in this country we've even got things like the "Christian Yellow Pages," designed to let people support businesses owned by evangelical Christians instead of their "unbeliever" competitors.

Perpetua said...

Hi Billy D.,

In the case John Diaz is talking about in his op/ed, the man who wrote the letter hadn't contributed anything to Prop 8.
The letter merely says:

"Editor - Regarding "Legal challenges: Same-sex marriage issue back in high court" (Nov. 6) Please, please, please! Somebody correct me if I'm wrong - but isn't the point of voting that the citizens vote, the votes are counted, tallied and the majority declared?

How can I respect anyone's wishes to marry, when they don't want to respect the voters in California (in 2000 and now in 2008) and the very fibers of democracy?

Why are we spending millions of dollars and countless hours of energy when supporters of same-sex marriage continue to use up valuable resources to fight something that the majority already voted down? I support anyone in their quest to find a lifestyle of their own, but I do not support any group that is so blatantly defiant of democracy. If a vote is put forward, both sides must honor and abide by the outcome. Otherwise what's the point?"

And for that they would organize an internet boycott of his business.

You can go here to see the letter and look at the comments below to see how quickly some comments had to be deleted. Then you can go here to input his name and see that he didn't even contribute anything to Prop 8. All he did was write the letter.

karl.rosenqvist said...

The Underground Pewster

"Maybe it will be a new hate crime to bully people exercising freedom of speech in such a manner."

Not a bad idea. Here in Sweden the security police (S√ĄPO) keeps statistics and investigates organisations using such methods as "enemys of the state" (not perfect translation).

We've been having some problems in the last 20 years with extremist neonazi's, leftwings, anarchistgroups and others. Note that most such organisations are working democratically but there's a rise in bad eggs.