Monday, August 6, 2012

NOM's Turnspeak

Turnspeak is a propaganda technique that has been used by tyrants and oppressors throughout recorded history. The oppressor accuses the oppressed of doing exactly what the oppressor is doing. It is a form of cognitive dissonance that creates confusion and false equivalences. Rome probably accused Spartacus of being a depraved savage. Germany accused Czechoslovakia of being an aggressor bent on world domination and during the Jim Crow era, African Americans were accused of trying to dominate white women. You get the idea.

That is why, this past Saturday, National Organization for Marriage made the claim "3 Recent Examples of Pro-SSM Intolerance and Hate Backfiring." The words hate and intolerance were carefully chosen. Those are the terms of a minority group being oppressed; Not the majority group doing the oppression. It is also a way of implying that the acts of individuals are the acts of, or approved by, the oppressed as a group.

When some individual paints graffiti on a Chick-fil-A store, that is not intolerance of anything. It is vandalism by some person who is pissed off that CFA has donated over $5 million dollars to anti-gay hate groups.

The false equivalence is that we are on equal ground.

We are not on equal ground. First of all, NOM represents the overwhelming majority. More importantly, this is not a zero-sum proposition. In spite of considerable efforts to suggest otherwise;

Our gains are not at the expense of their loss of rights.

This is the reason for their persistent "religious liberty" argument. It is based on three or four isolated instances, over many years, that are exaggerated and actually, on closer examination, irrelevant. Indeed, NOM has never been able to voice a true and coherent argument that marriage equality has negative consequences to themselves or others.

Perhaps no greater example of turnspeak exists than the fact that NOM wins electoral battles by claiming that we are a threat to children.

In fact it is NOM that is a threat to children. Their campaigns devalue gay kids at the expense of those children's self-esteem. Furthermore, NOM prevents the children of gay parents from having married parents. In this case they are successful because they reinforce the prejudices of people who are already predisposed to fear gay people.

So why engage in a campaign when  their is nothing to gain?
  1. Doing so provides some people with employment.
  2. The Pope has written that it is the duty of every Catholic to oppose homosexual marriage. These are true believers who are incapable of critical thought.
  3. Individuals who would otherwise receive little attention are getting a great deal of attention
Unfortunately, that requires us to lose rights that we are entitled to.

The good thing is that oppressed groups tend to ultimately prevail. Ultimately, we will be able to marry in all 50 states. Eventually ENDA, or equivalent federal law, will prevent us from being fired for being gay. In the future, gay kids won't be bullied and the children that we raise will be seen as no different. We just have to keep working hard at it. Nobody said it was easy.
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