Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Dear Scalia: Y.O.L.O.

From TPM:
My vote for most iconic sign outside the Supreme Court this morning goes to “DEAR SCALIA: Y.O.L.O. #scotusyoloO.” ...

I suspect most people posted outside the Supreme Court Tuesday who saw the sign knew what it meant, and thus knew without asking where Andrew Damron (the man who made it) stood on the issue.

At the same time, I suspect if someone were to ask Antonin Scalia if he knows what YOLO means, he’d fly spectacularly off the handle into full-scale, get-off-my-lawn crank mode.

I feel a little silly writing it out, but in this telling — based on my evidence-free assumptions — the population that doesn’t know what YOLO means is a proxy for the older, whiter, segment of the population that still opposes gay marriage, still wields great political power, but all of a sudden finds itself pretty clearly out of step with the country.

That, I suspect, is why Scalia’s been so contemptuous — contemptuous, even for him — of the fight for marriage equality. It’s not just a deeply held disgust for gay people, though that’s certainly a big part of it. It’s that he and his cohort are losing control, and the people wresting it from them aren’t just indifferent about who’s gay and who isn’t, but are also strange creatures from the future who seem to speak an entirely different language.

That was an insightful comment, don't you think?

I'm in that "older, whiter segment of the population," though I've got little political power here in Nebraska and I do support gay marriage. But I had to think for a bit before I could remember what YOLO stands for. (Carpe diem I would have instantly understood.)

But what's been remarkable about the gay rights movement is how quickly everything is changing. I guess I can understand why elderly conservatives are confused, given the pace of this. Heck, racial civil rights took far longer. For the most part, the older generation had to die off first.

Even then, the election of our first black president has really brought out the racists. And have you noticed how we're still debating birth control? Not to mention that evolution - evolution - still stirs controversy after 150 years!

So I've been astonished - pleased, but astonished - at how quickly attitudes about gay rights have changed. (Will we see the same sea change when it comes to the acceptance of atheists? I really doubt it, but... who knows? It seems to have happened in Britain - indeed, in much of Europe - very quickly.)

Remember Future Shock? This might be the ultimate example of that, don't you think? Future Shock was first published in 1970, when gay rights weren't even on the radar in most of the country. There were just as many gay people back then, but all of them, virtually, were in the closet.

Now they're getting married - not everywhere, but in more and more states. Gay people - gay couples - are living openly. I'm proud of my country that we've managed such an incredible change in such a short period of time, but I'm sure that elderly conservatives are simply bewildered by it all.

And if they don't have someone in their own family coming out, they don't seem to be able to find the empathy or the common sense to see the justice in... just leaving people alone. This is one case where your personal life doesn't affect anyone else. Even if homosexuality were a matter of choice - which it's not - it wouldn't be any of your business.

Well, Scalia certainly won't get this message. But maybe other justices on the Supreme Court will.

No comments: