If I were asking Santa now for a year-end present (assuming I were not too naughty during the intervening months, and that Santa might take a request from a Jew), it would be an end to the non-stop barrage and tedium of news stories about gays, lesbians, and their “rights” and challenges and achievements in 21st-century America.
As it stands now, the torrent of headlines is enough to make you think that every news outlet in the country is a subsidiary of the Washington Blade.
Over the weekend, newspapers, websites, and news broadcasts breathlessly announced new policies of the Justice Department regarding how the DoJ will treat same-sex married couples in matters which involve the federal government.
At a Saturday night speech in Manhattan, Attorney General Eric “What Black Panthers?” Holder announced that he will “formally instruct all Justice Department employees to give lawful same-sex marriages full and equal recognition, to the greatest extent possible under the law.”
Some of the new policy’s provisions include:
- Death benefits to same-sex spouses of law-enforcement officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty.
- The right to file for bankruptcy jointly, and to claim alimony after a divorce. (After all, as my wife says in support of gay marriage, why should only straight people have to suffer?)
- Allowing a person to refuse to testify against his or her same-sex spouse in federal court.
- Visitation and other rights for federal prisoners with same-sex spouses (these provisions strike me as ripe for abuse).
- Benefits from other federal programs such as the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund.
- The federal government will ignore the law in any state which does not recognize gay marriage if any of these benefits would apply as long as the same-sex couple was legally married somewhere else.
The story led Google News’ headlines, along with many other news websites, despite the fact that the announcement should not have come as a surprise to anyone, the DoJ having telegraphed its direction months ago following the Supreme Court’s June ruling against the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), not to mention Holder’s controversial refusal to defend DOMA in court.
But that was just one of many stories within the past week premised on categorizing people by whom they are sexually attracted to, as if that’s something most Americans do or should care about — in a nation that, mercifully, is beginning not to care.
Just hours after the DoJ news, USA Today was one of the few media outlets that did not spoil the announcement of Dutch speed skater Ireen Wüst’s gold medal in Sochi by describing her, as Yahoo Sports and many others did, as “the first openly gay athlete” to win a medal in this year’s Olympics.
I give Wüst credit not just for her gold medal but for her putting aside all of this nonsense. In a 2010 interview, when asked about her romantic relationship with another woman, she said, “You are not asking Sven Kramer [a male Dutch speed skater who has also won gold in Sochi] about how his relationship is going. So why would you ask me? If I would’ve had a relationship with a guy, you wouldn’t have asked me either.” (For the record, Kramer’s girlfriend is Naomi van As, a professional field hockey player and an Olympic gold medal winner in her own right.)
But over at Slate.com, June Thomas — “a lesbian who loves the Olympics” — says she’s “always on the lookout for out athletes at the games.” Why? Does she want to make a pass at them? Or does having a lesbian win a medal make Ms. Thomas think she’s won one too, as part of some sort of same-sex sisterhood that Ms. Wüst would undoubtedly have no part of?
But then June Thomas proves, or rather is, the point: it’s all about the division, the identification as “other” and therefore perhaps special, that activists for “oppressed minorities” and their Democratic political co-conspirators care about. Why couldn’t Thomas be someone who loves the Olympics, and happens also to be a lesbian? Perhaps because she could never get a job that way.
To be sure, Russian dictator President Vladimir Putin did invite this attention on gays and the Olympics with new laws banning homosexual “propaganda.” And the liberal media took the bait. But even in this case, another gay female Olympic athlete, Austrian ski jumper Daniela Iraschko-Stoltz, said on Sunday, “I don't think it's a good idea to make protests here, no one cares.… I know Russia will go and make the right steps in the future and we should give them time.” Well, June Thomas probably cares.
But wait, there’s more!
Leading Internet and broadcast headlines on Monday morning is the heart-warming story of University of Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam, the SEC’s defensive player of the year and likely an early round pick in the upcoming NFL draft.
On Sunday, in interviews with the New York Times and ESPN, Sam “proudly” announced that he is gay. When he is drafted (and of course people are pontificating about whether the announcement would help or hurt his draft prospects), Sam will become the “first openly gay NFL player.” Barack and Michelle Obama couldn't wait to join the parade, with the president calling Sam's announcement "real sportsmanship." Just how announcing publicly the gender of the people you're physically attracted to somehow qualifies as sportsmanship remains unclear.
Mr. Sam has much to be proud of, I’m sure, perhaps even his sportsmanship. His sexuality, however, is not one of those things any more than your sexual preference, dear Reader, is a source of great pride for you — nor is it either something to be ashamed of unless it involves children or animals.
In perhaps the most overwrought analysis of the day, former NFL linebacker Brendan Ayanbadejo compares Michael Sam to Jackie Robinson and Rosa Parks, a sentiment echoed by others including sports agent Leigh Steinberg.
Mr. Ayanbadejo, whose second career appears to be supporting gay marriage, is “most impressed that Michael is so comfortable in who he is.” Hey, I’m an atheist libertarian Jew… doesn’t that make me at least as much a minority and as praiseworthy as a gay black football player, Brendan?
But then Ayanbadejo makes, and immediately misses, the real point: “[Michael Sam] has faced so much adversity in his life that telling the world that he is gay isn’t that difficult in comparison.” Dude, if it’s not that difficult then why are you so impressed?
So if it’s not hard for the American football player to come out, if the Dutch speed skater doesn’t care to talk about her sexual orientation, and if the American public has moved substantially toward acceptance of gay marriage (though the differences from one city or state to another can be very large, and the support of “gay rights” short of marriage far exceeds that for gay marriage itself), why does the media continue to spill so much digital ink on these stories?
Does anyone other than the most aggressively pro-gay activists and the most aggressively anti-gay or pro-marriage (these not necessarily being the same thing) even care to read the endless stream of tedious stories which seem more than anything like GLAAD press releases?
Because sowing division and distrust is good for fundraising and vote-buying.
The left truly believe in disunion, in victim groups, in reparations, in special rights masquerading as equal rights. The mindset of separate and perpetually unequal sectors of society has been core to leftist philosophy at least since Karl Marx, and it remains a potent political weapon when used against a public kept ignorant by a media whose financial interests are furthered and whose members’ personal views are falsely validated by continuing to portray the U.S. as a nation coming apart at the seams (because of hate-filled conservatives).
The truth is that most of the hate and intentional division in America comes from the left, from people well-described by Jonathan Rauch’s memorable term “kindly inquisitors” who encourage “herdthink” — while aiming to make sure they lead the herd.
The media is therefore willfully complicit in political acid being thrown on the United States of America by the divide-and-conquer mindset of liberal activists and politicians alike, with mindless reporters encouraging them by drenching us in a river of simultaneously-cheering-and-fearing and all-starting-to-sound-the-same tales about how such-and-such a person is succeeding despite being gay.
“Breaking stories” about gay rights, gay athletes, gay soldiers, gay politicians, gay marriage (and of course gay politician marriage), and so on were understandable in recent years as the acceptance of gays by the average American evolved dramatically, to our nation’s credit.
But in 2014, it’s time for the media to stop beating us over the head with tiresome politically correct gay-related puffery. How about this: Don’t write any story about a gay person that you wouldn’t write about a straight person. If you’re proud of a soldier or athlete or politician, it should be for his soldiering or athleticism or cutting our taxes, respectively, and not because Bill sleeps with Ted or Thelma is hot for Louise.
Whether you’re for or against “gay rights” or “gay marriage” or “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” can we all agree to give the media 10 more months to figure out that most of the nation is past thinking this subject is interesting, and that we would all appreciate a 2014 Christmas (or Hanukkah) gift of reporters and editors moving on to real news, like whether or not to euthanize a giraffe?