"I Hate Gay People"

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Tim Hardaway, a former NBA star I've always liked and respected, said some pretty hateful things upon learning of another former NBA player who came out of the closet.

Hardaway said he would have a problem with having a gay teammate, and said, "I hate gay people."

That's sad, but what's more sad to me than the sentiment expressed is the extremism I see in society. And I don't mean that it is extreme to think homosexuality is a sin. That's not extreme, that's normal. It's also normal to think homosexuality is not a sin.

But what bothers me is most is the response to this, which has mostly taken the form of some people saying Hardaway is right, and everyone else saying he is flatly wrong. The debate makes it seem like you have to either hate homosexuality, or think there's nothing wrong homosexuality, and that there's no room for anything in between.

Whatever happened to disagreeing with someone's lifestyle, but still treating that person just like every other human being deserving of respect? It's the same sort of nonsense we see in the political realm. You want universal health care, so you're a communist. I do not want universal health care, so I am a racist baby-hater.

I'm not defending Hardaway at all. His comments disappointed me, but not because he thinks homosexuality is wrong, but because he is apparently incapable of expressing that view in a way consistent with the perpetuation of a pluralistic society like America's.

United we stand, divided we fall, and we are getting more and more divided every year. When America falls, it won't be because of fascism or communism, it will be because we have so few real problems in our lives that we spend too much time worrying about our differences with our neighbors and pretending that they really matter.

I am not blameless in this myself, but my many opinionated liberal friends can attest that I do not dislike people because of their lifestyle or beliefs, generally speaking (I suppose I may find Osama Bin Laden impossible to befriend, but I've never met him or anyone who shares his views that I should be killed, as far as I know).

I don't want everyone to be like me, or agree with me. If the GOP dominance of the last 12 years has taught us anything, it's that we need pluralism. We need people who disagree with the religious right, and we need people who disagree with the Republicans. Hell, we probably even need communists like Marxist Hacker 42, just to remind us how crazy their views really are.

I remember how depressed I was when Le Pen won the first round of elections in France a few years back, and some of my French friends said they were sickened at the thought that some of their neighbors voted for him, especially considering that the reason Le Pen won is because people were trying to stave off an increasingly pluralistic society (as he primarily represented anti-immigration views), and yet to be sickened by it was to decry pluralism too.

Le Pen's victory and the reaction to it just shows that intolerance of differences is not unique to any particular portion of the political spectrum. Every side is guilty of it. But we're going to have an extremely difficult time surviving if we don't turn the tide on this.

I dunno. Maybe there is no solution. Maybe we're all just screwed. Or maybe Sunday School and The Beatles were right and the only solution is Love, in which case, maybe we're still all screwed. slashdot.org

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on February 14, 2007 11:42 PM.

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