Fear will trump good policy every time

I am not surprised by the results of the debate on gay marriage. In fact, this is just the kind of wedge issue politics that we have come to expect from the fool-the-people, know-nothing politicians who play to the religious zealots and undereducated, vulnerable folks. They fall for this stuff every time. These are the same people who would, all too often, deny the people adequate economic and social relief. They take their homophobic, xenophobic, hateful invective to the people in order to cover up the way that they behave in the New York State Senate. This type of behavior leads to and is fed by the type of fiscal chaos that we have been experiencing. The worse it gets, the more they try to frighten the mob. The whole approach comes right out the Nazi propaganda play book. When things are bad, scare the people. I am not surprised that despite being told by their leader, Dean Skelos, they were free to vote their conscience, every single Republican voted to deny gays and lesbians the right to marry and secure the same rights the rest of us have. Just look at the way Newt Gingrich and his crowd ran their elections.

Look, I am not gay. I am not attracted to men. I love women and when an attractive woman walks down the street, I am inclined to look at her. I was born that way. It’s just a matter of how the genes were randomly distributed. There are others who got different genes and they came out gay or lesbian. They can’t help their orientation any more than I can help mine. If someone said to me, “You’ve got to stop being heterosexual and become homosexual or we will stone you, imprison you, or send you to a psychiatrist, it wouldn’t work. I would not become gay. I would almost certainly become depressed, I would certainly become angry and fearful of those who would deprive me of the same civil rights straight folks have.

Now we are in the middle of a great recession-depression. People are out of work. They are scared and have every right to be. We can deal with the problems of an inequitable society or we can let the fear mongers have their way. In the case of the clowns in the state Senate, it’s not even close. Fear trumps policy every time. The clique that is running the state Senate has managed this theater of the absurd from the very beginning.

First, in order to maintain their power they acceded to Sen. Ruben Diaz’s demand that the equality in marriage bill never reached the Senate floor. That type of unprincipled blackmail can only lead to more of the same. When the lust for power overcomes doing what is right, the acquisition of power becomes far more important.

Of course, if it is true that something like one out of every ten Americans is gay or lesbian, this is risky business for this unprincipled crew. I once worked at a TV station where they polled and decided that only 12 percent of the people wanted sports. They cancelled regular sports in favor of something else and soon learned that the “only 12 percent” were passionate about sports and switched the channel. If all of the gay people were willing to a.) turn out for the election and b.) vote out the scoundrels who had deprived them of their civil liberties, it could be “bye-bye” for the fear mongers.

To cut to the chase, why would any of us want to deprive anyone else the right to enter into a loving marriage with another person? Hey, you don’t want to marry someone of the same sex, don’t do it. But why take the civil rights of another away? We know that some of these very politicians who voted against the bill have gay relatives who will be terribly hurt by all of this. As always, there will be that moment when they have to look in a mirror and say, “What have I done?”

Originally Published in the Legislative Gazette, 12/07/09

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3 Comments on “Fear will trump good policy every time”


  1. Alan,

    You are a true progressive fighter of the highest caliber and my admiration for you is unparalleled in your uncompromising viewpoint and your expert running of the treasure that is WAMC. I’m living in NYC now but was an upstater originally, born and raised in Dutchess County. I listened to your programs regularly, especially two summers ago before I left town, working in the fine trade of pizza delivery!

    Just read your latest blog post and felt compelled to send you a link to a recent posting on The Ministry of General Mayhem, my radical leftist portal of dissent and social justice. We recently unearthed footage from a pro-gay marriage film from the 60’s starring Charlton Heston! I think you’ll appreciate its message:

    http://theministryofgeneralmayhem.blogspot.com/2009/11/grab-that-popcorn-mayhemers-and.html

    I also provide a link to your blog on our site as I feel it’s important for our readers to see. Our most recent post gives a recap and discussion of the first part of your interview with Rep. Maurice Hinchey on the Congressional Corner. I’d be honored if you read that as well. And I can’t wait to hear the rest of your interview with him.

    Be well my ally, never waver.

    Jared W. Adams
    Grand Minister for General Mayhem
    New York, NY
    December the 8th 2009
    2:35 PM EST

  2. Den Allen Says:

    Occasional activist Chartock leaves no Bogeymen unmentioned as he shrieks from his public radio supported soapbox in this article.
    Whew!
    Homophobes, Xenophobes and the Nazis are lumped together with our freely elected State Senators from our Districts in NY.
    Several facts he didn’t shout about include the following…

    That pro homosexual marriage groups like Empire Pride Agenda paid millions of dollars to influence Senators to vote for the bill. But they were betrayed by at least 8 Democrat Senators who took their money and voted NO.

    31 States (NY not one of them) have put a plebiscite on whether or not to expand marriage privilege to homosexual couples in front of their voters and in EVERYONE of the 31 states the voters said “NO”.

    Many of the UNDEREDUCATED RELIGIOUS ZEALOTS Chartock says are fools and looks down on are also known as CHRISTIANS.

    You see, there is no disparity between Homosexual marriage rights and the marriage rights of any other group.
    We all share the SAME RIGHT of marrying any member of the opposite sex.
    The Senators who voted for homosexual marriage privilege in this failed attempt might be called HETEROPHOBES or HOMOPHILICS but… Chartocks screaming name calling seems reserved for his political opponents only.
    The CEO of WAMC’s orthodoxy ssems to exclude and detest myself, the voting majority of the 31 mentioned states as well as the 30 Republicans and 8 Democrats who voted against expanding NYS’s marriage privilege.

  3. littlebangtheory Says:

    Den Allen seems herein to be willfully ignorant of the overriding truth that religiously-based bigotry is bigotry of the most egregious sort. How does one present contradictory truths to those who presume that their twisted views are God-given???

    This is the tyranny of Theocracy, the belief that divergent opinions are heresy and ought to be dealt with as such. Christian fundamentalists are as wrong as Islamic fundamentalists in their belief that no logical argument can trump their devotion to a few cherry-picked passages, in this case plucked from the Old Testament, justifying their bigotry against those who are different from them, and willfully ignoring anything that Jesus of Nazareth might have said to the contrary.

    As for Alan being an “occasional activist,” Mr. Allen must have beans in his ears, or himself be an occasional listener at best. I can think of no other person who has been as consistently active in the pursuit of truth than Dr. Chartock, whether I always agree with him or not.

    And please: “You see, there is no disparity between Homosexual marriage rights and the marriage rights of any other group.” Oh, really??? What planet are you writing this from? My daughter and daughter-in-law (yeah, we’re those people ) coudn’t even walk around Northampton, Massachusetts, that bastion of lesbian liberalism, without being followed, harassed, harangued and threatened by pea-brained hicks who doubtless cast themselves as “Christians,” though my hero Jesus would have none of it if he walked here today.

    If Abraham Lincoln had asked the good Americans of his day to vote on equality for blacks, African-Americans would still be slaves today. Alexander Hamilton railed against the tyranny of the masses, hereafter known as Hamilton’s Beast, and so we have a representative republic rather than a pure democracy, and a Supreme Court charged with protecting the rights of minorities such as gays and Jews and Irishmen.

    Thank God our Founding Fathers were brighter than the bulk of their unwashed descendant masses.

    Sorry to carry on so, Alan, but some things just need to be said, and it shouldn’t always have to be you who says them.


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