Feeling the Flames: How a Frenzy of Right Wing Comments Got Me Thinking
When I sat down to write my last column I didn’t think I had much to say about anything. So, stumped for fresh ideas, I revived the topic of my previous column—Chick-fil-A-Fail [Letters dated August 24, 2012]—for a status update. It was one of the most tepid pieces I’ve written.
Imagine my surprise when within hours of its publication my column had stirred the ire of dozens of right-wingers in the comments section, and even ended up on a far-right website. God knows what happened this week that never happened any other week to put me in the cross-hairs of the culture warriors, but my editor emailed me kudos: “You’re a hit!” she wrote to a very rattled me.
Let me share some highlights:
“We know how vicious, angry and intolerant you are, Abby. You won’t really be able to hide it. Deviant sex is the center of your world. That level of imbalance is crippling.” Or,
“What a loser! Abby Dees. This is your LIFE???? Wow. What a waste.” Or,
“Pathetic mewling of a pervert.”
These more personal attacks don’t bother me too much. They don’t know me (and in year seven of my relationship I can only wish that any sex were the center of my world…).
Much more maddening was that the comments that tried to argue actual points weren’t responsive to my column at all. Most accused me (as representative of all gay people, by the way) of trying to quash the Chick-fil-A founder’s free speech rights—when in fact my entire discussion of the uproar over the last month has been critical of such censorship, particularly by the government. To mangle an old quote, I’ll fight to the death for your right to say stupid things.
I was also chastised for not discussing things completely unrelated to the subject of my short column, as if by neglecting to, for example, psychically predict that a nutcase was going to open fire at the Family Research Council, I revealed the hypocrisy of the entire LGBT movement and our disdain for humanity, especially if it’s registered Republican.
I must then wonder what the point of having a column is, or sharing our thoughts and opinions, if we are utterly unable to hear what anyone else has to say.
Hey, it goes both ways. My critics threw arguments about the immorality or brutality of the LGBT movement at me as if they’d found the key to unraveling our plan for world domination. For example:
“‘Hate’ is now defined as anything with which the left disagrees. In the eyes of most leftists, traditional Christians and Jews are no different than Klansmen.”
Huh? While such assertions were met with the Internet equivalent of high fives, I’m left scratching my head that anybody could really think this. Is there any hope for real communication between us?
I know—I shouldn’t give it a moment’s thought. A conservative friend was amused that I’d pissed off a bunch of “skin heads.” A gay friend dismissed it all as the wounded howls of scared nitwits facing the reality that the LGBT train has left the station. Most everyone I know clucked about the number of morons there are.
I’d like to believe that my column magnetically attracted an errant pod of swastika-tattooed mouth breathers—I refer to them as “far-right” out of respect for my conservative friends and family whose politics don’t always line up with mine, but with whom my disagreements are always respectful and cause us both to think with a little more subtlety. My critics can’t be “nice” people like that. One even called me out for suggesting that his ilk were “far-right” when they represent so much of America. I know in my gut he’s right (about this). Many are indeed nice people, and damn scared about things they don’t understand.
And they too can’t imagine that I am the easy-going person that I am, that my relationship is lovely and ordinary, and that I really don’t have an agenda beyond fairness and respect for difference (yes, even religious difference), nor do my friends, gay or otherwise.