This is a post on the KnowThyNeighbor.org blog that tries to approach how we can make the difference we are looking for in the world, and it starts with the understanding that we benefit mutually when we look at ourselves as family. I welcome any comments and viewpoints.
"Keeping a cool head and debating our opponents does not require we compromise our needs. When one person is respectful and the other is not, who looks like the fool?
Secondly, I said that we can sharpen our arguements on those who enjoy finding counterpoints to our reasoning, so that when we talk to those that might listen we would be at our best. Why is that not valuable to you? This is what I am most curious about.
Another point I brought up was that lurkers could read what was said, come to an enlightenment, and even help to spread the word.
Another point I made was that I am not smart enough to see into the heart of a man and tell you I know him like he knows himself. That's why I keep reaching out. I don't know if a man is going to hear me the first or the fiftieth time, but if he eventualy hears me that would be my goal actualized.
Another reason I find value in the effort is that I am a good man, but I know I am not always right. I am willing to hear another man out and listen to see if what he has to say has merit. I would hope that were I confused about a matter someone else would have the courtesy of patience with me as I make a huge change in my belief system.
Lastly the effort yields its own reward. I get to walk away at the end of the day and know that I tried.
The fact that none of these messages have been approached by those who say "Kumbaya" to me has me wondering what direction these people would have us go in. What good advise do they have for us? Talk to ourselves in a warm and friendly enviornment is what I get of it, and it smells fishy to me. If all I do is talk to my fellows of the same cause, how does the message get to those who need to hear it, thus winning over a new allie? The change has to happen within our opponents not ourselves. If all I wanted to do is protect myself from the harsh words of the opponents to gay marriage and overt homosexuality in general I would not have become a gay activist, would I?
Paul Jamieson is singled out as being so bad of a person and so radically right wing that we should not engage him. Isn't Paul more a symbol of our struggle itself? He is our opposition personified. In my eyes he is a man that wants to argue and think. He is very vocal about what he believes and has strong convictions that are hard for him to deny. Many times he is rude, yet so am I. We both have had to apologize for our behavior before. Our thoughts on Paul's motivations for being here vary greatly. The Mark's and Edgar's and Ferdinand's of the world would tell you that they know Paul for you and that you don't need to bother with guys like him because he is just here to insult you and hurt you. I see a man who is in conflict with what is the right thing do to in this situation, so he comes here every day to read and argue with those who he doesn't understand in order to become a better person. Just because we are gay and we see better the injustice of discrimination doesn't mean we are the only ones wishing for a better society.
Paul is symbolic to me in the sense that he represents a microcosm of how to react to opposition as a whole. Stand up for yourself in a dignified, calm voice, and present the facts when you need to, every time you have the opportunity. I see neither need nor reward for shrinking from debate, if there is, enlighten me. The only thing more powerful than the human mind is the human voice.
I have met many people in my lifetime that had a "hard shell" so to speak on the outside, and were actually warm and loving once you get to know them, and they trust you enough to let there guard down. I call them "Americans" and they can be a real pain in the ass when they think they are right, but I wouldn't put my stock in anyone over them."