Civil Rights

This entry is part 30 of 47 in the series Blog1

Civil Rights, Part 1

Going Too Far

True Believer: We’ve all made mistakes in the past but you have to admit that the Democrats have established themselves as the party of civil rights in the present.


Thinker: You are certainly the party of issues that you define as civil rights but about half the country call your idea of civil rights, special rights instead.

True Believer: They are bigots.


Thinker: So by your definition, half the country are bigots?

True Believer: I don’t think it is that many.


Thinker: Well, reality verifies what I say for wherever gay marriage has been put to a vote over half have voted in favor of traditional marriage, even in liberal California, as well as among the majority of African Americans. Are you saying that the majority of blacks are bigots?

True Believer: Of course not.  They just don’t understand.


Thinker: Are you saying the majority of African Americans are mentally slow or backward?

True Believer: No! You’re putting words in my mouth.


Thinker: Excuse me.  I’m using your own words. Let us review civil rights that we all agree are not special rights but real civil rights. Would you agree that the initial struggle for civil rights that really made a difference was over slavery and tyranny?

True Believer: I suppose.


Thinker: I think we can both agree that to be free from slavery is not a special right but a true civil right that every person of every race and gender deserves.

True Believer: Yes, that is correct.


Thinker: Establishing this right was very difficult and occurred in two stages in America.  The first was the Revolutionary War, which established freedom for all but the slaves, and the second, the Civil War, which freed the slaves at a cost of over 600,000 American lives. Do you suppose that the establishment of these freedoms is one of the reasons that historians consider George Washington and Abraham Lincoln two of our greatest presidents?

True Believer: You are probably right there.


Thinker: Why do you suppose it is easy for both the Left and Right to see that freedom from slavery is an important civil right today, but for most of the history of the planet many people accepted slavery as not only normal, but acceptable?

True Believer: I’m sure there were several reasons.  It was the way people were raised and the people who benefited from slavery didn’t want the system changed.


Thinker: But now, even though having a slave may free us from labor, nether you or I would even consider it because it is such a violation of human rights.  Correct?

True Believer: True.


Thinker: The struggle for civil rights was not over after the Civil War for Jim Crow laws were passed that created poll taxes, segregation and literary tests for blacks and if that did not discourage them from voting the threat of physical harm or lynching did. I think we can both agree that this was a wrong that needed to be set right.

True Believer: Good to see you making sense


Thinker: And do you think that Eugenics was a violation of civil rights in that it dictated who could reproduce and in some cases who was allowed to live?

True Believer: Again we agree.


Thinker: Then women were denied the right to vote and the suffrage movement corrected this. Do we both agree that voting rights for both genders is an important civil right?

True Believer: yes.


Thinker: What we see here is an evolutionary pattern.  The right to life and liberty were the most important and this was followed by lesser but still important rights like reproduction, the right to vote, the right to eat in the restaurant of your choice and so on. Tell me, is it possible the pendulum could swing too far and some push for supposed civil rights that do more harm than good?

True Believer: I do not know if it is possible to have too many civil rights.


Thinker: You can become too extreme in anything and humanity is like a pendulum that swings from one extreme to the other. People of centuries ago were on the insensitive extreme of civil rights in that tyranny and slavery were accepted as the norm with few feeling like challenging the system.  Since then we have become increasingly sensitive about rights that have fewer and fewer negative consequences. 100 years ago the idea of gay marriage as a civil right never entered anyone’s head. Most likely gays did not even consider it. Now it is seen as a big deal to close to half the population. Let us suppose that gay marriage becomes universally accepted. Do you think the Left will be satisfied or will they want more?

True Believer: Well, we want to secure the woman’s right to choose.


Thinker: That was already done with Roe vs Wade. So do you think that having secured the right to choose abortion and gay marriage they will be satisfied?

True Believer: I’m sure there will always be more to work on.


Thinker: Let me run a few things by you that is already in the public discussion. How about the right of polygamists to legally marry? Is There any reason  we should change the definition of legal marriage for gays and not them?

True Believer: Those polygamists force young girls to marry them and then keep them captive against their will.  I wouldn’t support them in anything.


Thinker: You’re stereotyping here the same way that some do with gays when they accuse them of being a danger to little boys because of a few bad apples.  Did you watch the HBO series called Big Love?

True Believer: A couple times.


Thinker: This series treated polygamy fairly realistically and illustrates that there are good and bad polygamists just as happens in every group.  Wouldn’t you agree?

True Believer: I suppose.


Thinker: You do not want to deny gays their rights because of a few bad apples.  Would the same standard apply to polygamists or any other group?

True Believer: Normally, I would agree, but marrying more than one mate just strikes me as wrong.  I don’t think I could support it even if they were all nice people. It seems to trample on woman’s rights and dignity.


Thinker: That sounds like similar reasoning to those opposing gay marriage.  Some just think it is wrong and reduces the dignity of marriage. Does that attitude make them right?

True Believer: Of course not


Thinker: Then you should support the right of polygamists to marry?

True Believer: I can see you have a point, but it goes against my grain.


Thinker: Thanks for the honest answer. How about people who want to marry animals? Should that be legalized?

True Believer: Heavens no!  Who would want to do such a thing?


Thinker: It happens.  Here’s a story of a man who  married his dog in a ceremony.  Take a look on my computer:

True Believer: Wow!  Who would have thought.


Thinker: And here is a story of a man who married his pillow:

True Believer: There are crazy people out there.


Thinker: And here is another story of a woman who married herself:

True Believer: Where do you get this stuff?


Thinker: It’s easy to find this and more on Google.  The question is – should these people be denied what you call the “civil right” of legal marriage?

True Believer: Marriage is not a civil right for crazy people.


Thinker: So, by your standard, if a Christian thinks a gay is crazy for wanting to marry a person of his own sex then it is all right to deny them legal marriage?

True Believer: Of course not.


Thinker: Yet you apply the “crazy in your own opinion” standard to others. Why?

True Believer: This is getting ridiculous


Thinker: We see that in your mind that the criteria for legal marriage is whether it is ridiculous or not.  Isn’t what is ridiculous in the mind of the beholder?

True Believer: Maybe.


Thinker: So we have one guy who thinks it is ridiculous for a man to marry a man and another that thinks the same of a man marrying two woman and another thinks it is crazy for a man to marry a dog. These are all opinions, are they not?

True Believer: I suppose.


Thinker: So you think your opinion on gays carries more weight than the other two examples?

True Believer: well, almost everyone thinks that marrying a dog is crazy, for heaven’s sake!


Thinker: And in the 1950’s almost everyone thought that a man marrying a man was crazy.  Did that make them right?

True Believer: No.


Thinker: So what gives you the right to deny legal marriage to the guy who wants to marry his dog?

True Believer: That should be obvious.


Thinker: No.  It’s not obvious. What gives you the right to deny legal marriage to the guy who wants to marry his dog?

True Believer: this conversation has gone too far.


Thinker: So you admit that the idea of civil rights can be taken too far?

True Believer: I never thought of marrying a dog as a civil right but, yes, suppose the idea can be taken too far.


Thinker: So, where do we draw the line then?

True Believer: I never thought about it.


Thinker: And that, my friend is the root of the problem.  People do not think about where the line needs to be drawn. Instead, they just think of what they want and demonize those who think differently from themselves.

Copyright 2012 by J J Dewey

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