Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Don't close doors, keep an escape clause

Via e-mail, John Kohn suggests piggybacking demonstrations against the current Brault-issued revelations of corruption and the publication ban thereof on an already-scheduled upcoming event: But now that we have established the political potential of Canadian blogs, I think it is time to turn things up a notch. Here is my idea. This Saturday there will be a major rally in Ottawa on Parliament Hill against Bill C-38, the Same-Sex Marriage bill. Now, I realize that the Canadian blogosophere skews a little more libertarian than Canadian Conservatives as a whole, and many bloggers are not necessarily opposed to SSM. But this will be the biggest anti-government rally in a long time. We could see thousands of people from various churches and ethnic communities attending. See the planning details here: http://www.march4marriage.ca There are also articles in the Sun chain http://www.canoe.ca/NewsStand/TorontoSun/News/2005/04/05/pf-983045.html and NatPost (not online, but I've attached it below). Now what if, spontaneously, a few thousand more people showed up with "It's the Adscam Stupid" and "Give Us Back Our Money" signs? Turn the already planned marriage rally into an Orange Revolution moment in Canada. There is also a strong free speech angle, which many people may wish to support even if they do not necessarily support the traditional definition of marriage. Do we really want to see religious leaders like Calgary Bishop Fred Henry brought before kangaroo court human rights tribunals to have to defend themselves for teaching what is in the catechism? I think there is a moment of truth approaching in Canadian politics, and the rally this Saturday, combined with the Gomery testimony, could be the tipping point that changes Canadian politics for ever. With respect, I think this is probably a terrible idea, considering the traction that Canadian blogs have suddenly gained as opinion-makers. It hands control of the narrative back to the Liberals and MSM, who can and would be able to dismiss us as social conservatives with other assorted complaints - much like how every rally for any left-leaning cause always attracts those with "Free Palestine" and "Legalize It" signs, no matter what the ostensible focus of the event. Rather than being tech-savvy free-speech advocates, we'd get lumped in, fairly or not, with the God Hates Fags crowd. (So, too, do the reasonable opponents of SSM - again, fairly or not.) Discrediting the very valid complaints relating to the Gomery Inquiry and the publication ban become much, much easier, if they seem to be coming from those who the established media narrative already paints as cranks; even tenuous associations would be a gift from the heavens for Liberal strategists. This is too important to let control of the story slip away. While I disagree with the anti-C-38 demonstrators, I can sympathize with their motivations. Same-sex marriage has been politically mishandled by the Liberals just about any way it possibly could be, often only to their benefit. I do worry about how far some of the most ardent advocates of SSM are willing to go, seemingly out of spite as much as anything; there are those who seriously believe it both feasible and desirable to charge anyone voicing even polite, reasoned opposition with hate crimes (first-hand knowledge; can't say any more right now), which is just plain terrifying. I don't like being associated with them, either, but they're a safe constituency, as far as the CBC and Globe & Mail go. I won't be tarred as a loon, safely ignored by the Powers that Be, for being on broadly the same side. I respect the concerns of those who want to retain the traditional definition of marriage, and I can understand them, but that's as far as I go. I will not attempt to co-opt their rally, because I'd be the one being co-opted. Anything that so visibly, genuinely unites ultraconservative Christians and Muslims is something I want to stay the hell away from at all costs.

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