Saturday, April 09, 2005

I draw the line

That anti-C-38 protest marched by outside the window while I was in the HM's office this morning. I wish I'd had my camera, or been able to find the office's, because there were a number (by no means a majority, but still an uncomfortable assortment) of signs that unnerved me, signs that should be held up for scorn and ridicule. These people make the reasonable right look as bad as the anarchists and hippies do for the reasonable left. It's enough to make me despair for the efficacy of any public demonstrations. The one that stuck out in my mind was hand-drawn, carried by a lady of perhaps 70: "DEMOCRACY NOT HOMOCRACY." It pains me to have to relegate little old ladies, more simply alienated from changing mores than anything, to the same mental file of Nutter Conspiracy Theorists as these people. But I have to. Ditto those with signs portraying Paul Martin as genuinely in league with Satan, or as a cartoonish demagogue dead-set on "destroying traditional marriage," all the while cackling madly and rubbing his hands together in glee. He's none of those things. He's the slimy epitome of the Liberal pol, yes, but not evil; just a negotiator painfully attempting to reconcile a plurality-to-majority constituency with a militant minority advocacy group, with minimal bad press for his party from either side. I wouldn't wish being stuck in the middle of it on anyone, but I don't think Martin's handling of SSM has been as bad as it could have been. Conversely, some of my recent work for the HM has been dealing with C-38 related correspondence. (Not that that narrows it down much, thankfully.) There, what's been striking is precisely the opposite tone as today's protest: those in favour of traditional marriage have been terse but polite, while advocates of expanding the law have ranged from pleasant and upbeat to monstrously hateful. The paranoid tone of at least half of the Pro side - agitating against "American-style biggotry" ([sic] - it's amazing how many of them misspelled it), "Gay Apartheid" and other comparisons with historical institutional racism (hyperbolize much?), the existence of any religion, and even the presumed criminal opinions (!) of anyone opposed - are just plain scary, and over the past few months have been turning me from broadly on-board back towards bitter neutrality. Watching the more than slightly depressing procession up Parliament Hill has bounced me back to being in favour, despite the undemocratic process and bad precedents being set. I'll broadly sympathize with being ignored by the government, people, but Sweet Zombie Jesus join the 21st century already, huh? You may not like it, but it seems the patchwork legality of gay marriage is going to grow to encompass most all jurisdictions in the western world, in the next twenty years or so at most. Railing against it just makes it easier for the left to demonize you, and us further to the social centre as well. But I digress. Reassuring, at least, was the realization that the police and City had enough faith (no pun intended) in the civility of the demonstrators that it wasn't necessary to bolt down or remove newspaper boxes and garbage cans down Bank, as for the anti-Bush protests last November. Still; the protests being more peaceful (and I'd certainly hope they'd be) than those of idiot hippies is a given, not necessarily to anyone's credit. This is why good people hate us. This, right here, this thing. I don't like the implications.

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