Jeremy has a great piece up at the GLAAD Commentator Accountability Project, about the far right’s desire not to have to listen to opposing voices, all the while playing the victim, insisting that they’re being “silenced.” He uses the picture at right, of Jennifer Roback Morse of NOM speaking at a Minnesota hate rally, literally sticking her fingers in her ears because she says she’s tired of listening to the voices of the opposing side. Never mind the fact that the opposing side is the majority of Americans.
According to Jeremy, this is nothing new for Jennifer:
This is something I have experienced personally with Roback Morse. On a couple of occasions, she has referred to me as her “stalker” because I, a legally married gay many who advocates for equality, make note of the things she writes and says. Now keep in mind, Ms. Roback Morse collects a six figure salary (125k) from the National Organization For Marriage to write and say the things that she does. She also travels the country giving speeches, presumably netting her quite bit of coin on top of her base salary. I’d be be willing to bet Ms. Roback Morse clears $200,000 attacking people like me and my husband, in front of crowds that generally agree with her.
And she apparently is quite upset that she is unable to always operate in a vacuum. This NOM staff member wants to operate as a public person so that she can haul in the hefty chunk of change that comes from being a person publicly opposed to marriage equality, but she doesn’t want to answer to the obvious challenges, counterarguments, or even conversations that come with her role. When people like me make note of her attempts to make me a celibate man, her campaigns to take away my marriage rights, or her connections to figures who say same-sex marriage is worse than bestiality or pedophilia, I am a “stalker” who is to be ignored.
“La la la, I can’t hear you.”
He goes on to recount the same behavior from Focus on the Family when their own words are simply pointed out to them and others. When pro-equality voices simply bring wingnuts’ words to a wider audience, they clam up and claim that we’re picking on them/silencing them/stalking them/whatever else:
Yet despite these basic realities, I am somehow acting unfair or with hostility when I say nothing more than, “Hey, look at this.” For simply holding “pro-family” figures or organizations accountable for THEIR OWN WORDS, I am blocked from participating in the discussion. Even worse, these same figures and orgs often proceed to follow up with claims that people like me and projects like GLAAD’s Commentator Accountability Project are somehow threatening their freedom of speech – by actually expanding the audience their words reach. If they are not allowed to speak without criticism, and exclusively to a fully-supportive audience, they claim they are being persecuted, or silenced, or stalked. These “traditional values” folks morph public discourse, a traditional value at the heart of American freedom, into an act of unfairness.
Jeremy gives several reasons why they act like this and all of them are valid. (Do click the clicky and read his entire piece.) I would perhaps add or expand on one of them, though. I think one of the major reasons the Religious Right conducts itself like this these days is that they know, on some level, that their words are not winning them any new followers and that they only make sense to people who are already in the flock. To normal people outside the Anti-Gay Industrial Complex, the insane, over the top statements people like Tony Perkins, Bryan Fischer and Jennifer Roback Morse make on a daily basis not only come as hateful, they come across as unhinged and weird. That’s why they need the echo chamber Jeremy speaks of. It’s almost like a security blanket.
Jennifer Roback Morse pulls the “lalala can’t hear you” card because the real world, where over half of the country supports marriage equality (with new voters turning eighteen every day, pulling more and more people to our side), where anti-gay animus is going the way of institutionalized racism, is too scary. Inside the echo chamber, everybody thinks alike and it’s safe. Really, really wingnutty, but safe.