By: Brandon Sobera – Senior, Political Science
I refuse to let my opinion be silenced. I refuse to stand idly by as people label my fellow conservatives and I as callous, uncaring and/or bigots/racists. These blatant ad hominem attacks serve no purpose other than to color and sway public opinion against the opposing side.
There seems to be this emerging culture that squashes dissenting opinions on any public manner. Individuals with opposing points of view are quickly given some hateful title to shut them down in a small-minded attempt to quiet their dissent.
There are a few recent examples of that, none of which is better than the gay marriage ruling. Perhaps I am in the minority of conservatives in regard to this decision, but I along with Pope Francis, believe “who am I to judge?” My own opinions and stature in this world do not give me the right to make that decision on anyone’s behalf. Similarly, I do not think it is the government’s place to dictate what two consenting adults may or may not do. What a large swath of conservatives and I do have a problem with is the way the law was put into place.
The Supreme Court is a body of nine individuals, who are unelected, which cannot be replaced unless they resign, are subject to no oversight (other than the long arduous process of impeachment) and have no enumerated power to enact law. The only power the Supreme Court has in regards to law is that of review, and even that was only determined in 1803. Judicial review is nowhere in the Constitution.
The Supreme Court fundamentally changed the social structure of the United States by allowing gay marriage. Regardless of whether this is right, wrong, or in-between, it is a real criticism of the authoritative action implemented by the SCOTUS. A large number of Republicans and conservatives (they are not the same thing) feel that the ruling was the wrong way to implement this new status quo. They felt, with more than ample reason, that it should have been A) a state issue and B) a legislative process. Not a dictation from nine unelected judges in Washington D.C.
I have heard this argument and to some extent agree with it, simply in that I despise overreach of government in any capacity—even if it is for a perceived common good. However, a large percentage of supporters of the ruling are quick to label those who hold this belief as “religious bigots who have hate in their heart.” They tend to ignore the fact that what the Supreme Court did was directly a political move on a political issue, against their vow. They are meant to be independent of partisan politics and simply rule on the law instead of writing new ones. The Supreme Court, instead, cherry-picked this case to make a statement and ensure a legacy that the members wished to create for themselves.
Moreover, proponents of the decision label opponent individuals because it is easier to dismiss their opinion if you believe it to come from a place of hate; even if it does not. Are you going to believe me, someone who supports marriage equality, or this guy, who hates gays and is a religious zealot? That makes the argument pretty one-sided.
Judicial overreach is a fair criticism to have of the judicial system of government in this country. However, it does not fit with the narrative that the left continues to try to build of the right for the undecided American people. It is a lot easier for people to vote Democrat if by voting Republican, you are voting for “racists who hate gay people and want them to be sterilized.” It’s absurd to believe that critics of the right sincerely believe that we, as educated individuals, are incapable of separating this decision from the process by which is was implemented and the people it impacts.
What people mistake from me is that I use my intellect and make rational decisions and formulate my opinions based off those decisions and my upbringing. I will not buy into the idea that an individual’s opinion is one of hate, particularly when they can present a well-articulated reason as to why they came to their conclusions. Of course I am not blind to the idea that there are hateful people on the right. Of course there are. But to be so reductionist as to list all opponents in that regard is ludicrous. It’s a cheap trick to push an agenda and sling dirt at the same time. It’s a lot easier to appear to have the high ground when our only response is “I am not hateful.” Denying any sort of accusation often makes a person look guiltier.
This trend in the U.S. in regards to political correctness is one of the most frustrating things currently facing our country.
At UC Irvine, the student union voted to ban the American flag on campus grounds (before the faculty overturned that vote) because it makes other students feel uncomfortable, because it has a history of imperialist actions.
In 2010, students were sent home for wearing American flag apparel on Cinco de Mayo because it could have been seen as incendiary against Mexican students. Excuse me? Why is this even celebrated in America?
O’Malley apologizing for saying “Black lives matter, white lives matter, all lives matter;” if I read that correctly, O’Malley apologized for saying that everyone’s life matters.
So what is my recourse? I refuse to let anyone dictate how I speak in regards to my beliefs. I will continue to stand for what I hold to be true, and I will not let false claims slow me down or affect me. I happily will debate, but you must be willing to leave your baseless attacks at the door.
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