Thoughts on NOM’s Visit to Madison

Posted July 29th, 2010 @ 6:00 AM by

The anti-equality folks from the National Organization of Marriage (NOM) paid a visit to Madison to demonstrate on behalf of denying equal rights to people different than them.

Naturally there was a counter-demonstration. Fellow Forward Lookout writer Kyle Richmond notes:

What should really worry the NOM people is the demographic of the crowd who showed up to oppose them. Many in the Fair Wisconsin crowd…maybe 300 or so?…were young, confident and ready to document the whole event with cameras and microphones. They probably aren’t going to go away anytime soon. Wisconsin’s 2006 marriage amendment may have been a large battle lost, but the LGBT community definitely has a good chance of winning the war.

So some positive news right there.

There is also an interesting disagreement on tactics. From Dane101: Anti-NOM Protest a Success in Numbers, But in Volume?

My question is simple: would a looming silence have actually said more than our words? If we had let them speak unimpeded, wouldn’t their lack of logic have revealed itself and further painted them into the small corner that their overwhelmingly-debunked arguments have already done?
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Without a doubt, our protest was peaceful, and I did not witness even one personal verbal attack on any of the speakers. But that is not how the NOM supporters saw it. We turned them into false martyrs who now believe that they stood up for a just cause in the face of oppression– a very empowering feeling, indeed.
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Indeed, it was very clear that the speakers were expecting this ardent mob turnout, and in fact, they embraced our presence and jeers as talking points. They called us cowards (which I still don’t quite understand), and claimed that we were the ones infringing on their first amendment rights, (with which I actually may now agree). Brown self-righteously proclaimed that his supporters were the true heroes as evidenced by protesters’ deafening bellows. “When people try to shout you down… when people try to intimidate you – do not listen! Stand up for the truth” was his exact statement. In fact, every speaker I heard said the exact same thing, using our shouts for equality against us.

I strongly disagree. First off, the NOM folks are going to say bad things about GLBT people because they don’t like the fact that GLBT exist. Don’t think there is any part of your behavior that can change this. If everyone sat there politely, they would still say bad things about the counter-demonstrators.

Second of all, for some reason victimhood has been a central part of the conservative identity (at least for some). So the NOM speakers were going to complain about any counter-demonstration regardless of how quiet people were. Look at some of the recent David Blaska columns. He’s constantly crying foul about this or that thing, predicting disaster, trying to work up some fear, and not so much disagreeing with people but instead claiming that his political opponents are unfair and mean and undemocratic (I mean look at some his crime articles, they border on hysteria). It really has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

I guess it makes sense in some ways. There is at least some evidence out there that when people are fearful they tend to vote more conservative.

And as the Dane101 author points out, the protest was peaceful and well-behaved. It sounds like the counter-protesters had a good time – a good thing because sometimes politics can be fun. It’s good to show people that. Don’t let the NOM people create self-doubt.

Anyways, just my thoughts on it.

Links:

The Sconz has some thoughts too:

Future of gay rights on display at Wisconsin Capitol

Should Madison gay rights protestors have kept quiet?

Oh and the NOM Tour Tracker has some notes about the Madison stop.

And Dane101 also has pictures of the rally.


Categories: | Madison | Media | Wisconsin

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