Liberals like to call Republicans the “Party of No.” And it seems, according to liberals, that conservatives always seem to be “against” things. But is that really true? And more importantly, does it even matter?
This all came home to me Wednesday afternoon as I observed (and participated in) the Chick-fil-A “Appreciation Day.” The lines everywhere were long, real long. On a day when temperatures pretty much everywhere were over 90 degrees, people were standing in lines going out the door. Nobody I saw was mad about anything, the heat, the lines, or even orders that got mixed up. It was amazing.
These were nice people. They didn’t seem like a negative crowd.
But the very first headline in a Tennessee newspaper that I saw that afternoon about the event didn’t speak in terms of what these thousands of people were for. No. According to the headline, all those people were there because they were “against” gay marriage.
Now why was that the headline? Why wasn’t it about thousands expressing their support for natural marriage or traditional marriage or heterosexual marriage, their support for freedom of speech, their support for religious liberty, or their support for free enterprise?
It could just as easily be asserted that liberals and the media have it backwards. Homosexual activists are against male-female marriages. After all, that definition of marriage was what the majority was for. But these activists decided to speak out against a law they didn’t like. From that perspective, those activists seem to be the “against” group.
But does being one who is“for” or “against” things really matter? The fact of the matter is that anytime there is a “side” that can be taken, there is an opposing side. It’s just the nature of the cosmos. If there is something good, then there exists the possibility of its opposite. Thus, we are all the Party of No and we’re all the Party of Yes, depending on which side of the fence you happen to be on.
But to be honest, all this fuss about who is for or against what misses the really important point anyway. It gets us off the main subject at hand.
In the Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis, the wise old demon, Screwtape, advises his nephew, Wormwood, about how to keep a person from becoming a Christian. His advice is to never let a person think about something “as primarily ‘true’ or ‘false,’ but as ‘academic’ or ‘practical,’ ‘outworn’ or ‘contemporary,’ ‘conventional’ or ‘ruthless.’ Make him think it is strong, or stark, or courageous — that it is the philosophy of the future. That’s the sort of thing he cares about. Jargon, not argument, is your best ally.” “Jargon,” in the sense here used, is meaningless talk.
And, by analogy, all this talk about whether male-female marriage laws are fair, progressive, outdated, backwards, or bigoted — and whether you’re for or against fairness, progress, modernity, or tolerance — is what liberals and the media want us all to engage in because it’s really meaningless. As Screwtape knew, that kind of conversation only serves to allow us to “demonize” people and get us off the real issue, namely, what is the nature and purpose of marriage.
If we can ever have that conversation, we can get to the real issue. And having done that, we can probably decide quite easily what kind of relationship is more consistent with the nature of marriage and best fulfills its purpose.
That is the issue we need to be discussing … unless, of course, you’re against that discussion.