it’s the metonymy, stupid

(A short post about politics.)

So, a majority of voters in North Carolina voted to block gay men and women from marrying.

Many comics on Twitter tried to make jokes satirizing this hateful act; many other tweeters simply voiced their outrage.

Immediately, a bunch of other online folks began to complain that the liberal feeds were over-generalizing about NC or about Southerners.

Generalizing, sure. Over-generalizing? I’m afraid not. When we talk about Iran developing nuclear weapons, we say “Iran.” We don’t say “Iran, excepting those Iranians who are opposed to nuclear proliferation.” Certainly, though, such people do exist. By not mentioning them, we are saying, “Hey, those of you in the minority, your dissenting opinion is failing to win hearts and minds. You’re going to have to try harder and do better.”

Just as the existence of successful African-Americans does not prove that racism has ended in the United States, the existence of liberal voters in North Carolina does not prove much about the political climate of North Carolina. It’s not difficult to see that what begins with shaming the shamers, ends with “this country is just not ready to accept gay marriage,” after a circuitous slog through statements like “my [relatives of some kind] aren’t hateful people, they were just raised in a very traditional household,” etc. When people slandered the state of California for passing Proposition 8, I was not offended. I hated California at that moment, too.

Everyone who is trying to save the reputations of the disorganized, ineffective minority opinion holders in NC should go back to “Letter From A Birmingham Jail.” Quite a bit of it is addressed directly to them. It is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of persecution to say, “Wait.”