Some of you are gay, bi, queer or whatever the word-of-the-month is.
Some of you are Christian.
Some of you think that the 'Reverend' Fred Phelps is an evil, small, piggish man who needs to get along with dropping dead.
And many of you don't understand how, by any stretch of imagination or leap of logic or sheer rational result, GWB could have possibly won re-election. Or why the folks trying to elect someone else didn't pull it off.
This link is to a story in the Washington Post about how 'Rev.' Phelps is doing a fantastic job of providing a means of pulling communities together in the face of animosity, prejudice, and the tyranny of hatred wearing religion as its mask.
There are lessons to learn here, folks.
They're important lessons.
Lessons about how to confront and geld the forces attempting to transform the US into a theocracy.
Lessons about where battle lines can be drawn- and how- and why.
Lessons about what makes a concerted campaign of propaganda fall completely flat.
Much of those lessons point to one thing:
What could we have done? We could have talked to your next-door neighbor John, and led him to understand that by voting for Bush, John's voting against Bill, who got fired from his job and has been having a devil of a time getting a new job, since the 'new economy' only employs people in India- Bill, who got John the job he has at present in the first place.
We could have made Jennifer understand that by voting for Bush she was voting against Anna, who was confronted with the horrible choice between bearing a child born from rape and having an abortion, and who makes the best damn pumpkin pie that turns up at the church potluck.
We could have tried to make Jim understand that Bob and Greg, who he borrows tools from when he needs to work on the house, are a couple of gay men he's known for ten years.
Teach your community that the people they are hating are themselves- their neighbors, their brothers and sisters.
Nota bene: here's a dirty little argumentative tactic I've learned works wonders on this sort of irrational behavior. You can't confront your fellow citizen about your own issues- you have to confront them on behalf of someone else. People tend to respond to 'why are you doing this to me?' as if you're picking a fight; but more often than not, they respond to 'why are you doing that to him?' as if it were mommy saying 'bad boy'.
This is what is known as societal opprobrium. The bullshit that the Religious
The Religious Reich think they are at war with evil- or at least claim to. They will use any means necessary to combat evil- which is up to and including being evil themselves.
And the whole thing changes around on them so quickly... so readily, really. All you have to do is teach people that the Religious Reich are not GOING to get those bad nasty atheists, but are instead COMING for the Smiths who live next door and have that lovely rose bush.
Humans tend to value their own community over communities of people they do not know. This is one way that we are similar to primates, actually.
The community you know is the family you have. Far more so than the nebulous Right-Thinking Brigade of Good Citizens who are Over There Honest We Mean It.
Then get to work.