It’s one thing to be cruel. It’s quite another to be cruel in a completely unproductive way, in a way that makes any thinking person ask, “Why?”
Same-sex marriage is a contentious issue. It actually isn’t difficult for me to understand how people become convinced that it represents a threat to their way of life. I think these people are severely misguided, but it isn’t difficult to understand where they’re coming from if you try to see things from their perspective. I am not going to seek to point out all the obvious holes in this position, instead, I am going to talk about a related issue that receives a shocking lack of attention.
There are quite a few serious candidates for political office who oppose hospital visitation rights for same-sex couples. One of these candidates is Mitt Romney, Republican candidate for President.
Let’s not just leave it at “hospital visitation rights.” Let’s actually examine what that means for a moment. If you say you oppose visitation rights, what you are actually saying is that someone who is dying should not have their loved one at their side in their final hours because you don’t like gay people very much.
I imagine the pain of the dying individual, deprived even of the comfort of being with their loved one as the end grows near. I imagine the perhaps equal pain of the person who knows they’re losing their most cherished loved one, and that they can’t even be with them to experience those last few days and hours together. And I find myself with only one possible reaction.
What possible good can come from this? I think there are quite a few political positions that are advanced and taken seriously that cause real harm to people, but this is without a doubt the most thoughtlessly cruel political position that you can hold in this country and be taken seriously. Even if you “disagree with homosexuality,” what possible benefit is there to depriving someone from their loved one in their dying hours? What are you getting out of it?
And more importantly, why is no one talking about this? Any reasonable person should just categorically dismiss any political candidate who holds this position.
And one of those candidates is Mitt Romney, one of the two serious candidates for President of the United States.
The next time you want to tell me that white straight males are the ones who are “really” oppressed in this country, ask yourself whether any of them would be prevented from being by their wife’s side when she was dying. Ask yourself whether anyone would event suggest such a thing, much less give it the weight of law. Ask yourself if one of the two major political parties’ candidates for President of the United States would endorse that position.
This is what privilege looks like. It isn’t some abstract concept, and it should not be dismissed as “propaganda” as it so often is.