Ignorance is infuriating. The idea of people acting in judgment without knowing the basic facts about an issue, idea or culture is a problem with which humans have always been dealing. Two recent examples of ignorance remind me of my hatred for it.
The first one was at last week’s Republican presidential debate; these debates which is usually a cesspool for ignorance. A gay soldier serving in Afghanistan sent in a video question to Rick Santorum, a man who once equated homosexuality to having sex with animals. The soldier asked Santorum what he would do with gay soldiers now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell has been repealed. The issue at hand is not Santorum’s response, but the audience’s reaction to the soldier’s question. As soon as he said he was gay, the audience started booing him. Yes, people were booing a soldier in the Middle East fighting for his country, because he said he was gay.
This behavior is wrong on so many levels. Especially since over the past decade, supporters of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were ready to attack anyone who protested the war with accusations that they did not care about the troops. Now we have people booing soldiers for being gay.
I understand that we have to be open-minded and acknowledge people’s beliefs no matter how wrong-headed they may be. But enough is enough, it is 2011. At this point, I just laugh at and feel sorry for homophobic people who think being gay is some sort of disease from which they need to keep from being infected. The kind of people who send their children to pray-the-gay-away camps and centers to rid them of this supposedly unholy sin, like the one run by Michelle Bachmann’s husband (who I think, judging by interviews, is so obviously gay it’s ridiculous).
The rest of us know that being gay is nothing to be ashamed of, especially if you are risking your life for your country on a daily basis. Maybe one day these people will wake up; or maybe they’ll just make another bonfire out of copies of “Heather Has Two Mommies.”
The other incident of rabid closed-mindedness has to deal with the uproar over Chaz Bono’s participation in “Dancing With the Stars.” Bono is the show’s first transsexual contestant, so of course people freaked out about it. Concerned parents are doing everything they can from keeping their kids from seeing this horrible sight of a man who used to be a woman dancing the samba.
Lewis Black and “The Daily Show” did a great job attacking this issue last week, and I have three more thoughts on this. First, parents should keep their kids from watching “Dancing With The Stars” no matter who the contestants are, since it is an irritating piece of reality TV. Second, if there’s one contestant parents should shield their kids from, it isn’t Chaz Bono, it’s the HLN Network’s Nancy Grace, who works part time as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The last thing is that we need to stop using the “kids will get confused” excuse when dealing with gay and transgender people, among other things. I was a kid once; there is one thing I know: kids will accept anything. Kids will believe a woman comes into their room and gives them money for losing teeth and a giant rabbit will give them chocolate on Easter, so kids shouldn’t be too shocked or upset by the idea of a man being with another man or a woman being with another woman. I learned the definition of “gay” when I was only nine years old, and it wasn’t a big deal to me then, so it’s pretty sad that it is a big deal to grown adults.
Society needs to stop getting up in arms about gay and transgender people, among many, many other things. People always fear what they do not understand, and the world will be a better place if there was a lot more understanding, and a lot less thinking like idiots.