Recently I read Up From Slavery, the autobiography of Booker T. Washington. It is an inspiring story of hard work, perseverance, and clear vision. Washington fought an up hill battle against bigotry and ignorance. He was misunderstood and mistreated, yet despite the constant challenges, it is impossible not to admire the grace, patience, and sheer dignity of the man.

I was reminded of Washington’s character when reading an article describing the first ever gay-pride reception at the White House.

 “There, they danced to the sounds of a Marine Corps band; they dined on crab cakes and canapés; they hand-delivered letters from concerned citizens…and some of them took advantage of photo opportunities to give the late President Ronald Reagan the middle finger.”

President Obama wasn’t trying to be ironic when he told the crowd that,

“We’ll get there because of every man and woman and activist and ally who is moving us forward by the force of their moral arguments, but more importantly, by the force of their example.”

Oops. The pictures say it all. The images are even more striking when compared with the quiet strength and determination of Washington. He was a man who knew what was right, who committed himself to a life-time of hard work to demonstrate to a skeptical nation that blacks were fully capable of succeeding in American society. Washington was an adult. A person of maturity and good judgment.

By contrast, these gay rights activists exhibit a juvenility that is through-going, puerile, and crass. This is not how adults behave. This is the behavior of individuals who have no grasp of propriety, who, apparently imagine that acting in such a manner will advance the cause to which they are wed. In effect they are saying “f*** you” to all who disagree with their political position. Such a posture is not one intended to win over the opposition by virtue of undeniable class, dignity, and goodness—this was Washington’s approach. The attitude of these “activists” is suited only to destroy the opposition. There is no possibility of compromise, conciliation, or friendship with a person who acts in this manner. Those who oppose the gay agenda are left with few options: pity, fear, and hatred. Can you blame them?

A few thoughts:

1. President Obama should be embarrassed. Indeed, the White House released the following statement:

“While the White House does not control the conduct of guests at receptions, we certainly expect that all attendees conduct themselves in a respectful manner. Most all do. These individuals clearly did not. Behavior like this doesn’t belong anywhere, least of all in the White House.”

This verbal spanking from the President (who is their outspoken ally) will have little effect on the offenders. Like the children they are, they will snicker and roll their eyes and rest assured that they retain the President’s favor.

2. These people should be removed from any position of authority they hold in the gay rights movement, for they lack the essential political virtue: good judgment. Without it nothing else matters. There are those who argue that the virtues are a unity and to be grossly deficient in one is to be grossly deficient in all. I will leave it to others to make that call regarding these finger-wagging activists.

3. The leadership of the gay rights movements should roundly and unapologetically denounce this behavior. At least one organization has done just that. According to The Washington Times,  the Log Cabin Republicans issued this statement:

 “It is unfortunate that the image conservative America is seeing today of LGBT people is of gay leftists misbehaving at the White House rather than the millions of patriotic, decent LGBT citizens, many of whom, like Log Cabin Republicans, hold President Ronald Reagan in high esteem….These photographs have hurt our community and make advocating for inclusion and equality more difficult. The participants should be ashamed.”

Indeed. However, it will be some measure of the leadership of the gay-rights movement if there is a strong denunciation across the board and not simply from one organization on the right.

4. Invariably some will argue that the gay rights movement is analogous to the racial bigotry that has haunted our country for so long. Consider the following. What if Abraham Lincoln had invited a group of black abolitionists to the White House? What if some of their number had acted after the fashion of our finger wagging activists, standing before the portrait of George Washington (that slave-holder!) and making obscene gestures? It is not hard to imagine that the offenders would have been treated to something more severe than a statement from the White House, and it is also certain that the cause of abolition would have been set back many years. That this kind of behavior can occur with relative impunity suggests the advantages enjoyed by gay activists today. An oppressed minority? They’re being courted by the White House and feel the freedom to behave disrespectfully in the house of their most powerful ally. That doesn’t really have the earmarks of oppression. It surely does not rise to the moral level of the abolition movement.

5. Tocqueville argued that as social conditions become increasingly equal, even the least inequalities will become an offense. But since perfect equality can never be achieved, offense will increase even as equality is approached. This is a perfect recipe for a perpetually offended citizenry, and that’s not a bad way to describe our cultural moment.

6. To achieve the freedom they sought, the Jacobins attempted to dismantle the social structure that impeded their “progress.” The result was, as Burke foretold, disastrous. In the same way, these modern-day Jacobins (and they are not just on the left) seek to destroy the very social and political framework that makes it possible for them to behave badly. Unfortunately, no culture can survive long under such a careless regard and sustained attack.

Which brings us back to Booker T. Washington. Washington worked for a lifetime and still his goals were not completely achieved. However, even if his efforts had been totally thwarted and if he had died an abject failure, he would have remained a man of supreme dignity. On the other hand, if the gay rights folks one day gain everything they want, those who acted so disgracefully will find themselves with far less than Washington. For Washington was a man of character. A man of dignity. By their actions, we can see by how far these folks fail to measure up to his example. We are all poorer for it.

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  1. I hadn’t seen this story.
    Thanks for your comments.
    I fear that some of the more vocal defenders of “traditional values” (mostly not folk on this site. It is largely “too . . .” for the people I have in mind.) add to the ugliness by their cruel and inappropriate comments and actions. In essence they give the finger to other portraits.
    Thanks for sensible, respectful commentary, like this.

  2. “Those who oppose the gay agenda are left with few options: pity, fear, and hatred.”

    Yeah, often times the ‘gay agenda’ provokes all three of these in me at the same time. There is something profoundly disturbing and disordered about that movement, not to mention egocentric to the core.

  3. Point number six is a good one. I’ve increasingly run across people on both the left and the right who say that it’s perfectly fine to be uncivil to people with which you have a political disagreement, after all they’re the modern-day equivalent of yesterday’s _____ (fill in the blank with Nazi, socialist, communist, slave-holder, segregationist, bigot, racist, Marxist, etc.) and you wouldn’t give any respect to those people so why I should I give respect to this person? Yet the things that are being debated are so often trivial compared to a debate, for example, over whether we should allow slavery to continue or whether free elections should be abolished.

  4. We have always known that actions like this are fully compatible with the extreme Narcissist. This White House incident is a good reminder, indeed.

    However, I do have one quibble with this article. It is the frequent dignifying of the “gay rights movement”. Homosexuality, (if it even exists separate and apart from a mere “doer of sodomy”) is at best a psychological condition for which the sufferers are blameless, at worst it is an open rebellion against nature which every society has understood makes them inimical to the good order. Either way, there is no gay movement to deign to listen to, shout and finger as they may. As soon as we dignify it as a movement, we lose.

  5. As a gay man, I have frequently been embarrassed by the juvenile (or worse) behavior of those who claim to speak on behalf of me and my rights. However, despite the fact that I find much on this website that I admire and agree with, I find the tone of this particular article to be, well, embarrassing too. If we are all to be held accountable for the outrageous behavior of others, members of the so-called conservative movement would be uttering infinite mea culpas for the churlish, arrogant and willfully ignorant actions of their counterparts. Anyone up for that?

  6. While I disdain taking focus away from the main article, I found the comment by “Sy” to be very disturbing. Not only are his contentions without any scientific merit (such as reducing homosexuality to purely a psychological condition), his comments reveal such a deep hatred for the the “gay movement” that he can self-justify blanket condemnations like “every” society considers them evil and “we” (presumably us upright, moral, valuable citizens) lose if we acknowledge them. Very sad.

  7. Anyone who enters the White House and thinks it prudent to “flip the bird” at anything in the premises should be summarily dragged out to Lafayette Circle, pistol-whipped vigorously by the Secret Service and then stuffed on a Greyhound Bus bound for wherever they came from with a note admonishing their mother that their product is seriously deficient.

    Yea, the “let it all hang out” generation is buying themselves a fine little happy faced security state down there on the Potomac.

  8. @MarkC,

    I will point you to a page written by Dr. Rich Deem, a molecular biologist studying Crohn’s Disease, as a kind of soft rebuttal to your opinion regarding “Sy’s” comment about homosexuality being a psychological condition. While it doesn’t answer the question directly, the article does bring up some questions regarding the condition of homosexuality.

    Regardless, I agree with the author of this article. I don’t care who they are, if they are invited to the White House (or anywhere, for that matter), they need to show the proper decorum and observe the protocols for such events and occasions. Acting in this manner shows what kind of class they have (obviously little or none) and reflects very poorly on the groups and interests they represent. Is it little wonder that most conservatives have strong opinions on gay marriage (and show little toleration of gays) when gays reciprocate, sometimes exponentially so? I personally disagree with “gay marriage”, but that’s not my decision. Marriage, being a religious ceremony, is administered by the churches. If they want to give gays “marriage”, then they may. I won’t bother others as long as they respect my differing opinion.

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