FAGGOT!

Last Saturday while I walked to my synagogue, a car filled with several young men passed me. One called out, “Hey, faggot!” The car sped on. What prompted him to say such a thing? I’m straight. But more important, what concern is my sexual orientation to anyone else? Perhaps some young people were visiting from out of town. Maybe they assumed that any man who lives in San Francisco is, by definition, gay. That such thinking is irrational would not affect them. People who hold to a set proposition rarely let facts sway them.

My stream of consciousness connected to a March 3 article by Paul Krugman in the New York Times. I don’t always agree with Krugman, although I concede that as a Nobel Prize winning economist, his views on bringing the economy back to health carry more weight than mine.

Here’s the issue: Republicans want to slash government spending. Yes, the deficit is worrying. And yes, we need to put realistic curbs on such spending. But the extent of Republicans’ proposed cuts meant to starve government would not only impact our poor and our environment but also directly or indirectly eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs. According to Krugman, “Republicans have managed to come up with spending cuts that would do double duty, both undermining America’s future and threatening to abort a nascent economic recovery.” Maybe. Maybe not.

And here’s my point: The young man who called out, “Hey, faggot,” and the far right have much in common. Ideologues, they obsess over the purity of an idea. All men in San Francisco are gay; all gays are bad. Taxes and government spending beyond defense are bad; the marketplace is infallible. No wonder that this year’s Republican freshman class in the House of Representatives has taken as its de facto motto the Tea Party mantra, “No compromise.” They don’t care what works. They don’t care what fails. All that matters is unswerving devotion to an idea that sees the world in terms of black and white.

In effect, conservatives’ faith in unregulated capitalism matches their professed Christian faith. (Yes, House majority leader Eric Cantor [R-Va.] is Jewish.) Belief trumps observed reality. They bristle at any questioning of their values—at the hint of compromise—because such questioning threatens their faith. (Gallileo, remember, was forced by the Church to recant his observation that the earth revolves around the sun.) As I state in GOD’S OTHERS, people who express the most rigid faith often do so to hide their doubts. Rather than seek new answers, they oppose new questions.

So let me suggest my own Eleventh Commandment—something we might add to the ten given at Sinai. “You shall cut each other a little slack.” We would do better to dial back the ideology, listen to each other and balance our desire for a perfect world with acknowledgment of earthly and human flaws we can temper but not control.

A few days ago, 13 people in Egypt were killed in Muslim-Christian violence. My post of 2-11-11, “Post-Mubarak Egypt and Torah,” still holds.

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5 Comments


  1. Carolyn Power
    Mar 11, 2011

    I concur. That’s why I like what Jerry Brown is attempting to do; to get everyone on the same page regardless of opposing opinions and ideologies. We are human beings and need to treat each other with respect not derision.

    Carolyn Power Perlstein


    • Ron Laupheimer
      Mar 11, 2011

      Like Carolyn, I wholeheartedly agree with your comments. As you indicated, the goal you suggest is the opposite of what is occurring in today’s world. I wish more people had an opportunity to read this posting since it makes so much sense and is truly needed by all the peoples of this planet.

      Recognizing that many times I see things from a different perspective than you (i.e., positive vs. negative), I really enjoy your Friday postings. I feel good after reading and thinking about them. Keep it up!


  2. Aaron
    Mar 11, 2011

    Interesting tie in of the two subjects.


  3. Iska Waran
    Apr 04, 2011

    You are, indeed, a faggot.


    • David
      Apr 08, 2011

      I think I’ve now made my case.

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