Sunday, February 02, 2003

Texas School District Is Sued Over a Gay-Straight Club (New York Times)

Klein High School principal Pat Huff says, "We're a little different than some of the other high schools maybe in the inner city that have allowed the club to go forward. It would be a different issue out here. I have to always be thinking about the people, our constituency."

Huff is speaking from the perspective of a suburb north of Houston. I'm tempted to say that "inner city" is a racial code word for "black ghetto," but I'm not sure that is the case. Still, the implication is that the inner city is a cesspool of immorality.

I'm not opposed to homosexuality, but if I were, my tack would be to allow the Gay-Straight Alliance to exist, then recruit students to form an organization that claims that homosexuality is wrong, immoral, and whatnot.

Of course, that's not going to happen. The truth is most people are more intolerant of controversy than anything else. The Gay-Straight Alliance would be given a begrudged existence if people thought it would maintain a low-profile and hold hushed, quiet meetings in private with little outward manifestation. The average person doesn't want militants, doesn't want demonstrations, doesn't want dirty hippies. The average person wants a nice little status quo that can be maintained in perpetuity.

Working for change often means upsetting that status quo, so people drag their feet and refuse to pick a side hoping things will blow over. It's not until some change is inevitable that many people pick sides.

What are the implications for the left, who want change? Quit holding demonstrations and protests for every little niggling thing. Pick your battles and make them count. Disrupt society over a major issue, then let things go back to normal. Don't agitate incessantly without good cause.

The anti-war effort is a good example. Theer's still hope for peace. But if ever it gets to the point where war is so clearly inevitable and the American people whole-heartedly support it, then move on. I'd even counsel moving on to agitating about the state of a post-war Iraq. Start calling for an independent Kurdistan and for the people of Iraq to be allowed to choose their own form of government, including a theocratic democracy.

Otherwise, the shrill whine of dissent becomes an annoying but ignorable part of the new status quo.

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