Thursday, July 16, 2009

Musings of a Novitiate Ally, Part 3: Pointing Out Hypocrisy

On the day after the argument with my sister, Grace and I were driving back from my family's place. As you can imagine, the LGBT movement was on my mind; when the Ensign affair came up, I thought of the recent Dan Savage column. A reader had written that we should all "deflate the drama on extramarital affairs a little". Dan agreed, and took it further: he called for honesty in recognizing that humans aren't wired for complete monogamy. He showed our culture, which wags its collective finger at a form of hypocrisy that's as common as dirt, to be hypocritical in its own right.

I've been thinking about how people on the left expend their energy. It seems to me like a whole lot of it gets dumped into the sink beyond the point of diminishing returns. We Twitter and blog and Facebook the hell out of events like the announcement of Ensign's infidelity. And it makes us feel good. But, as I asked Grace, what's the point? Sure, we get to squirm as that warm fuzzy of righteous indignation crawls up and down our spines. We get a bunch of cohorts agreeing with us. We've proven that those who denounce us are just as flawed as we. But what's the point?

Grace said "Well isn't it a good thing to point out hypocrisy?" Sure, I said, but what does it do? Have we convinced any of the folks on the other side who liked that guy before his hypocrisy was pointed out? I don't know, but I doubt it. I think that, like anyone else, they tend to forgive their guy, explaining away the few of his transgressions that remain after their pundits have painted him as a victim.

At the end of the day, what have we accomplished?

And then it hit me: I don't need to speculate. Just days before, I'd spoken on the phone with someone who's supremely well-qualified to answer the question "Does pointing out hypocrisy do any good?" It's somebody big - somebody who asked me if there was any way he could help me with the blog.

Oh boy. I hope he'll agree to a Q&A. Stay tuned.

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