Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Future Bigotry

The gay marriage debate rages on and no one is safe from it. Not presidential candidates, not fast food chicken restaurants, and not even improv comedy shows. Alchemy, the comedy theater I run, had one of our students and friends of the company tell stories to inspire our Local Legends improv show a few weeks ago. Walter has been a menu printer, breakfast photographer, news columnist, and yes, he is gay. His stories covered all parts of his life, including some thoughts about the Chick-fil-A controversy (you can actually read them in his worth-reading Greenville News column). It was interesting to hear a downtown (think liberal) Greenville, SC (think conservative) crowd respond to his stories.

I haven't really given the issue much thought recently and I honestly haven't really kept up with the news about the controversy (in fact you may notice from the lack of blogging here, I haven't kept up with any news recently). But his stories got me to look back at the link I posted in 2009 about when gay marriage will be legalized in each state (so far we are little behind the prediction). There's no doubt the direction of change in the debate is for gay marriage. I can't imagine anyone who thinks it will be harder to get married in 5 years. Gay marriage will certainly be more like abolition and less like prohibition.

However, the bigger issue for me isn't will gay marriage happen, it will and it should, but what are the other issues for the future? I came across a two year old Washington Post article that had some possible predictive criteria:
First, people have already heard the arguments against the practice. The case against slavery didn't emerge in a blinding moment of moral clarity, for instance; it had been around for centuries. 
Second, defenders of the custom tend not to offer moral counterarguments but instead invoke tradition, human nature or necessity. (As in, "We've always had slaves, and how could we grow cotton without them?") 
And third, supporters engage in what one might call strategic ignorance, avoiding truths that might force them to face the evils in which they're complicit. Those who ate the sugar or wore the cotton that the slaves grew simply didn't think about what made those goods possible.
The writer then suggests 4 issues he thinks will one day be seen as common sense:
1) Over-incarceration, overcrowded, cruel prisons: I agree and have already posted on the issue2) Inhumane farming of animals: Although I have come to appreciate animals more, we are different. This issue will change, but not as much as the activists think.
3) Institutionalized and isolated elderly: My family is already seeing the change as the market/government/family adjusts for this demand. Though government safety net constraints will limit this.
4) Environmental destruction: As you know, I'm skeptical of overpopulation and unstoppable climate change.
Other suggestions I've read were waterboarding (already changing), high school football (Frank Deford has convinced me several times over), military drones (maybe I'm uninformed, but I don't really care about this specifically), gun control (I recently found out that I am the only member of my immediate family that lives in America that doesn't own a gun).

Here are my 3 predictions: Drugs (less restriction), debt (less socially/politically acceptable), and privacy (we'll care less about it). So what are your predictions of current beliefs that will be labeled as future bigotry?