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Jonathan Kraut: Outraged by fake outrage

Posted: June 11, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: June 11, 2013 2:00 a.m.
 

The U.S. Supreme Court will be announcing in a few weeks, or perhaps in just a few days, its ruling regarding the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8.

In 2008, voters passed the measure. Many Californians were deceived by ads into thinking that failing to vote for Prop 8 would result in teaching about gay relationships in elementary schools.

Prop 8, which attempted to modify the state Constitution and strip away the rights of gay and lesbian couples to marry, since has been ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Circuit Courts.

I am certain the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold the right for all to marry.

You might think that the Libertarian and tea party wings of the Republican Party would be happy to stop big government from having the right to interfere with the personal freedom to marry whom you love. But no ... just wait until you hear all the fake outrage from the right after it is announced that even gay couples are protected by the U.S. Constitution.

What is fake outrage?

There are three components. First, one pretends to be upset and all heated up with a choice because it is so "dangerous," "demeaning" or "harmful," even though the choice may be only a statement of fact.

Second, the choice is mischaracterized to affect other areas beyond the real scope of the issue at hand.

And third, there is a false comparison that supporting this choice is the same as supporting all these other terrible yet unrelated outcomes.

I have so many examples from which to draw.

In a local debate for a Santa Clarita school board race, one candidate says, "Studies show our students can perform better academically. We can help teachers teach better." This statement is a fact.

The fake outrage reply by a competing candidate went like this: 1) "How dare you attack our students and teachers." 2) "You are saying our teachers and students aren’t smart enough." 3) "Supporting this candidate means you are against our students and our teachers."

Let’s take the current controversy with the Bush-era practice of data mining all email and voice mail contacts to determine who is involved in supporting terrorism.

I thought our government was always doing this since 9-11. The Obama administration, as should all future administrations, needs to do this. The government is not interested in content, but in who is planning terrorism with whom.

Nevertheless, the fake outrage, using the three steps, goes like this: 1) The Obama administration has no right to know anything that is personal and therefore is invading our privacy and infringing upon our rights.

This, in fact, is not true — unless there is a FISA warrant issued by a federal judge, no one in government is allowed (or cares) to review our communication content.

2) This means that big government is monitoring your every action, communication, conversation and email.

This is not only untrue but impossible. How many people do you think it takes to review every phone call, text message and email — probably as many people as use the phone or use a computer.

And the wild conclusion: 3) This proves Obama is trying to create a totalitarian dictatorship.

These non-sequitur arguments remind me of that joke: "If God is love, if love is blind, and if Ray Charles is blind, then Ray Charles is God."

So when the Supreme Court affirms that loving couples, regardless of gender, have the right to marry, you will hear screaming and ranting about how the ruling is the same as allowing polygamy, child marriage, teaching gay marriage in elementary school, and that the government is forcing all faiths to hold gay marriage against their will, etc.

In reality, the ruling would mean two people in love, regardless of gender, may marry. The ruling would not impact those faiths who do not wish to marry any particular couple.

The ruling would still forbid any illegal act like polygamy or marrying a child bride. And the ruling would not change school policies, which are to not entertain a discussion of marriage in any form.

Strip away all the fake outrage away and there should be no objections to allowing gay folks to enjoy the same rights as traditional couples.

Jonathan Kraut serves in the Democratic Party of the SCV, on the SCV Human Relations Forum and SCV Interfaith Council. His column relfects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal or other organizations.

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