For those of you who do not follow the LGBTQ+ community, major news was made last week when millennial vlogger, Arielle Scarcella, issued a scathing statement announcing her departure from the movement. The reason that is significant is because Arielle is arguably the most prominent voice in the movement with a YouTube following of over 600,000 people. She is truly an inspiring leader and passionate voice, making her departure from the movement all the more shocking, but her reason for leaving, "coming out" as she put it, reveals an even bigger concern and warning to our Party.
She believes the LGBTQ+ movement has become a “ridiculous” haven for the “mentally unstable” looking for validation and sympathy instead of political redress. She believes the movement, which was founded on respect, love and tolerance, has devolved into an obscene woke culture of hypocrites espousing the exact opposite. And, she notes, the impact of this reality has seen acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community decline in recent months. In her words, “I don’t think straight, white men are evil." "I don’t think there are 97 genders." "I've never been so cancelled, tortured, harassed than by members of my own community. ” Her outrage, in part, is aimed at the growing number of crazed radicals, with absolutely no concern for growing democratic consensus, and if there is no attempt to broaden understanding, what is the point?
What Arielle has brilliantly highlighted is the same concept that I’ve been writing about since I first began this blog. By criticizing, harassing or cancelling members of our own team for questioning the most extreme elements of our Party narrative, we are perpetuating two destructive behaviors and either one is capable of destroying us. One, we are silencing voices and constituencies who may be trying to get us to see the bigger picture, and two, we are actively pushing our voters to the other side. Ultimately, politics is exclusively about the numbers. If we keep cancelling these voices for not fitting into our woke image of perfection, we’re going to end-up with no one on our side but people who spend their day watching reruns of the "Outer Limits."
Back in the day, I was a big supporter of being politically correct, what’s now referred to as “woke.” As the sister of a disabled brother, I recoiled at the hateful things I heard people say about him growing up. More than once, I wanted to go to war over it. I also saw people make fun of my gay and lesbian friends and had the same reaction. I saw my African American and Hispanic friends treated as non-entities and was outraged. And, for much of my life, I have been treated as a sexual object. Political correctness or being woke is an important thing, but there are limits. People deserve justice and systemic equality, and everyone, no matter who they are, should be treated with respect, dignity and understanding. The truth is today, we’ve largely succeeded in that quest. Even most Republicans agree with us. Of course, there will always be idiots, moved by misguided passion or stupidity, but for those of us who have been around for a while, we've come a very, very long way. And, yes, there is still important work to do, but we won.
The biggest danger we face today is not a rebirth of prejudice, sexism or hate speech. Our biggest danger is pushing ourselves so deeply into a judgment culture, we lose perspective and our ability to amass enough votes to win. In Arielle's words, if we cancel, torture and harass everyone who doesn’t live up to our very narrow view of what is right and wrong, we'll be left with no one to help move our democracy forward.
Too often, we have marginalized the old, the rich, the white, the successful, the men, the blue collar workers, the Republicans or the Moderates, because they don’t immediately agree with our perfect vision of what the world should be. We forget that as humans we are imperfect. We make mistakes. We do and say things we regret. Tolerance isn’t just for people who agree with us. It’s for all people, particularly those with whom we disagree. And, if we lose our ability to tolerate and understand, we are no better than those we oppose.
Like it or not, we can't just tell people they are wrong for disagreeing with us, we have to educate, inspire and show them we're right. Democracy takes time, and not for a fleeting moment do I think that an inspired dictatorship, just for a while, is a better way.
Photo courtesy of lbcc.edu.