Unclassified Info: Gay marriage and rational debate

WARNING: I am about to render an opinion on gay marriage.

It may be unsuitable for audiences who are unwilling to entertain a rational debate. But before I dive into yet another liberal rant, it might be good to preface my opinion with some thoughts about rhetoric and steadfast beliefs.

Rhetoric and unbending will destroy the ability to have a proverbial “aha” moment where an opinion can be expanded or changed and perception can grow.

It's unfortunate that we have become a nation of sound bites and slogans. And it seems the more accustomed we become to having complex concepts and positions condensed into a convenient catchphrase — or even worse, a buzzword — the more outrageous and inflammatory those simple ideations must become in order to have effect.

There are a million examples of this and I'm sure there's one in particular that sticks in your head. For me, it was the recent positioning surrounding the one-year anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death.

While one side was using it to gain political leverage, the other side was acting as though the very notion of taking credit for authorizing the use of military force was itself a heinous act against humanity. As is so typical, during the flurry of biased mud slinging, facts on both sides were conveniently overlooked.

While Republicans talked about how tasteless it was to use bin Laden's death as a political tool, they failed to mention how often a similar tactic had been employed by the previous administration. And while the current administration said it didn't really intend to use the event for publicity, it did so nevertheless.

In the end, it becomes akin to school children bickering, with no one willing to budge.

Social media can also be one of the most perverted platforms for rhetoric, with many people reposting opinions they like without taking a lot of time to check for accuracy. This brings me back to my own opinion on gay marriage.

When I first heard that President Obama had taken a position in favor of gay marriage I was happy, but also concerned about how people would respond. Knowing how easy it is to toss a one-sided insult using platforms like Facebook, I was actually apprehensive about checking in to see what people were saying. I even commented to a friend that it would be hard for me to tolerate individuals who were in opposition to my own beliefs.

But then I started thinking about how I was letting my dislike of rhetoric inflame me to the point of wanting to shut out discourse and debate.

And so I began to actively look for people who didn't agree with me. I wanted to find opinions that were based on good rational reason and not just on meritless hyperbole. I wanted to engage with the opposition so that my own thinking could become more enlightened.

Shutting out those with whom I do not agree only serves to narrow what I experience so that my world simply becomes a reflection of what I think it ought to be, rather than what it is — and more importantly, what it can become.

There's a definition for this: self-segregation. It's the process by which you actively seek those who are like you and disengage from finding different people or circumstances that can broaden your own existence. It's a very limiting way of being.

Which brings me to my liberal opinion on gay marriage and the three reasons I am for it.

First, I believe that everyone should have the same rights and privileges, provided they are not doing anything to harm another. I do not see any evidence of harm to another individual here.

Second, I believe this world has enough intolerance and hate. The proliferation of acceptance and love would do us all some good.

And finally, gay people should not be denied the right to experience nasty, bitter divorces drawn out in a fatally flawed family court system. We heterosexuals have had that to ourselves for long enough and I believe it's time to share in the festivities.

So what's the point of telling you how I feel? Well, if you think like me, you actually get nothing out of it except some momentary kinship. But if you disagree, I've just done you a gigantic favor by infusing some food for thought into your day.

In the end, we might never see eye-to-eye, but the simple act of sharing our divergent thoughts creates in both of us the opportunity to become bigger than we were when we woke up this morning. And isn't that why we're here?

GARY HUERTA is a Glendale resident and author. He is currently working on his second novel and the second half of his life. Gary may be reached at gh@garyhuerta.com.

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