Had Matthew Shepard lived, he would have been 33 years old today. The passage of the hate crimes legislation that bears his name was signed into law on Octorber 28th, 2009 by President Barck Obama.
The opposition to this legislation was simply shameful. Period. I have always been fascinated by the conservative opposition to legislation that promotes social equality. Can anyone help me understand it? I would appreciate it, I think…
6 responses to “The Matthew Shephard and James Byrd, Jr. Act: Overdue Legislation”
This legislation was so scary that it prompted the wholesale manufacture of alternative explanations for the crime: “Oh, it was just a methamphetamine deal that went bad.”, etc., etc. The attitude was ‘lets call this anything but the pure, unadulterated hate that it was.’ This attitude is simply amazing to me.
My daughter and I went to see the play about the re-visitation to the town where the crime occurred. It was at Heights High School and was one of the few places in Kansas where the play was put on. I can understand how people in that Wyoming town might want to gloss over the incident, but I do not understand the shameless reaction of so many others to this hate crime.
This crime, especially when you know the details, so closely mirrors the physical torture and crucifixion of Christ, I think that bothers the conservatives so much that they can’t bear to think about it, so they dismiss it.
They operate from fear, and from a black/white mentality with no gray area, so that is the most logical way to deal with the whole thing; gloss it over, then dismiss it.
I love my mother-in-law, but she very much shares a mentality of denial with her generation. We were driving through a poor part of town one day and I said, “Man, it breaks my heart to see the way some people have to live,” and her answer was that she doesn’t look because she doesn’t want to see it. And it was said in a cheerful, almost helpful voice. The message was– if you look the other way, it won’t bother you so much. The conservative mindset explained.
I don’t think Social Conservatives even think beyond their nose and what their particular preacher tells them to think.
And for alot of them, they don’t care what happens ‘over there’ because they feel smug in their own world of black and white. After all, they are in the white part of the world where their preacher pats them on their head every week and tells them that they are better than that person ‘over there’.
Is it any wonder these people don’t venture out of their black/white bubble world to actually think for themselves and see the reality of the harsh world?
I’ve heard so-called Christian Social Conservatives actually say that poor people deserve to be poor because they ‘choose’ that lifestyle. That goes right along with their theory of women being raped because they ‘asked for it’ or dressed a certain way to entice the men.
Some people will believe anything that allows them to continue to live in their bubble world of black/white.
I can see the contention that hate crime legislation vears toward “thought crimes”, but how do those people respond to the contention that hate crimes actually target an entire group by their very nature, and aren’t those crimes bigger in some sense, than a crime that is not so motivated? Inquiring minds would like to know…
Let us say that I murder 100 people. My motive for doing so is Genocide. Isn’t my crime larger than 100 cases of first degree murder? How could/would someone argue that it is not the case?
Social Conservatives learned a long time ago that in order for their group to come together – there has to be an enemy to hate. This is why the hatred towards homosexuals and pro-choice people.
Liberals are not wired the same way. Liberals can go along as a loosely connected group and go about their lives letting others to live their life as they see fit.
Social Conservatives cannot do the same. For some reason, they believe they are on a mission from their God to eradicate all their perceived evils in the world.
Isn’t that how the Inquisition got started?
Thank you all for your comments.