Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Beware of Tempting Bait

This weekend the National Organization for (?) Marriage is bringing its freak show of hatred to Florida with their "Summer Bus Tour." Much of LGBTQ Florida is set to respond to their hatred with counter-protests. I'm hoping to be able to be there when it happens. We cannot let their hatred go unanswered.

I'd like to remind all our leaders and participants, though, NOT to take the bait being offered by NOM. It has become abundantly clear from their tour events, so far, that they are looking for one thing: an opportunity to paint themselves as the victims in this culture war. They are trying their damnedest to bait us into hateful response.

Please remember, my friends, that the most successful counter protests in recent memory have been peaceful. A response that resonates with peace and love is far more powerful and effective than screamed vitriol. I know, I know, it's human nature to respond to hate with hate. I know that it's counter to our strongest instincts to use peace, love, humor or even song, in response to the blatant discriminatory posturing from groups like NOM.

Reflect for a moment, though, on recent counter protests that have deflated the cause of hate and attracted national attention due to their positive message. One instance that comes to mind was a spontaneous response by school children to the message of anti-immigrant hatred being extolled from across the street from their own school. See the video here. Then there were counter protests of the 'tongue-in-cheek' variety such as the University of Chicago and ComicCon responses to Westboro Baptist Church. Even on the current tour of hate by NOM, I've heard of peaceful responses that were far more eloquent than confrontational screaming matches. For example, I heard of one counter protest where participants simply chanted "You need a hug! A big, gay hug!"

In short, I'm urging ALL participants at this weekend's counter protest in Tampa Orlando not to take the bait by responding in the natural, hateful manner. One idea that springs instantly to my mind is to have NOM protesters vastly outnumbered by a gigantic yet TOTALLY SILENT crowd, standing with their backs to NOM. Another might be more of the "flash mob" variety, wherein a large mob sings or dances to something like the Beatles' "All You Need is Love."

A direct action like this will get us far more media attention and much more positive exposure than if we let the mob scream its contempt at the hate bus crowd. You will be approached by people whose sole intent is to get you to react on camera. PLEASE don't take the bait!

Really, "all you need is love!"

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