December 6th, 2011
Janice Daniels is the newly elected mayor of Troy, Michigan. She’s also not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed. Even if the only other tool is a mallet. In fact, Janice is so dense that she thinks she’s “a good person.”
Daniels – who ran with a motto that surely sent her sixth grade grammar teacher into tears – sought to bring her private industry experience as an associate realtor to Troy so as to protect its limited, constitutional government and the interests of its leaders, We The People. And lest you doubt her “high standard of achievement in communications”, she has had her “Guest Opinions” published in the local paper. So there.
And the good people of Troy elected her with 52% of the vote. (I dunno, I don’t live there. But was the other smiley white female Republican realtor really a worse choice?)
But Janice has discovered that politicians are held to a higher standard than realtors. Higher, even, than guest opinionizeres. And comments made on Facebook are fair game.
Back in June, before Janice’s rise to power, she made a little comment in response to New York’s vote for marriage equality.
“I think I am going to throw away my I Love New York carrying bag now that queers can get married there.”
And when it was made public this week, the wheels fell off her wagon.
Folks are up in arms that Mayor Janice referred to gay people as “queers”. And Janice herself was quick to apologize.
“I may have said something like that,” she said. “I probably shouldn’t have used that kind of language, but I do believe marriage should be between one man and one woman.”
And when local students protested she demanded they “forgive” her.
“I’m a good person, I really am. I said one word that you don’t like. One word.”
But that particular word selection isn’t the issue. Yes it is undoubtedly true that Janice meant the word to be a slur. But calling gay people “queers” isn’t the problem.
Had Janice said “Oh my cousin is going to New York to marry her girlfriend. I can’t wait to go to my first queer wedding.” we’d all be so pleased. And her statement wouldn’t have been much better with any other word choice.
And it isn’t that Mayor Janice doesn’t support equality. She is entitled to “believe marriage should be between one man and one woman.” That, in and of itself, is not any indication of hatred or bigotry. Many good people with caring hearts and compassionate spirits have not yet evolved to the point where they see marriage laws in terms of equality.
But words are telling, and this sentence tells us a lot. Janice Daniels didn’t post on Facebook that she disagreed with New York’s law. Or that she was disappointed. Or that marriage should be defined on her terms. Janice didn’t mention the legislature or the law at all.
To Janice the issue isn’t over the state’s definitions. It’s about a certain group of people being allowed to do something. And, let’s be real, it’s not the “get married” part that has her in a tizzy. It’s hard to invest much emotion into weddings which we find objectionable, be it a drunken Vegas stunt, an octogenarian-golddigger match, or a reality show finale.
No, Janice’s real objection was that “queers can…”
In fact, Janice so objects to the fact that “queers can..” that she threatened to throw away her carry bag. She so objects to “queers can…” that, for a moment anyway, she no longer loved New York. The state had betrayed her. Not because it now allowed yet another class of marriages of which she didn’t approve, but because they voted and now “queers can…”
Janice can declare that she “loves everyone” all day long. But when it comes to discerning poor word selection from heart-felt animus, queers can.