How to Inspire a Movement
June 27th, 2013
Our opponents are putting their bravest faces. Thomas Peters, NOM’s Communications Director, works with a group called Catholic Vote and is pushing the slogan, “The Supreme Court has not ended the debate. It has started a movement.”
That’s an odd slogan, practically an admission that they haven’t managed start a movement up to now. It makes them sound like a blustering loser. And what on earth does the antigay camp in general, and NOM in particular, know about starting or even inspiring a movement?
Actually, quite a bit. In fact they’ve already done it, by following these steps.
- Target a tiny minority in the nation’s wealthiest and most populous state.
- Shock the minority by stripping away a basic human right, one that affects their daily lives in a thousand ways.
- Prove to them they cannot protect their liberty through a polite and deferential silence.
- Force them to fight back by dehumanizing them, declaring their relationships inferior, and their very existence a threat to children.
- Make sure you’ve chosen a state with an enormous media industry, one that is a beacon to the nation’s aspiring creative class.
- Make sure you’ve chosen a minority represented heavily in that industry.
- Tell ridiculous lies about the minority, lies that will outrage their straight coworkers, their friends and family, lies that can’t stand up in court.
- Finally, then, all that’s left is to inspire this minority with what experts call a SMART goal — something specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
And repealing Prop 8 was one smart goal.
Bingo! You’ve created a movement. You’ve created a whole generation of activists and reignited the passion of generations that came before. I’m a living example. I never got involved in the struggle until the antigay industrial complex inspired me to. You need a rally? I’ll launch a rally. And I already create instructional videos for work — why not do a few for the cause?
So it went. You like parties? I like parties. Let’s turn them fundraisers! Let’s make signs and graphics and blogs. Let’s write lesbians and gays into sitcoms and dramas, making them neither villains nor saints, treating them like real people. Let’s go door-to-door and website-to-website, sharing our stories. Let’s create a message of hope, dignity, optimism, and American idealism. Let’s inspire and teach the rest of the country, and let the rest of the country inspire and teach us.
Let’s go on being true — let’s just do it louder.
Of course, California wasn’t the first state to achieve marriage equality — it wasn’t even among the first ten. The fight didn’t begin in this state and it doesn’t end here. And frankly, California’s first lessons came from its mistakes and were about what not to do — not to be hidden, oblique, abstract. But still: California’s the state where NOM worked the hardest and ended up provoking the biggest response, poking the biggest tiger, releasing the biggest torrent, opening the biggest wallet — whatever metaphor you like.
So ultimately we have to give NOM credit. They do know how to inspire a movement. And as a result, Prop 8 and DOMA have been wiped from our nation.