Friday, 5 September 2014

You are either part of the solution...

... or you are part of the problem.

You may have heard or read that quote.

I was reminded of that quote when I read some of the comments on the Wear White/Pink Dot issue.

Well, one comment in particular. It was a rambly comment (much like my posts), and I couldn't be sure that I was getting the gist of his meaning, so apologies if I have misunderstood his comment. Here is part of his comment (note: the "him" in his comments refers to Lawrence Khong):
What does the Pink Dot event mean to you? If it is celebrating homosexuality as an accepted, alternative lifestyle, does it represent your views too? If your answer is a definite YES, thanks, I'll leave it there. If your answer is a definite NO, or NEUTRAL, as I believe there are many, pardon my question. Must one with a definite-NO answer be confined to his own closet in this society? If we cannot openly disagree, then we cannot also eventually agree. Why persecute him [Lawrence Khong] for defending more than just his rights and his views, if it is not also a worthy cause to fight for? [sic]
As I read this comment and tried to understand the point he was making, I got the impression (from the above and the rest of his commentary) that what he was trying to say was along the lines of the above quote from Eldridge Cleaver: "You are either part of the solution, or you are part of the problem."

If I understood him correctly, his point seems to be that, a) there is a group that is pro-LGBT. b) there is a group whose values lead them to be anti-LGBT. You have to pick a side. If you haven't picked a side, in this struggle of values, you are part of the problem.

It is either a variation of Martin Niemoller's sermon or prayer or poem; or a parody of it:
First they came for the Jews
But I did not speak up
For I was not a Jew...
So his point was, they are pushing for gay rights, but you are not speaking up because you are not gay. Then they will push for gay marriage rights and redefine marriage. And family. And... so on.

I have two problems with this proposition.

Firstly, it is a false dichotomy of "For" and "Against".

The Eldridge Cleaver quote is rousing. It is a call to arms; a call to action. You are either part of the solution or you are part of the problem. You are either pro-LGBT or you are anti-LGBT. Take a side! You can't sit on the fence!

The anti-LGBT camp would like to make it a dichotomy. You are either for us, or against us. You are either for family values, traditional values, or you are not. You are either for the church, or you are against the church and the values it is upholding.

Simple isn't it?

Except, Eldridge Cleaver was one of the leaders of the Black Panther - a militant group committed to armed struggle and revolution in the US in the late 60s and 70s.

And his "part of the solution or part of the problem" quote is precisely to raise support, rally supporters, and rouse them to action.

Once you understand his intent, the quote makes more sense.

And you ask yourself, is it really a dichotomy? Are there really only two positions? Either being the solution or being the problem? What am I being the solution to? What am I being the problem of? Which is the solution and which is the problem?

Is Pink Dot the problem? Is Wear White the solution? Or is it the other way around?

Why do I have to choose to wear pink or wear white?

It is a false dichotomy being presented by this commenter.

And you should be aware of it. You have a choice, and you choice is not just A - wear white, or B - wear pink. Nor are you limited to being Pro-LGBT or Pro-family.

The comments and criticism of Lawrence Khong are mostly valid and accurate. His views are at the very least reactionary, and may even be considered provocative.

And not very Christian.

Khong, and people like the commenter realises that the Pink Dot event is dangerous to their values, because it does the very reasonable thing

"Whoever is not against us, is for us" said Jesus (from Mark 9:40, and Luke 9:50). This is a very inclusive, tolerant approach. It is exactly opposite of Eldridge Cleaver's quote.

It is actually closer to the Pink Dot's philosophy. They invite people to join them, but they do not assume that if you do not join them, that you are against them.

[Note: It is quite dangerous/confusing to use the Bible to make decisions. Because while Luke at 9:50 reports Jesus as saying, "Whoever is not against you is for you", just two chapters later at 11:23, he reports Jesus as saying, "whoever is not with me is against me".  Go figure.]

[Warning: This is not an invitation for you to share your knowledge of the Bible with me.]

Secondly, there is an attempt to shut down the voice of the middle ground. The commenter's point, if I got it right is along this line (this is a paraphrase):
If you are for LGBT, by all means defend your position. But those who are against LGBT will also defend our position. As for the rest of you Neutrals, stay out of it! You have no values and so have no position and you should NOT try to stop those with values.
Does that seem a fair reading of his (rambly, slightly incoherent) comment?

As a middle-grounder, I find his position offensive and defensive. Offensive because of his presumption of the false dichotomy he presented leads him scorch the middle ground as irrelevant. Defensive, or overly-defensive because he realises that the Wear White are losing the middle-ground. Thus his need to present the middle-ground as spoilers, perhaps? With nothing relevant to say?

Here's a quote from this earlier post:
The message of the Pink Dot event is simply: We are people too. End discrimination against LGBT! 
The message of the Wear White movement is: We are right! Continue Discrimination against the LGBT!
Another way of looking at the situation is this: the LGBT community feels discriminated and would like to do what EVERY Singaporean has the right to do: Complain.

Complain about how they are seen, treated, and possibly discriminated.

The Wear White movement seems bent on not letting them complain.

I think that is down right Un-Singaporean!


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