Carrie Prejean: Are Progressives Becoming as Intolerant as Conservatives?

Promoted. Originally posted 2009-05-07 13:44:37 -0500. -- GH


Carrie Prejean: Are Progressives Becoming as Intolerant as Conservatives?

I've always been proud to consider myself a progressive, because being a progressive meant that I was open-minded, willing to assess every issue on its own merit, and I'm tolerant of varying points of view. But it seems that many of today's "progressives" have corrupted the term. Though many of these people call themselves progressives, they are not progressive thinkers–they are progressive in name only. Over the years they seem to have somehow lost their way, and as a result, have managed to redefined the term "progressive" to simply mean, not conservative.

A case in point is the unconscionable way in which the so-called progressive community has demonized Carrie Prejean after she indicated, almost apologetically during the Miss America Pageant, that she thought marriage should be between a man and a woman. Why in the world did she say that?!! Thereafter, she was called a bitch, seminude photos of her have been posted on the Internet, and she's been generally, dragged through the mud. It is unbelievable that people who call themselves progressive could do that to that young woman.


While I 'm in total disagreement with her views on same-sex marriage, those are her views, and she has every right to them. She didn't try to shove her point of view down America's throat; she was specifically asked whether SHE thought same-sex marriage should be legalized. And she and she responded– quite honestly, diplomatically, and in my opinion, quite courageously, that she didn't. Then the judge, Perez, I think his name was, taped a video on Youtube calling her "a dumb bitch." So I ask you, what kind of progressive thinker can take the position that a person doesn't have a right to their own views? Perez even went so far as to dictate how Ms. Prejean SHOULD have answered the question. Who the Hell is he to tell a person what they should think?

People like, Perez, is more damaging to their cause than they are helpful, because in many cases, it's not the issue that people are against, they just don't like the people who represent the issue. I agree with Perez on this issue, but I don't like him. So if I was on the fence regarding same-sex marriage, I'd vote against it–not against the issue, but against him, and I'm certain that many progressive issues are being voted down for that very reason.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines a progressive as "A person who actively favors or strives for progress toward better conditions, as in society or government." Granted, Ms. Prejean's attitude toward same-sex marriage is far less than progressive, but she never claimed to be a progressive. She said she was a Christian, so there's nothing unusual for her to adhere to a belief system that she's been taught all of her life. On the other hand, however, for so-called progressives to denigrate this young lady as though she doesn't have a right to her private opinion, nor religious beliefs, is far more destructive to society and backward thinking, than anything that she's ever publicly uttered, at least to my knowledge--and such a position is certainly not a progressive point of view.

Many of the people who call themselves progressives today seem to have been infected by what old-school progressives considered their most ardent foe and the most pernicious bane on society--intolerance. It's no longer good enough to say that gays and lesbians should be afforded equal rights and be allowed to marry like anyone else in our society, now it is required that everyone must enthusiastically embrace that position–in spite of their religious beliefs, and even in their private thoughts. And it's no longer good enough to say that women deserve equal rights in the workplace, now, any woman who chooses to be a full-time mother and homemaker is considered a turncoat to the feminist movement, and "unenlightened."

And please don't let a woman use her femininity in the workplace to get ahead–just as men use their masculinity on a daily basis–she's immediately demonized. In fact, I'm virtually certain that Ms. Prejean's feminine beauty is playing a large part in her demonization. And the irony is, such demonization is often led by other women. Due to our leftist indoctrination, they fail to realize that's the very worst kind of sexual discrimination. They've allowed themselves to be convinced that the only way a woman can truly validate herself as being a worthy individual is to prove that she can be just like a man. A similar mindset is reflected in the Black community. Many Blacks feel like the only way that they can validate themselves is by proving how "White" they can be. Both assumptions are silly, premised on backward thinking, and are highly derogatory to what it means to be a woman, and/or, a Black person. Both President and First Lady Obama are excellent examples of the fact that you have to abandon neither your heritage nor your femininity to embrace excellence.

Thus, in this progressive's opinion, such thinking is the very height of ignorance. In fact, it's laying the groundwork for a new kind of latter-day conservatism. After all, it is not so much what Rush Limbaugh and the GOP leadership think that is so insidious, it's their belief that no one should be allowed to disagree with them. And any so-called progressives who share that mindset not only validate Limbaugh's point of view, but are in fact, conservatives themselves. The only difference between them and Limbaugh is that they're conservative regarding a different set of issues. They even share the conservative trait of hypocrisy.

A true progressive recognizes that the most important characteristic of any free and viable society is tolerance. They clearly understand that the only difference between the old U.S.S.R. and Nazi Germany was one was led by lift-wing radicals and the other by right-wing reactionaries. But in spite of that, they had more in common than they had that set them apart–they were both dictatorships, they were both oppressive, and like every dictatorship, they were both intolerant of individual beliefs.

The very same dynamic is at work, though to a much lesser degree, in this country. Thus, progressives must always remain cognizant of the fact that we corner the market on neither wisdom, intellect, nor morality. Therefore, once we begin to give priority to dogma over independent thought, we cease being progressives, and become just another group of fanatical wingnuts--like Perez Hilton.

Eric L. Wattree

A moderate is one who embraces truth over ideology, and reason over conflict.

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Putting it in the context of miscegenation, because the arguments of the group she joined, NOM, are all of the same arguments that were used back then.

Would you be writing the same thing about her had she said a black man should not be allowed to marry a white woman? Or a black woman to marry an asian man? Etc.?

Know Your Marriage History

Here is a great piece on the history of miscegenation laws and how they parallel the fight for the basic Civil Right that is Marriage Equality:

Why the Ugly Rhetoric Against Gay Marriage Is Familiar to this Historian of Miscegenation
By Peggy Pascoe

Ms. Pascoe is Associate Professor and Beekman Chair of Northwest and Pacific History at the University of Oregon. She is completing a book on the significance of miscegenation law in United States history.

We are in the midst of an attempt to ground a category of discrimination in the fundamental social bedrock of marriage law. I would argue that it is virtually impossible to understand the current debate over same-sex marriage without first understanding the history of American miscegenation laws and the long legal fight against them, if only because both supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage come to this debate, knowing or unknowingly, wielding rhetorical tools forged during the history of miscegenation law. The arguments white supremacists used to justify for miscegenation laws--that interracial marriages were contrary to God's will or somehow unnatural--are echoed today by the most conservative opponents of same-sex marriage. And supporters of same-sex marriage base their cases on the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, echoing the position the U.S. Supreme Court took when it declared miscegenation laws unconstitutional in the case of Loving v. Virginia. Both sides confront the structures of marriage law exclusion that were also forged during the history of miscegenation, including, as I show below, the legal maneuvering over the seemingly minor bureaucratic practice of issuing marriage licenses.

A Brief History of Miscegenation Laws (continue reading)


A little more basic facts on the origins of the Marriage License in the USA and its use as a tool for BIGOTS & RACISM.

Declarations Of Pride has a great piece up on this subject, from a very personal point of view, that includes some really good observations:


Yet, so many don't understand that rights in America are to be universal; guaranteed to every citizen under the law. Equal under the law is the other way it is expressed. Somewhere along our journey a percentage of Americans got confused, brainwashed, left-behind, whatever...And began to think of marriage as a religious doctrine not a civil construct. This misunderstanding of the nature of marriage is what has gotten us to this point.

Now, combine our need for salvation with our hate for things we don't' understand, and you have a straightforward American debate; rooted in puritanical history, conflated by individual moral superiority. This is a classic cycle we have played out over and over in our history. Whenever we are afraid of something or someone we don't understand we isolate them. Americans are not the fair-minded individuals they always claim to be. There is always some class of people unworthy of what the others have. We have lost our way, and that is why I speak on this so much.

Consider this: Marriage gets to party at the church. It gets a dress. It gets guests in pews. When the party is over, people will turn to God for guidance, but they turn to the state for a divorce!

To review; you come to the government to get married, and you go to the state to legally dissolve your marriage. You may go to church in between to help you nurture a loving relationship, but that is about as far as the relationship between faith and marriage goes.

Connecticut Man1 asked,

"Would you be writing the same thing about her had she said a black man should not be allowed to marry a white woman? Or a black woman to marry an asian man? Etc.?"


In short, absolutely.  My positions are never, ever based on personal considerations (btw, my brother is gay and he's been with the same partner for over 20 years).  I tend to live by a set of  personal "trusims" that I've developed over the years, and the one that applies to this situation is "Always respond to ignorance and/or bigotry with reason."  You see, it is my position that the only who is superior to me is the person that I allow to out think me (another one of my truism).


Eric L. Wattree

Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everybody who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

Hadn't seen you for a short while; figured you were having too much fun somewhere. ;)

Never!  While I do tend to spread my journalistic seed, this has long since become what I consider home.  It's just that I see this as primarily a political site, so when I write on non-political issues I don't that it's appropriate to post them on EM.  

I've also been a little under the weather--nothing serious, but just enough to make me listless and lethargic. For about a week or so all I wanted to do was sleep.  


Eric L. Wattree

Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everybody who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

There is a difference between passing a law banning racial intermarriage and say something like I don't think that a white and black couple should marry.

Similarly its one thing to say abortion should be illegal and another to say I would never have an abortion.

I agree with Eric that we should defend free speech. Certainly I don't think it is appropriate to denigrate the women in the way that apparently is taking place. She was asked a question and she answered it.

Eric I differ from you on the question of femininity and the workplace etc. It is very important to fight for women's right to equal treatment in the work place which means an environment in which she is not expected to trade sexual favors in return for a paycheck. Women are frequently the sole support of their family and it is intolerable that they should be paid less than a guy doing the same job. (And of course that is even if she has no dependants.

Children need to be nurtured by loving parents and good teachers. As is neither is too often the case. There is no reason that we can't have extended parental leave with pay, as is done in France for instance, and time off for either parent to deal with family emergencies. We need smaller class sizes. A good public health care system. The works! I think that divisiveness on issues such as how women best meet their own and their family's needs, what your personal views are on questions of race or sexual orientation, and so on (as long as you don't deny others their freedom) is a diversion. People have a right to go to church or stay away; to marry or remain single -- although I personally endorse the idea of civil union for everyone. IMNO Any other ceremonies or rituals should be a private matter.) That's just my two cents.

My concerns today are that kids are going hungry right now in the United States. People are losing their jobs and homes. People are dying for lack of timely medical care. Most people are scared about the future a nd what it holds for themselves, their families and their friends.

I think Eric are views are not that far apart even though I really miss the Michelle Obama we saw at the beginning of the campaign who was slammed for telling it like it was (when she said that now with her husband running for president she was proud of her country forthe first time, or wrods to that effect.) I was so proud of her. And like her I was proud of my country for the first time.


she no longer became just another person with a personal POV. She became an active political advocate for a hate group. I would show no less mercy to any other members of their group.

I'd also like to note that I have not posted on the subject of Prejean because I believe she is a misguided kid that has been indoctrinated with hate. The original knee-jerk reaction on the left was a bit over the top but pales in comparison to some of the things NOM has done or said.

I think I answered it pretty clearly and in context.

Free speech is fine. I like it because it exposes the haters and idiots for what they are. But lunatics better not expect the other side to just walk on by leaving garbage like that hangning out there as the last word.

There are consequences for words and actions.

What do they call it? Personal responsibility? heh

I clearly understand your point of view. But my article was really about Ms. Prejean, it was about the progressive mindset, and what it means to be a progressive.  Here's a response that I placed on Buzzflash:

"What's this article doing in buzzflash? We damn well BETTER be 'intolerant' of disgusting bigots like Prejean.To equate intolerance of bigotry with the desire of the far right to limit personal freedom is the heighth of ignorance.  Get these twisted republican talking points off buzzflash or you will lose quite a few readers."

I see--Prejean seeks to control behavior and she's wrong. You want to control speech, and you're right?

My brother is gay, and he's been with the same partner for 20 years. But in spite of that, I understand the importance to society that I not allow myself to be enlisted into the corps of irrational thought police.

And as for being read, if one can't speak what one see as the truth, being read simply becomes an exercise in egomania. I don't write just to be read. I write to contribute my thoughts to the community of ideas. But in a world of your design, that would be meaningless, since the only thoughts that I would be able to communicate would be those that had already been pre-approved.

Thus, it completely escapes me how you can't see that you and Republican wingnuts and bigots are different sides of the same coin. If FOX News and Republican wingnuts are reminiscent of Nazi Germany, you, at the very least, represent the U.S.S.R.

Eric L. Wattree

Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everybody who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

As usual I agree with most of what you said, but I think you misunderstood my meaning about women in the workplace.  I didn't mean that women should have to trade sexual favors for a paycheck.  That places the woman in the role of a victim, and I don't want to see anyone victimized.  But on the other hand, I think women should also have rights equal to men when it comes to their right to untilize ALL of her assets as women in the workplace.  After all, there are absolutely no restraints placed on men.

If a man has a powerful female superior, there are no restraints placed on his trying to "impress" (woo) her.  If he pulls it off, generally the response is, "You lucky dog!"  I know--me and my woman (who also happens to be my boss) are discussing the pros and cons of coming out of the closet and getting married as I write--of course, the fact we're a couple has been the world's worse kept secret for about 2 years now, people just didn't know for sure ("Girl, the boss'll be back any minute. You better get out of Eric's office).  The situation is dealt with in a very lighthearted, matter of fact, kind of way.  But if our positions were reversed, they'd be calling my woman a slut.  That's discriminatory. 

Eric L. Wattree

Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everybody who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

I imagine you have read Barack Obama's books. He tells how he met Michelle Obama. She was his boss and he pursued her for a long time (a year I think) before she would relent and date him.


That's right Carol,

But just imagine what people would have been saying, to this day, if he'd been her boss.  She'd still be trying to prove that she didn't sleep her way to the White House.   I have a proble with that.  I also have a problem with the fact that a woman is assumed to be dumb, a slut, or both if she just happens to be attractive, and openly enjoys being a woman. 

That's the kind of woman that my friend is. She's beautiful, and works at it (she pays extra for a 5 a.m. appointment with the hairdresser so she can come to work looking her best), she never wears pants in to work, she's constantly having formal discussions with her female subordinates about the importants of being a lady,  and has even called me on the carpet about watching what comes out of my mouth when women are when are presented. I resented it at first--I thought she was being excessive because I only said, blah, blah, blah, "my ass." But now that I've gotten used to her standards in the workplace, I can appreciate them, because she's created a far more professional environment.  I think she's also contributed to making me a better person. 

But when we're away from work, she becomes a totally different person--and you know what, the simple contrast between her two personas makes our private life extremely exciting.  It's almost like having two women, and I love it.  She'll be here shrotly.  She called and asked me not to eat breakfast, she wanted to come and make something special (she'll have to drive 33 miles).

She's like no other individual I've ever met--male or female. That's why I'm always on such a mission regarding society's attitude towards women.  We're so closed minded in most cases that we've never really explored a woman's full potential--and that includes many women.  But thanks to Michelle Obama, I think that's about to change.  I think we're about to find out that the feminist model of what a woman "should be" is also out of touch.

The bottom line is, a woman should be whatever she chooses to be.  Period.


Eric L. Wattree

Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everybody who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

One thing that's important to remember is that it was the willingness of many having a mindset similar to Prejean's that were willing to allow the narrow social view they hold to be used to leverage hate-mongering as ammo for the political weapon of the Rove politics/policy machine over nearly a decade.  

I can't blame too many falling to the left of center for responding reflexively to such viewpoints although I'm sorry that the hatemongers controlled our social context for long enough that it hardened such reflexes among people who'd normally be the most thoughtful.  

When Americans can return to a tableau that permits meeting somewhere in the middle, once again, I'll no longer have to qualify my statements with the preface, "I used to be moderate".  You express many ideas that I used to embrace whole-heartedly (and, perhaps, hope to return to) but operatiing on their basis for the last ten years was essentially a way to commit political suicide.  

Certainly, it was, against a machine that ate those ideas as appetizers before using full-fledged hate to move the masses as the GOP wanted 'em moved.  

The masses that moved in concert had leaders who were fully in line with the agenda and THEY are responsible for the reflexes they set into the neuromusculature of knee-jerks on the left.

With all that said, however, I agree that her willingness to voice her opinion was a courageous thing no matter how substantially differently that I see things.  

It's only been six months, remember, and Rush Limbaugh is the ostensible leader of the sheeple.  Like I said, I hope that someday we can return to a social context where there can be a middle ground, but with conjobs like Limbaugh around, the reflexes of too many lefties may take a long time to recondition to 'moderation' any time soon.  


"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government in a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." - Thomas Jefferson

And the fact that I am trying my ass off to build coalitions. But I can't, not for the life of me, see any middle ground between bigoted views and equality. There is no real grey area. You can't have "half equality". It just isn't the kind of issue where there is a halfway point that one side can give a little on. You either have it or you don't. 

but you obviously recognized the strains of our earlier discussion on this issue.  Here, I was just trying to put that undertone out to Eric as a probably largely-unrecognized (and still, IMHO, warranted) element seen in disagreements of opinion.  

What I didn't add to my recognition of 'her courage' was that she still was a worthy target.  Sure, voice opinions, but then be willing to suck on the flying flack they deserve.

UPDATE >> PS.  I knew I'd written about this elsewhere, just happened to find it tonight, on dailykos.  If it's not obvious, being moderate used to matter alot, LOL!


I used to be 'moderate'

And before I ever discovered dailykos and the like, I actually used to want to reach out for real dialogue. It was probably before dailykos existed, I guess.

But it was in front of the 2004 election and after finding so many times, that so many of my counterparties would in the end, prove to be liars and propagandists, I gave it up.

It was a forum that included a spectrum of people ranging from those who called themselves anarchists to a self-described white supremacist.

On the other side of the experience, I finally learned just to do what the other moderates had learned, to work on perfecting my swing of the verbal baseball bat and to enjoy it.

There's only so long one can enjoy that, however, and I left.  Glad your experience was more fulfilling.

Btw, I'm still a moderate, it's the scale that has shifted!


"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government in a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." - Thomas Jefferson