Monday, August 30, 2010

No Quarter in Southie

Odious, irrational and hostile well describe the recent Tea Party rally at Castle Island. Anyone unaware of what the anti-gay/anti-marriage equality types are thinking can get a fill at MassResistance's video recap.

Surely the most ear-worthy vid is of the dissenting judge on the MA Supreme Judicial Court when it ordered Wacko Hurley's crew to let LGBT folk march in Southie's St. Patrick's Day parade in 1995. Now retired Judge Joseph Nolan's sole disagreement with the otherwise unanimous SJC ruling in the case is here. While he admits to being from Dorchester and publicly rued not coming from South Boston, he is a local hero in the latter because the U.S. Supreme Court overturned our high court unanimously on my birthday in 1995.

His speech is worth straining through the steady rain and intermittent jets for how he presents the underlying issues. For 15 years ago, note that his long dissent was virtually all about First Amendment rights (of Hurley's group and certainly not of the gay would-be marchers).

Despite Boston paying for massive police details, EMTs and others support services, that Veterans Council held it was a private affair. They paid for the parade permit and organized the event. Thus, Nolan held, "It is important to note that the Veterans Council does not need a narrow or distinct theme or message in its parade for it to be protected under the First Amendment." He comes at that several different ways, but always arrives at this same point.

Tellingly enough, his dissent and the recent speech are entirely different. We don't know whether Nolan was thinking sin and his personal morality back then. He certainly was on Castle Island.

He was recently very much a stereotypical winger and as rigid as any other Tea Party speaker. Listen to his pronouncements as he says that neither dialog (a term he uses with great derision several times) nor debate on the issues will work for homosexuals or their acceptors. He said (unlike 15 years ago) he was not afraid to use terms like sin, morals, good and evil. As he put it, "Don't dialog with people whose morals are no good and who claim that they have a right to be immoral."

The Lord didn't dialog

He justifies the shout-down approach with his version of Jesus. Nolan said, "The Lord didn't dialog. He asserted. He challenged."

Nolan said as a former judge, he had a long history of debate. However he does not view GLBT issues as debatable. "There is nothing debatable about our morals!" He added that these were as provable as math; "We're dealing with the multiplication tables of moral life."

I for one am pleased that his minor but in the end pivotal figure in the Hurley case came out, if you pardon. It's theoretically possible that in his dissent, Nolan really cared about First Amendment issues and not trying to strike out from a personal religious and moral stance. I doubt that though.

The other speaker vids are pretty predictable. For example, the ever risible Brian Camenker mumbled out his usual drama-queen descriptions. Anything related to diversity or supporting teens struggling with sexual identity issues was an "emotional and intellectual assault on kids," "unbelievable," or "beyond sad and tragic." Ho hum. He's been pulling the same phrases out of his bag of wheezes for smaller and smaller audiences, as the world moves on.

Nolan best illustrated the Tea Party spirit and expression. His socially regressive positions are absolute. That's what we can expect at least through the 2012 elections. He would have us believe that he is moral, with the corollary that anyone who dissents from this dissenter are both immoral and intellectually wrong.

He says he'll not participate in discussion or deal with differing views or facts. He'll assert and presumably either shout you down or walk away if you are to disagree.

How calming that must be to him to be so binary. How tedious for those even a little more open minded.

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