straw man – (noun) A type of argument, an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position
Straw man arguments are in vogue, no question about it. So much so that federal policy makers are basing entire legislative agendas on their flimsy foundations. In a land where truth is subjective and logic optional, a Straw Man rules supreme.
Advocates of so-called gay marriage are fond of framing the debate in terms of rights and equality. Talk to anyone who supports so-called gay marriage and before you get 90 seconds into the conversation they will mention that they believe it is time for marriage equality. The implication is that anyone who is not for so-called gay marriage is against equality.
You will be bludgeoned with how the so-called gay marriage movement is this generation’s equivalent to Selma and that anyone who has moral reservations about homosexuality probably would have been holding a 2×4 outside of Central High School in Little Rock too. They will tell you that they just want folks to be able to love whoever they want to love. Translation: anyone who disagrees with me wants to tell people whom they can and cannot love.
After 5 minutes, it has already been established that you are a racist, hateful bigot who thinks they can control whom a person loves. That you refuse to tolerate those different from you because you believe they should not have the same rights as every other American. And this is the rhetorical ditch in which conservatives have been willing to sit, dejected and despondent, trying to curry favor with the Diversicrats under a “big tent” strategy.
It is a shame that we do not teach rhetoric in our classrooms anymore. The reason why straw men arguments are so prevalent today is that the average American does not have the rhetorical chops to recognize them for what they are: nice, steaming piles of bullroar. In each of these arguments, the so-called gay marriage advocates are attacking a target which is misrepresentative of the conservative position. But since conservatives are inept at representing their position on this issue in a cogent and winsome manner, these attacks tend to stick.
Marriage equality – If you are not for so-called gay marriage then you are not for marriage equality! Or so this straw man goes. The point which never gets discussed is the fact that we already have marriage equality in this country. Case in point, I have a good friend whom I have known since 1st grade. I love the guy. I can no more marry this man, for tax benefits or love, than two gay males can marry each other. No matter how much I love him, I cannot bequeath property to him in the same manner someone else could to their spouse. By the same token, a gay man is free to marry any woman who will have him, for tax benefits or love. This is marriage equality and it is here today.
Of course this is an unacceptable answer to the so-called gay marriage crowd because the basis for their demands is not love, despite all of their catchy slogans, it is sex. And that just doesn’t sound quite as catchy on the banner for the Lutheran church bake sale.