Dear Clint McCance: STFU – a REAL Message of Hope
If you haven’t heard the story, a Midland, AR school board member recently said on his Facebook page (allegedly. The account has either been removed or made completely private) that “fags” should die. Responding to “Spirit Day” (a movement I was also against, though for very different reasons), Clint McCance posted a giant screed including how he enjoys the fact that gay people can’t procreate, and that they often infect each other with AIDS and die.
You can read the alleged comments at The Advocate. (Note: For some reason, the site seems to be having load issues today. Maybe it’s just me, but you might have a bit of a wait.)
Let’s take this issue from the lightest aspects to the most serious.
First, McCance’s grasp of the English language is tenuous at best.
I dont care how people decide to live their lives. They dont bother me if they keep it to thereselves. It pisses me off though that we make a special purple fag day for them. I like that fags cant procreate. I also enjoy the fact that they often give each other aids and die. If you arent against it, you might as well be for it.
OK. That’s about it for the “light.”
I did a lot of web surfing before writing this post. I looked at reactions, which were predictably horrified and disgusted. I joined the “Fire Clint McCance” Facebook group, because this man should not be in charge of education. Not only does he exhibit an astonishing lack of it himself, but we hardly need someone who encourages any young person to commit suicide making decisions for anyone’s kids. Any decisions at all.
One troubling story is how a high school student, after attending a school board meeting either directly connected or related to this story, went home and killed himself. What could possibly happen at a school board meeting worth ending one’s life?
Predictably, I also read the reactions leading to the conclusion of: we need to end hate speech! And I agree that hate speech should be shouted down, but I have a sick feeling what some people mean is: we need to enact legislation making hate speech illegal. To which I definitely disagree.
Consider for a moment what might have happened had McCance been afraid to make such statements due to potential criminal investigation. OK, so some people’s feelings might have been spared, but there would still have been an elected official thinking it’s perfectly fine for kids to commit suicide. Stifling McCance’s speech would have done nothing to alter his opinions.
I want it to be perfectly legal to run through the streets carrying giant swastika and chanting, “I hate Jews!” Because I hate Jews? No! A thousand times no. Because I want to know who the Jew haters are! I want to know who the “fag” haters are. I want people like McCance to feel legally entitled to practice the first amendment, because when there is a bee in the room, I like to know where it is. Of course, the flip side to this is that McCance made his comments on Facebook, and Facebook is entitled to its first amendment rights, too. If they feel the statements should be removed from their servers, they should do so.
According to a follow-up article at The Advocate, McCance may not be fired for his remarks. Indeed, it may not be possible to fire him, as he is an elected official. But now people know what type of person McCance is. It may be possible to recall him through a special election. It is certainly possible to not vote for him again, thus effectively ending his employment with the Midland School District.
Also, this is a perfect opportunity to show gay youth the appropriate response to such despicably homophobic remarks (because, yes. Sometimes the word homophobia is appropriate, and this is that time.) You do not – do not – go and make yourself a gay martyr by throwing yourself off a bridge. If you do that, you are cheating your family and friends of your continued existence, and you are cheating yourself from meeting the person you will one day become. What you do is … succeed. You hold your head up high, tell the McCance’s of this world to go eff themselves, and you carry on with your life as if the words didn’t hurt.
Because they don’t.
You do not give the McCances of this world the satisfaction of winning. You don’t get depressed and sad. You fight back.
The question is how. Do you wear special t-shirts and talk about how hard your life is? Sure, if you want to. I won’t be joining you though. Because I am much, much more than an orientation. And so are you. Do you hide behind a government guaranteeing your right to not feel badly about yourself? It’ll never happen. No government has – or should have – that kind of power. It’s simply not possible or practical.
No. You make up your own damn mind as to your self-worth. Because here’s what nobody is telling you directly, though the signs are all around you. Society hates people like McCance and Fred Phelps more than it hates you or what you do in your bedroom. You have every chance to succeed in life, no matter what social obstacle is put in your way. McCance? Well, as far as I can tell, he’s already lost.