The message is not shocking; the venue is.
If it were simply about the defense of funerals in general, then we should expect an equally fervent public response to have materialized after Phelps' appearances at AIDS funerals. That did not occur. That starts narrowing down the cause of the relative uproar. What's left as possible explanatory factors for the uproar happening now
? His talk about gay rights (and perhaps the heightened public status of issues like DADT and marriage), his talk about Iraq/foreign policy, soldiers and family, masculinity. I'll bet it's a fiery combination. Or, is there something else about this particular funeral that I've missed?
I fail to see the disconnect in the discussion here. Should we all preface our threads with a statement of support for gay rights?
I haven't said that, and I think that part is clearly hyperbolic. I can see how you probably felt I was being over the top too, though.
Personally, I can't help but feel somewhat accused by your implications. Looking back over the thread, I've only seen specifically military funerals mentioned a handful of times, and half of those mentions are now by you. For me, it isn't really a matter of who the funeral is for; it's the fact that they are harassing people who absolutely do not need to be harassed. I fail to see the "masculine-idyllic" slant in that opinion.
Okay, let me tone done and focus. If you think critically about society, then there is often room to admit responsibility for not recognizing how one shares in issues that are immediately pressing but apparently
(notice I didn't say actively or intentionally) being sidestepped by one's group for rather uncomfortable reasons. That being said, I grant you that I raised the anthem-singing imagery in response to probably too few specific posts. The thread title does
include "military" -- which makes it a little harder for me to just remove "the troops" from my evaluation of how it's all being framed here. I was also thinking in particular of Callie's (I think it was) mention of "insult to service." To which I might better say: If one says that the point of military service is to protect certain rights, then isn't it somehow self-contradictory to claim insult when people go out and exercise those same rights?
However, Will, you're correct that it didn't amount to good evidence that the whole thread was taking on that particular air. I wasn't actually presuming that most people here are
generally so masculinist or even so conservative. I was trying to stir up some discussion about what I still feel is a pretty significant area of omission.
As I posted earlier, Phelps has already himself inspired the creation of laws to protect funerals. Perhaps he will do so again with this case; I don't see that he should feel he has a lot to lose in that regard, assuming he's followed currently existing laws in his style of protest. I expect that he is going to use this case as a platform to inflate his position with the media. Now he has attention, yes because
he went to a funeral -- and a soldier's one to boot. The Supreme Court should not
care if part of his testimony is that (he may say with great emphasis) for example, the military is insufficiently defending its own policy of DADT and the President is not fully in line with DOMA and whatever else he can find. And yet, the Court has been known to render a judgment that affected real legal conditions well outside the initial scope of a case before: Think Citizens United.
I think Phelps will use the national attention surrounding the funeral incident to pump up his stature before the media (particularly Fox etc.) and perhaps other neo-conservative organizations. I expect the Court will either declare it simple protected speech or lay down yet another funeral safeguard law. To me, so far, that is not especially new. Phelps' agenda is to see how this can be spun against gay rights: Could the Court somehow pull another Citizens' United in his favor? What else can he do with his increased stature on the political right? Will some Swift Boat-style group of vocal "military advocates" show up to further his
cause of driving a thicker wedge between masculinist nationalist ideals and gay rights? All of this is going on all around the facade of that narrow "free speech v. funeral" thing. As Callie put it: Phelps does not only
do funerals. What he does keep doing is looking for a route to slam gays.