According to former governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee, America has different points of view. For example, Huckabee said he has friends who use profanity, while he chooses not to. He also referred to the fact that some people really like classical music, but that genre isn’t his favorite.
One of Huckabee’s points of view, however, seems to ignore the concept of “civil liberties”: case-in-point, his opinion on members of the LGBT community.
In response to a question about his views on gay marriage, Huckabee tried to use tokenism of his gay friends as justification for his opinion that homosexuality is a “lifestyle,” in the same way that drinking constitutes a “lifestyle.”
People can be my friends who have lifestyles that are not necessarily my lifestyle. I don’t shut people out of my circle or out of my life because they have a different point of view […] I don’t drink alcohol, but gosh — a lot of my friends, maybe most of them, do. You know, I don’t use profanity, but believe me, I’ve got a lot of friends who do. Some people really like classical music and ballet and opera — it’s not my cup of tea.
The issue with the argument of “I have x type of friends, therefore I am not x-ist/x-phobic,” is that it ignores the larger problem behind biases. That logic assumes that because you care about an individual afflicted by a larger issue, you’re automatically sympathetic to the needs of that individual’s group as a whole; however, this line of thinking also lumps a huge population of very different individuals together. It’s impossible to be tuned into the needs of every individual in a group. But Huckabee tried to dismiss the “homophobic” label by pointing out that he knows members of the LGBT community.
That is tokenism, and it does little to create progress in our political conversations.
There’s a difference between not jamming to Mozart and refusing to accept members of the LGBT community, whom Huckabee says are making lifestyle choices he doesn’t agree with, like swearing.
Musical genres do not work on the same social hierarchy that human beings do. Musical genres do not have to fight for rights based on tax benefits, spousal privileges or protection from discrimination and hate crimes in the workplace. Musical genres do not face bigotry in the way that marginalized groups of people do.
In fact, it’s probably pretty rare to be killed for playing a composition by Beethoven. But between the beginning of 2013 and March 2014, more than 590 members of the LGBT community were murdered across the Americas.
When conservative legislators like Huckabee try to diminish the importance of embracing LGBT progress, it highlights how much they don’t understand the gravity of the group’s dire situation.
Refusing to accept a human being for who they are is not the same thing as preferring coffee to tea in the morning. If Huckabee makes a run for the White House in 2016, Americans can only hope someone tells him the difference soon enough for him to understand.