I live in a rural area. My sprawling metropolis of roughly 8k up here in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is populated with what seems like an endless supply of conservatives. There's small L libertarian style conservatives, neo-cons, and various shades of other types (socially liberal, fiscally conservative [though these are rare]).

I've documented some of my conversations and political adventuring here before. Lately, it seems like I've been out of the house more often, so I end up hearing more and more stupidity out in public.

Interested in the latest batch that actually has a happy ending for once? Over the fleur-de-kos we go...

I play racquetball 4 times a week because I'm overweight and trying to cut down. It's fun, it's entertaining and it doesn't feel like exercise. Since the couple friends I had who play with me haven't lately, I've taken to going to the gym and batting the ball around, hoping for people to show up that will let me play with them.

Which happened. I have a regular game twice a week with a few older guys. After a couple weeks of playing the game and just taking off, we ended up sitting around a little bit yesterday and discussing random things. They assume I'm a right winger because I'm a firearm instructor so they ended up talking freely. A couple things caught my attention, especially coming from self described libertarian conservatives.

1. They do not approve of Romney. (I'm thinking, hey, this is a good start.)
2. They (both white. The third guy, also white, had left at this point) put forth the 'black-on-black' crime rigamarole. I pointed out that this black-on-black thing is bullshit; what they are worrying about is criminal-on-criminal crime, which is not skin colour related. I also explained that most firearm related homicides are committed by people with a criminal record or otherwise engaged in criminal enterprises. That made sense to them, but I have no doubt that they'll revert to the 'black-on-black' crime thing the next time they're discussing it, just because it seemed so ingrained in their way of thinking.
3. Abortion, strangely (to my thinking anyway) never entered our conversation.
4. LGBT. I'm actually going to stop the list and break this out so it's the rest of the diary.

They ended up talking about some TV with a gay character. I don't remember what show (I don't have TV) but when they mentioned him, the conversation took a distinct turn for the worst. They did NOT approve of his lifestyle choices (yeah, I know) and didn't think he deserved the same rights as the rest of us.

So I started out by asking why they didn't support marriage equality (framing...always framing) and received the typical defense of marriage bullshit coupled with some Christian crap. I've learned a few things on DK that I could respond with.

Bunched them together for easier reading:

ME: Why should the government NOT recognize marriage equality? The government is not based on Christianity, so why should we follow their system of beliefs?

THEM: Of course the government's based on Christianity...(BS reasons).

ME: Then why did the Treaty of Tripoli say that we are not a Christian nation? (I messed up. It says the government is not founded on the Christian religion.)

THEM: That's just recent secularism invading our Christian government.

ME: In the late 1700s/early 1800s? (I couldn't remember the year. It's actually 1797.)

THEM: Nothing to say

ME: So let's remove religious reasons from this conversation. Hell, what happens if Muslims or Buddhists become a majority in this country. Are we going to base our laws on those religions? Separation of church and state...

THEM: Well, it's still an attack on marriage.

ME: More people getting married is an attack on marriage? How? Wouldn't the massive divorce rate be more of an attack on marriage?

THEM: It defies the traditional view of marriage! (Completely ignored the divorce comment.)

ME: So? Traditions change. The traditional view of marriage was that white people and black people shouldn't marry. That changed and for the better.

THEM: Well, yeah, my daughter-in-law is a coloured. (Exact quote) But that's still ok because it's man and wife. It's Adam and EVE! The parts fit, it's how God intended it.

ME: Seriously? Didn't we just discuss the religious aspect of things?

At this point I whipped out my smart phone and played the following clip for them:

They decided to move on. Excellent.

ME: So from the sounds of it, you both support DOMA and a federal law defining what marriage is...?

THEM: Of course, we need to protect the institution of marriage.

ME: Didn't you mention that you were libertarians? How does that jive? Shouldn't you be supporting states rights and the ability for each state to decide for themselves? Hey, I know you're both gun guys (came up in a previous conversation) and can't stand the laws of Illinois, NY, CA, and the fact that your (one guy in particular) Wisconsin carry permit is only good in 14 states. Shouldn't ALL states recognize licenses issued by other states?

THEM: Well, yeah...huh. Never thought of it that way.

ME: Listen, you don't like gay guys. It doesn't matter. You don't base laws on likes or dislikes. You might not have your daughter in law if that white/black marriage bullshit was still in place. I'm an atheist. (News to them at this point.) When we become a majority, should we outlaw theism based on our personal likes or dislikes? Constitutional protections should apply to everyone equally, regardless of race, gender, or religious belief.

GUY 1: I still don't buy it. It just gives me the willies to see two gay men together.
GUY 2: Yeah, I don't like it either, but if we truly don't want to be hypocrites, then we should support gay marriage. I don't want to be outlawed if someone doesn't like my lifestyle.
GUY 1: Wait, what?
GUY 2: Well, they should have the same rights we do.

At this point, they proceed to argue back and forth. I had to leave, but when I left them, they were still standing outside the racquetball court. Guy 2 continued to argue from the new point of view I had presented them with.

I'll count this as a minor success. Who knows if it'll take? Hell, I'm surprised I found a conservative that actually cared about being ideologically consistent.

Originally posted to KVoimakas on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 09:00 AM PDT.

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