16 February 2009

A glimmer of light

In response to Ernest Smith's intemperate outburst in Parliament denying gays the right of association and to bear arms due to their "abusive and violent" nature, the Gleaner editorial has displayed a surprisingly mature tone. Time was when the Gleaner could not bring itself to publish the word gay without quotation marks. There has been a dawning enlightenment tinting their position, in sharp contrast to the Observer's which seems to be descending into the shades of the basest common denominator.

As a lawyer and legislator, Smith appears not to be "particularly engaged with expansive issues of human rights, the relationship and balance between the State and the individual and, in the broader sense, the expansion of people's rights and freedoms," the Gleaner observes. The editorial even raps the Police Officers Association for not decrying Smith's hate speech instead of merely protesting their honor, having been caught in the cross-spittle of the MP's fulminations. It goes on to throw out a dare to any MP who would move to censure him.

This is the same Ernest Smith who called for virginity tests for schoolgirls about a year ago. Hate to admit, I happened to have gone to school with him and even then he came off as a pompous buffoon, expressing his ambition to become Prime Minister. I hope the electorate wakes up to its responsibility and puts paid to that notion, or it will deserve the government by crackpot it gets.

While rien a faal ahn doti stil tof, we have to acknowledge that some progress has been made with regard to published attitudes, this editorial being an example, along with supportive letters to the editor which have been in the majority. Time was when the homophobic hysteria and condemnation would have been the norm with perhaps a lone dissenting voice. If nothing else, Smith's diatribe has brought out this more balanced, rational response we might not have known of otherwise.

11 comments:

Long said...

Yes, I have been noticing that Gleaner's editorials regarding debates about same-sex sexuality are increasingly cogent and on point. Think of where Lloyd Smith's argument in today's Observer is right now; that's where the editorials used to be. Change is incremental but always possible. Maybe someone should tell Ernie Smith.

walk good,

Long Bench

yocahuna said...

Someone has told Ernie Smith. The JLP has distanced themselves from his apoplexy and the PNP's Ronnie Thwaites has called him on it.
http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20090219/lead/lead4.html

Thwaites, along with Delroy Chuck, Donald Rhodd and Ossie Harding, is one of the handful of legislators who have called for decriminalization of same-sex behavior. Incremental change and thankful for small mercies.

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