Letters to the editor

No room for anti-gay rhetoric here

Posted

To the editor:

As someone who spends my days working as the editor of Gay City News, the city’s LGBTQ newspaper, I was chagrined to be the target of anti-gay language from a deliveryman in my Riverdale apartment building on Oct. 26.

As the son of the owner of a nearby business was upstairs making his delivery, his driver’s vehicle was blocking the pedestrian entrance to my building on Palisade Avenue. I asked the driver to move forward to the sign where cars are directed to idle, and he told me to “shut up.”

I asked him what he said, and he replied, “You heard me, faggot.”

When the owner’s son returned to my building’s lobby, he claimed the driver didn’t work for the business, but was a friend of his and I should take it up with the driver. I called the business, and the owner — who claimed she wasn’t the owner — told me she had no time to talk, and would call the police if I didn’t stop calling. She told me to visit the store if I had a problem.

But when I arrived there, she told me to leave, or she would call the police.

She refused to apologize, but did acknowledge she was the owner, and the young man delivering the groceries (not the driver) was her son. I described the incident in detail on the Out Riverdale Facebook page, and have filed a complaint with the city’s human rights commission.

Bronx residents should not be confronted by this kind of hate speech from commercial establishments in their own homes. 

As a “place of public accommodation,” the business is legally barred from discriminating against customers and the public generally based on sexual orientation, or a broad array of other categories.

Business owners also have an ethical responsibility to create a climate of tolerance, acceptance and community spiritedness.

Paul Schindler

Paul Schindler

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TruthTeller

It wasn't a nice thing to do for that guy to call you that name, but seriously??? Writing the Human Rights Commission???? Dude, suck it up. The world is not a nice place and you can't legislate away bad behavior that is not illegal. So you got called a name? So what? A lot of people are called names all day long. And while I would never use that language to speak to anyone, I recognize that not all of us are perfect and in a city like this, you gotta take the good with the bad. Damn, this crybaby society of ours is getting truly out of hand. Perhaps you should've taken a page out of your predecessors in the 79's notebook and kicked his butt. Gaymen in the 70's were hardcore man and a lot of times when they were messed with they fought back. Now you're calling the government on people? That's some immature stuff right there,

Friday, November 10
Michael Hinman

So let me make sure I understand you correctly, TruthTeller ...

Someone calls you a name that could be considered hateful, and taking a civilized approach is going overboard.

But instead, you suggest Mr. Schindler should resort to violence?

Am I the only one lost in your logic?

Friday, November 10
PaulSchindler

Truthteller, I won't waste my time on your suggestion I use violence or your armchair comparison of gay men then and now (I am both). What I will say, Dude, is that you missed my point. The business, as a place of public accommodation, is bound by state and city law to treat customers and the public without discrimination. So we're not talking about bad behavior that is not illegal. You're asking me not to avail myself of my rights, and I won't agree to that. But glad to hear you don't call people "faggots."

Friday, November 10
TruthTeller

HI Paul, my comparison was in no way armchair. I am a student of NYC history, and part of that includes the history of NYC subcultures, which whether you accept it or not, includes/included the homosexual subculture. While there is a lot more to the Stonewall story than offiical narratives say, there can be no doubt that many more homosexual men were much more militant back then about asserting their rights in a more forceful way than calling the human rights commission. And of course, even today a lot of gay men want no part of your absolute insistence that the identity group you belong to get any special dispensation or treatment by the rest of society. Like third-wave feminism, the gay rights movement has been taken over by totalitarians and their fellow travellers and it is turning a hell of a lot of people off, including many in your so-called identity group. This is probably one of the reasons why that schmuck used the word he did. He's probably fed up with having the gay agenda rammed down his throat whenever he turns on the tv, opens a newspaper, listens to music and watches a movie. You can't be the dominant culture and the counter culture at the same time. According to my research, a lot of gay men enjoyed being the counterculture at one point, and probably still do.

Yes, I guess that you may be technically correct about this idiot's remarks being "illegal" for businesses to engage in, to me that's just a sad commentary on how far we have devolved. Why? Because, again, you can't legislate away peoples attitudes. What that person did to you, assuming we are getting the full story and not just your view, was wrong, but he posed no threat of bodily harm, nor did he physically assault you. I think that making a persons words illegal is a slippery slope towards full on totalitarianism.

Anyhow, I guess I just subscribe to the belief that sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me. I'm not trying to be provocative here, but as a gay man, haven't you been called this name your entire life? How come it still bothers you? Women are harrassed every day on the street and most have learned coping mechanisms to deal with it. I'm not saying street harrassment is right, and I never have once engaged in it in my life, but again, that's just a reality. Strong people cope. I find it just as equally offensive that extreme feminists are calling to make street harrassment illegal. It smacks of leftist fascism, and I am sick of it.

To me, you are part of a much worse problem than the idiot delivery guy because you are ushering in a nanny state where our every action is being made illegal by a government that, let's face it, really doesn't care about human rights. They care about control, and you are being used as a pawn in that game. Get with the program of freedom and libertarianism and your problems can be solved in a much more direct way. Anyhow, thanks for your response.

Saturday, November 11
Michael Hinman

I'm sorry, what? Please show me where the gay community during Stonewall were "militant." Where they formed militias and acquired arms, and then took those arms against society.

Were some of the protests violence? Unfortunately so. But you cannot equate violence at protests with "militant" attitudes, nor can you say that because there was violence at protests then, it's what should be happening now.

The reason why the gay community had to be more "forceful" back then is because the law was NOT on their side. There were no equal protections for the LGBTQ community, there were no laws that protected them in any way. In fact, establishments like Stonewall were actually ILLEGAL. No one could call a government official because no one would listen to them. And there was no human rights commission.

Same-sex marriage back then? You couldn't even LIKE someone of the same sex back then.

So yeah, the approach was much different back then. Only because it HAD to be.

Please show me a poll of gay men who state they have no problem with being called homophobic slurs? Also, show me a poll where the LGBTQ community is demanding "special" right, rather than "equal" rights.

What "gay agenda" is out there? The fact that people in the LGBTQ community exist, and that they have every right to exist as the rest of society? I mean, couldn't the LGBTQ community say that they are tired of the heterosexual agenda being shoved down their throats, where they see it every time they turn on the TV, open a newspaper, listen to music or watch a movie?

I remember a long time ago taking "sensitivity" training that was required by my rather conservative newspaper company I worked for. In it, they talked about how it was OK to be gay, but that discussion of it was not appropriate in the work place. So I raised my hand and asked the moderator what that entailed? Did it mean that if someone got a boyfriend, for instance, they couldn't talk about it? And she said yes.

I told her that then there should be a ban on ANYONE talking about girlfriends, boyfriends, spouses, or whatever. Not because there should be "special" treatment, but there should be equal treatment. Special treatment already existed for the heterosexual community, and all the LGBTQ community asks is that there be equal treatment.

I Have never met anyone who enjoyed being persecuted, by the way. I have never met someone who told me that they were so excited to come out to their family and friends, because then they could join the "counter-culture." Because hey, who needs family and friends? I mean, how exciting it must have been for many of them to be 15 or 16 years old, and kicked out of their house out onto the streets. To have the people they care about and love the most turn their backs on them completely.

I guess that's why counter-culture is so excited to have the high teenage suicide rates to go with it.

You cannot legislate attitudes, but you can legislate ACTIONS. Sure, someone might make you angry enough that you would love to punch them in the face. But the law doesn't punish you for thinking about it. It only punishes you for ACTING on it. Because your rights to swing your fist stops short of the other person's nose.

Do you understand what that means, Truthteller? That means you are free to do what you want, so as long as you don't infringe on the rights of someone else. Now, I agree that sometimes that is taken too far. But when it comes to expressing hate speech of any kind? It's not too far.

If you don't like someone in particular because of what they say or do, that is fine. But to express hate for an entire group — including people you have never met? That's where it crosses the line.

If this driver had called Mr. Schindler a "whiny jerk," I would've felt that was rude (and unfair), but not one worth publishing a letter to the editor over. Or maybe not even worth going beyond complaining to a store owner. But this is different. The man didn't react to what Mr. Schindler was DOING, but instead, reacting to what he perceived Mr. Schindler to be.

Does that make sense? It's where we come up with the phrase "don't paint in broad strokes." That just because one person who might be of a certain ethnic or social group does something to you, doesn't mean you blame ALL of the people from that ethnic or social group. And you certainly don't use their perceived inclusion in the ethnic or social group as a weapon to strike at someone with.

So the slippery slope doesn't exist. Not the way you're describing it.

Saturday, November 11
Jennifer Scarlott

Thank you Paul Schindler and Michael Hinman. It is striking that people like "TruthTeller" arrogate to themselves their bellicose version of a singular "truth" and their self-perceived right to speak for others -- in this case, women and the LGBTQ community. I can't make the reasoned arguments any better than you can, Paul and Michael, so I won't try at any length.

I think what I find most appalling in the arguments of people like "TruthTeller" is the dishonesty. Heres's an example from his most recent comment in this thread:

"I guess I just subscribe to the belief that sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me. I'm not trying to be provocative here, but as a gay man, haven't you been called this name your entire life? How come it still bothers you? Women are harassed every day on the street and most have learned coping mechanisms to deal with it. I'm not saying street harassment is right, and I never have once engaged in it in my life, but again, that's just a reality. Strong people cope. I find it just as equally offensive that extreme feminists are calling to make street harassment illegal. It smacks of leftist fascism, and I am sick of it."

The willingness, nay, eagerness to speak for vast swathes of people whose experience of life you do not share, "TruthTeller," is deeply disturbing... in the case of women, more than half the population. What I find transparently dishonest is your saying that you are equally bothered by name-calling/discrimination/hate and by groups that seek remedies for it.

Let's be honest, "TruthTeller"? Name-calling doesn't bother you at all. In fact, you fly to its defense in the name of libertarianism. In your view, it's a jungle out there and a jungle it shall and must always remain -- how dare anyone think of trampling on our freedom, our right, to engage in racist, misogynist, or homophobic behavior while going about our daily work? Such terrible presumption, such an assault on liberty and freedom, such a turn toward f-a-s-c-i-s-m. Did not German fascism exterminate 6 million, including LGBTQ people, on the basis of hate for marginalized groups? The tendency to use straw men in argumentation is such a tiring and self-serving dead-end, viz, your argument that curtailing anyone's right to sling hate and discrimination, in any way at any time, represents a step on the "slippery slope" toward fascism.

I have slim to no hope or aspiration that by engaging with someone like "TruthTeller," he will finally see the light and stop advocating violence and freedom to discriminate. I do hope, though, that there may be quieter readers who, though they lean in "TruthTeller's" direction, are more open to the reasoned, thoughtful arguments of Paul Schindler and Michael Hinman because they are not blinded.

Monday, November 13
TruthTeller

Whatever you say Jscarlotte. Please remember that in reality, I am an advocate of true peace and goodwill and have said so many times in my posts. I do in fact find name calling and harrassment extremely distasteful, and have also said that many times in my posts. Where I draw the line though is legislating name calling. You call it "hate and discriminiation," but the author of this original letter was not discriminated against in any way other than he got his feelings hurt. He still went about his business unmolested and no one threatened his life or ability to produce income for his family. I.e...no crime was committed other than in the fantasy world of "human rights commisions" and other such totalitarian concepts. (Remember that you are going to the US Government for policing your concept of "Human Rights." Please name me any real evidence that this government cares one whit about human rights, and I will show you hundreds of millions of people murdered around the world by US bombs and weapons).

As far as the word "hate" is concerned, again I am not a liberal busybody obsessed with making everyone think exactly like me, so I have zero problem with anybody calling anyone else a name during a street confrontation, which is what happened here. And I certainly would never support legislation to make name calling illegal either. I guess we just have a fundamental difference of beliefs......you want to control everyone around you to conform to your utopian vision, and I want to live and let live and leave people the hell alone, unless of course they commit a real crime like assault, robbery or murder etc.

I just thank god that my vision is supported by hundreds or millions of people and yours is supported by the fringe in academia and/or the foundation world, many of which that are bankrolled by the Wall Street bankers who are the real culprits in the demise of the nation, and who you never seem to criticize in your comments. Hard to take social justice warriors seriously that worship at the altar of the foundation world, when those foundations have been at the root of so many social problems, including racial problems, in the past and present. Just read about the Ford Foundations involvement in Ocean Hill Brownsville for a decent primer into that sordid world. I know you won't, but you really should.

Monday, November 13
Michael Hinman

Except, "Truthteller," I don't believe Mr. Schindler or anyone stated that what was done was criminal. However, it was hateful. And people have a right to live their lives without being exposed to hate directed at them simply because they are part of (or perceived to be a part of) a specific group.

A complaint to the city's human rights commission is not one that typically carries criminal penalties. However, harassment itself is considered illegal, and hate-filled harassment is just as illegal.

Under your arguments, members of the African-American community should just live with burning crosses and shouts of slurs at them because they have to just tough it up. Jews should just walk the street and be glad that slurs against them are just words, and not elevated to something more. Women should endure catcalling and everything else, because hey, they are used to it. I guess they should also keep allowing men to grope them in the office and treat them like second-class citizens, too?

I do believe that you think through your statements, but not in the correct context. You look at it as "Hey, it's just words. Don't let them hurt you." But words can indeed be hurtful. Take it from me, someone who has exercised the power of words for more than 25 years, and who used nothing more than words to influence many different things in his life much larger than him.

Freedom of speech would have been the driver engaging in a conversation with Mr. Schindler talking about his disagreement with anti-discrimination laws and such. There is nothing wrong with that, and even though I don't know Mr. Schindler, I'm betting he would have very much taken on that conversation, if he had the time to do so.

But that's not what happened here. This driver, according to Mr. Schindler, harassed him in a way that was based on a group Mr. Schindler belongs to, or is perceived to belong to. While it may or may not be criminal, it is still wrong. Whether you agree with it or not.

And just to note ... women do NOT need to go down the street and experience cat-calls. They should be allowed to walk the street in peace, like the rest of us.

Monday, November 13
TruthTeller

So which is it then? YOu state that " I don't believe Mr. Schindler or anyone stated that what was done was criminal." And then a couple sentences later say that "However, harassment itself is considered illegal, and hate-filled harassment is just as illegal. "

And meanwhile, Mr. Schindler himself states "The business, as a place of public accommodation, is bound by state and city law to treat customers and the public without discrimination. So we're not talking about bad behavior that is not illegal. "

So I am very confused as to what position is being promulgated here. Was it illegal or not? Does illegal behavior mean criminal behavior? I'd say no in many circumstances (Jaywalking etc), but to the layman illegal and criminal are pretty damn close terms. Anyhow, I'm just confused is all.

In the interest of finding common ground, at least we all agree that street harrassment is horrible, and needs to stop. I've gotten in many mens faces over the years when I see particularly aggregious examples of it, whether it was happening to my girlfriend or a random stranger. So despite some allusions to me sanctioning this begavior, I actually deplore it and wish it would end. Same goes for anti-gay, or anti-black etc.

Where we differ is our beliefs in the government's role in all this. I find it hard to believe that a government that is responsible for hundreds of millions of deaths around the world, up to and including this very moment, is the proper place to petition for redress of "Human Rights Violations." And I also believe that trying to legislate away this behavior is a losing proposition. The government doesn't care about you, and all it really wants is more control over our lives. In my personal opinion, people who want "human rights commissions" and want the Gov't to police bad social behavior on the street are just useful pawns for a slimy Government bair and switch. One day, believe me, that "human rights commision" you create and empower is going to be turned right back on you.

Not to get out in the weeds to much, but Kubler Ross spoke of the 5 stages of greiving, and it applies to a lot of things. It certainly applies to the 2016 presidential election. In my opinion, the left and their fellow travellers are not handling this well. Y'all are stuck in the first two stages, and true healing will not occur until you move on to the acceptance stage. What do you need to accept? Well, you need to accept that the cultural zeitgeist has shifted back to conservative/libertarian principals. The vast majority of us are sick to death of the nanny state, and the constant pushing of socially destructive agendas (tranny's reading to children in libraries anyone?). While Trump was not and is not the proper person to fulfill the role of leader of this movement, he was smart enough to tap into this cultural shift and "win bigly." If you all want to regain power again in this country and not be looked at as petulant children, y'all need to come together with the "deplorables" and find some good old, cultural and economic populist issues to run on. Because, and mark my words on this, if you throw up another tired, weak, fossilized and corrupt identity policitician in 2020, your nightmare of Trump will continue for another 4 years. And again, just so it's perfectly clear, as a Trump voter I am extremely dissapointed with the results. We can find common ground in economic issues and issues of war and peace Michael and Jennifer. We will never agree on social wedge issues, which again are just red meat thrown out anyway by the elites to keep us all arguing with eachother. I find that I am just as guilty in playing that game as you guys are, so I hope to change. But I cannot for the life of me allow notions of "human rights commisions" to go unchallenged, and as free speech advocates, I would hope you understand that.

As Rodney King (who was a brutal victim of police brutality) said "Can't we all get along." IMO, no other moment in the 20th century crystallized what we really need to do. But let's not go running to the government for help on this? Really folks, they don't care about you. You're just a cog in their game of money manipulation and war.

Tuesday, November 14
TruthTeller

By the way, according the the latest FBI statistics, anti-white bias crimes increased the greatest amount from 2015 to 2016 (the latest years we have records for) with a whopping 19.34 percent increase in incidents and offenses. I'd link to the tables to prove my point but I don't want to risk my comment getting deleted. So by your own logic, the group you guys should be fighting for and running to the "human rights commision" for are white men and women.

Tuesday, November 14
Jennifer Scarlott

@"TruthTeller," you're barking up the wrong tree in urging people to abandon defense of civil liberties. Full stop. The active protection of civil liberties will always be crucial to the creation of anything hoping to approach a good society, whether under an Obama administration or a Trump administration, though as poor a record as Obama often had on civil liberties, I don't equate him with the person currently in the Oval Office. You frequently allude to some sort of longing to join with others on economic and war & peace issues. You make any such collaboration unthinkable with your views on civil liberties.

Noted that in your comment above, you are adding trans people to your list of those you deem deserving of societal (and personal) discrimination: "...the constant pushing of socially destructive agendas (tranny's reading to children in libraries anyone?)"

In an earlier comment, you assert, "I am an advocate of true peace and goodwill."

Your and others' understanding of what it is to be "an advocate of true peace and goodwill" could not be more sharply divergent. Saying doesn't make it so.

Tuesday, November 14
TruthTeller

Ok, then we won't come together then. Can't say I didn't try to find common ground.

But just to clarify, I am a huge supporter of civil liberties, and I'm glad you pointed out Obama's horrific record there, but I don't equate a tranny reading to my children at a library event (scaring the crap out of them btw. Couldn't they at least get good looking ones?) to be a civil liberty. And if it is, then it is my civil liberty to object to it, no? Where does this debate end?

I do, however, vociferously defend a person who wants to be a tranny from expressing themselves, but not at the risk of offending and alienating everyone else. Keep it where it belongs, in the privacy of your own home, or in the many bars and clubs that cater to that subsection of society. Or even on a public street. Hey, as long as you're not trying to foist it on me and my loved ones, tranny away to your heart's delight. And I feel that way about every prediliction with the exception of criminal ones such as pedophilia etc.

Tuesday, November 14
Jennifer Scarlott

These statements inhabit the same comment by you, "TruthTeller":

1. "I am a huge supporter of civil liberties."

2. "I don't equate a tranny reading to my children at a library event (scaring the crap out of them btw. Couldn't they at least get good looking ones?) to be a civil liberty. And if it is, then it is my civil liberty to object to it, no? Where does this debate end? I do, however, vociferously defend a person who wants to be a tranny from expressing themselves, but not at the risk of offending and alienating everyone else. Keep it where it belongs, in the privacy of your own home, or in the many bars and clubs that cater to that subsection of society. Or even on a public street. Hey, as long as you're not trying to foist it on me and my loved ones, tranny away to your heart's delight."

A person who "wants to be"? "tranny"? "Good looking ones"? "offending and alienating everyone else"? "Keep it where it belongs"?

When Trump says black is white and white is black, there are far too many who believe him. When you say you are a "huge supporter of civil liberties" and then reveal that in no way do you have an inkling of what civil liberties are, nor a scintilla of respect for those different from yourself, perhaps there are those who are cynical enough to believe you. The level of entitlement, cynicism, and know-nothingism you express, is, at a societal level, dangerous and sickening. The fact that one of your own inhabits the Oval Office, (though he did not gain the office via popular vote), is a vivid demonstration of fear of a changing world. That fear shows itself, but the world is changing and will change, nevertheless.

Tuesday, November 14
TruthTeller

Well, obviously you equate things as civil rights that in my opinion aren't civil rights. A person doesn't have the civil right to read to children in a library. No, instead that is a privilege granted to them by a social engineer at the library.

And for god's sake, get a sense of humor Jennifer. Those trannies they had at the library, quite truthfully, looked like hell. They could have gotten more attractive ones. I used to be friends and colleagues with many trannies when I had a TV show on Bronxnet in the 90's, and believe me, those dudes and I got along really good. But I would never want my kids exposed to them, and back then they would never have dreamed of trying to force their lifestyle down everyone else's throat. No, they enjoyed their countercultural status and revelled in it. But now you guys are the dominant culture, and you can't be the dominant culture and the counterculture at the same time,. So in reality, a movement (liberalism) that was fun as hell back in the day has been taken over by the boring Miss Marples of society. And you're losing because of it.

Anyhow, you obviously are so wedded to your identity politics that nuance is really not your strong suit. I am all for defending people right to life, liberty and persuit of happiness, but that ends when social engineers are trying to warp the young. You do not have the civil right to do that.......and if you do I have the civil right to fight back, peacefully of course.

And regarding your last point, the world is definitely changing. Luckily, it is becoming a hell of a lot more conservative, with the young "Generation Y" demographic self-identifying as the most conservative on record. And do you know why that is? Because the country is sick to death of people like you. But keep it up please. All you're doing is driving more people to my side.

Tuesday, November 14
Michael Hinman

Hey, everyone ...

We will NOT (and I repeat, will NOT) use slurs in these comments. That includes the slur that was used to describe someone who is transgender.

I was going to remove those comments, but since that was called out (and I would have to remove the comments calling it out as well), I have decided to allow it to stay, with a warning to everyone that you WILL be removed from the ability to comment here if you use such terms in the way Truthteller used it here. I have no tolerance for that — at all.

And just to note, Truthteller is referring to a story where drag queens come in and read to children. Drag queens are not typically transgender. They are men who dress as women as performance art. And I would like to know what Truthteller has against women that it's a "societal breakdown" to act as a woman?

No more slurs.

Wednesday, November 15
TruthTeller

Drag queen, transgender. Geez, so many names to keep up with no wonder we're all confused. Anyhow, just remember that while leftists and their fellow travellers are worrying about making sure they use the right term to describe someone's sexual predelictions, the right are winning hearts and minds with real hardcore populist economic issues.

As an aside, I find it personally very unseemly for an editor of a paper to be policing all this. Scarlotte is a big girl and can take care of herself. And believe me, those drag queens I was good buddies with back in the day could too. Stick to making your article section better, because quite honestly, it ain't all that great and needs a lot of work. A comment section should be left alone to the fullest extent possible, and only violent threats should be grounds for removal. I don't remember Richie Stein ever getting involved with any of this, nor his brother. And believe mo, both those guys hated my guts. But they were much better champions of free speech and diversity of political opinion than this current regime seems to be. Now watch, I will probably be banned.

And I find the insinuation/accusation that I have something against women to be highly insulting. I have nothing against women. I love them. I cherish them and have nothing but great respect both for the women in my life and strangers on the street. But neither drag queens nor transgender people are biological women. And those were the people I was talking about.

Wednesday, November 15
Michael Hinman

It's not so many names to keep up with, because they are simply different.

As someone who claims to be a student of society, to the point where you use a moniker of "TruthTeller," one would hope that you would be a TRUE student of society, and understand the different complexities of what exists out there.

And I agree that we're bombarded with so much information, so much detail, that it's almost impossible to process it all. But what I hope we, as a society, are learning, is that the world is not black and white. That we cannot simplify existence to simply "this" and "that."

If you want people to take what you say seriously, then you have to start with making sure you fully understand what it is you're talking about — especially all sides that disagree with your position.

That's the secret to editorial writing, by the way. And I'm not afraid to share that secret, because it's something we all should be doing. But when I look at different topics, I have my preconceived notions ... but then I wipe the slate clean, and I start to research. I work hard to understand all sides and viewpoints, and every once in a while, I even CHANGE my mind from my preconceived notion. While that might scare some people, to me, it's refreshing.

I'll give you an example, "Truthteller." When I was a teenager (and a little older), I was totally in support of a flag-burning amendment to the Constitution. I come from a military family, and my older brother at the time was in the U.S. Marine Corps serving in the first Iraq war. To me, the thought of burning a flag was absolutely reprehensible.

But then I listened to different viewpoints as well. I remember debating with a friend, and surprised that he didn't agree with me, because he, too, was in the military at the time.

But he asked me if I thought about the slippery slope implications. Now, don't get me wrong — I don't believe there are always slippery slopes, and that many are just strawmen out there. Like when someone says if we allow gay marriage, what's next, people can marry goats or children? The answer is no, there is no slippery slope. Same-sex marriage is the marriage between two consenting adults, without gender being considered. A goat cannot consent, nor can a child. So that doesn't work.

But there was a slippery slope for flag-burning. It's an expression of speech that hurts no one physically, except the flag. It violates no rights, and if we are against this because we don't like the speech, what other speech will we be against that we don't like?

But protection of speech is only talked about in broad strokes. That doesn't give you the right to go up and personally assault someone. You just can't do it.

Was Mr. Schindler assaulted? No. Was what he claimed the driver said illegal? Not that I know of. But is it something worth pointing out to talk about the broader implications? Absolutely.

And I do not retract my question about your value of women in any way, because I am waiting to hear how a drag queen reading a book to kids somehow equates to some sort of "societal breakdown." Do you have the same opinion if a teacher turns out to be gay, and one day he introduces his husband to his students, like teachers might sometimes introduce spouses?

I'm trying to get a handle on where exactly you are on all this.

Wednesday, November 15