Normally when we think of truck based shipping in Australia we think of the contents as being such things as food, consumer goods, even household contents. There’s a new truck driving up the east coast of Australia at the moment, and it’s only got one thing in it: hate.
Organised by Peter Madden, who calls himself a “Christian Activist” on his website, the truck has signage on it strongly targeting gay rights, and specifically, gay marriage rights. It looks like this:
(That image comes from this Sydney Star Observer article.)
The immediately obvious thing from this hate truck is the simple truth: these activists are just obsessed with gay and lesbian sexual acts. They don’t perceive gay and lesbian relationships as being loving partnerships, they’re just mired in the sex.
So my first question on this is: who is the real pervert? The people in the loving relationships who happen to have sex, or the people who make it their business to think about what other people are doing for sex?
I’m as interested in sex as the next guy – perhaps even more so being gay, and a bear – but I don’t organise trucks to drive billboards up and down the east coast to talk about sex. That’s completely overboard.
This isn’t the first rabid anti-gay-rights message to come out of the Queensland election. Bob Katter’s laughable “Australia Party” also did a pathetic ad targeting a LNP candidate on the basis of his prior support for same sex civil unions. One of the interesting side-effects of the Bob Katter Australia Party anti-gay commercial is that it’s triggered a significant backlash. Even people who traditionally (perhaps without ever really considering the issue) supported an anti-gay marriage approach are looking at the ad askance and realising there’s traditionalist, and then there’s crazy.
I suspect that the hate truck will have a similar negative impact – negative not to the same-sex marriage campaign, but to the anti-same sex marriage campaign. Sure, the fringe nutters who practically rub their genitals with their religious texts in a messiah humping fervour as they gnash their teeth and froth at the mouth whilst thinking vividly of gay sex will cry, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” at the truck and fist-pump the air, but what about the undecided people?
Current polls consistently say now that more than 60% of the adult Australian population support same-sex marriage. (That number increases to 80%, by the way, when we look at 18-24 year olds.) That doesn’t however mean 40% are opposed to same-sex marriage. Even taking that 40% would represent a minority, it’s not really – there’s always the undecided ones. In fact, the latest poll shows 62% support for same-sex marriage, 33% opposed, and 5% undecided. Further, in that same poll, 75% of Australians felt that same-sex marriage was inevitable, with only 19% saying it wasn’t.
So, you have a dwindling minority of people opposed to same sex marriage (in 2004 for instance, it was 38% for, 44% against, and 18% undecided), who are continuing to ramp up their campaign, making it more and more outrageous. That’s why people who are writing submissions opposing same-sex marriage to the parliament at the moment are raving about their bestial pornography fantasies – same sex marriage will inevitably lead to man-beast marriages, apparently. Yet, it’s only the opponents to same-sex marriage who are blathering on about bestiality – so again, what sort of perverts are they?
The percentage of undecided people in each state varies quite a bit. Queensland is definitely a more conservative state, so it’s going to have more people who are wavering on the edge of a decision. They’re going to be standing there, on the side of the road, holding the hands of their small children, and seeing a truck flash past raving about sex. An increasing number of them will be starting to think, “get a life” or “but YOU just exposed my kid to the word sex”.
One of the reasons we push back against hate speech so strongly is that it forces the other side to escalate. This may seem initially like a bad thing, but think of the logical consequence – the other side ends up looking like complete and utter crazies. WestBoro is a classic example: their hate speech is foolishly allowed in the US under the notion of “freedom of speech”, but it serves a counter-purpose now too. The bible humping nutters will still masturbate about the sins of the world while reading their signs and chanting “Amen”, but the average person looking at them will think they’ve gone to far. Hell, when even the Klu Klux Klan plans to protest against WestBoro, you know they’ve reached a level of insanity previously undreamt of.
I’m against the Hate Truck, but I doubt very much it will serve the purpose that Peter Madden and his co-conspirators hopes it to.
Quite the opposite, in fact.
Still, I’d have loved to have rented a ute and driven in front of the truck the entire way with a sign, “Caution Bigoted Load Ahead”.