“Once he gets out of the hospital, Rep. Steve Scalise ought to change his position on gay marriage and a host of other issues.” Thus saith George Takei, MSNBC’s Joy Reid, and a number of other liberal voices who are demanding that the Majority Whip see the error of his conservative ways after his attempted assassination was thwarted by Special Agent Gay Black Woman.
Gay Black Woman is not, as you might guess, the special agent’s given name. It’s Crystal Griner. But considering Scalise’s politics, Griner’s name and bravery had to play second fiddle to her sex, sexuality, and race. It was just too deliciously ironic, you see, that a Republican now owes his life to someone composed of such non-Republican identities.
For those of us with a higher-than-Alanis standard of irony, however, this raises the question, “um, wait, why is that ironic?” Had Scalise ever said, “I oppose same-sex marriage because those who engage in homosexual relationships are incapable of bravery,” then, sure, the irony would be clear. Had this been the logic behind Scalise’s pro-traditional-marriage views, the first thing he should do when he gets out of the hospital is acknowledge that Officer Black Gay Woman’s bravery proved the goodness of gay marriage.
How Intersectionality Drives Us Farther Apart
But Scalise never argued that homosexual unions shouldn’t be considered marriage because gay sex renders people incapable of valor or selflessness. Nor has he ever suggested that gay marriage should be illegal because gay people don’t deserve to have their lives protected. Like most conservatives, he’s argued that, because homosexual unions are incapable of procreation, they’re incapable of being what marriage is. And Crystal Griner’s courage, commendable as it is, neither contradicts nor even addresses Scalise’s argument. So expecting her courage to change his position is just as illogical as expecting Pope Francis to convert to Lutheranism simply because a German mechanic fixed the papal golf cart.
Why, then, are all these voices on the left conflating Griner’s courage with her gayness? Why do people believe that Scalise’s supposed anti-gay bigotry should be destroyed by Griner’s bravery? The answer, it seems, is intersectionality, a mindset that has spread like wildfire through many leftist circles in recent years.
If you’re not familiar with intersectionality, think of it as Identity Politics 3.0. The first version of Identity Politics told us that there are two classes— the privileged oppressors (rich, white, straight, etc.) and the disadvantaged oppressed (poor, black, gay, etc.). Identity Politics 2.0 then told us that your self-chosen identity is part of your humanity.
Those who engage in homosexual acts, for example, are not “men who have sex with other men.” They are “gay men.” Their gayness is part of their very being, and because of this, to oppose same-sex relations is to oppose them as human beings. Now, intersectionality—Identity Politics 3.0—tells us that these various identities are all interconnected and overlapping, forming an elaborate series of identity tunnels that effectively unionize the oppressed against their oppressors.
This is why, for example, the Values and Principles of the Women’s March declare, “we believe Gender Justice is Racial Justice is Economic Justice.” In other words, “the struggles of women are connected to the struggles of minorities, which are connected to the struggles of the poor. So if you rich white ladies don’t check your privilege by supporting the political agendas of minority women and poor women, we’ll toss you across the picket line with the oppressors where you belong and strip you of your feminist credentials.”
The Left Won’t Allow Republicans To Be The Victims
But as the shooting in Alexandria makes clear, intersectionality doesn’t simply insist on the connection of various identities. It also insists on the transfer of good works from one identity to another, a kind of moral Marxism that seeks the redistribution of virtue. Crystal Griner is Special Agent Gay Black Woman. Her various identities cannot be separated from each other, which means that the goodness produced by Griner the Police Officer can be attributed to Griner the Lesbian.
With a trick like that in your back pocket, why bother even engaging Scalise’s argument? If you want to prove the goodness of your political agenda, just hit the intersectionality button and you’ll teleport straight from the line of scrimmage right into the end zone!
To see this trick in action, consider how Rev. Dr. William Barber’s master class on how to prevent Republicans from being victims, even after they were targeted for assassination. In response to Paul Ryan’s statement “an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us,” Barber said, “This can’t just be a moral ethic that you apply to congress. That’s why the real question is ‘will one or two days of changes in personality mean a fundamental change in public policy?’… A black man from my alma mater saved their lives. Will they go back to work and restore the voting rights act and stop systemic racism against black people that’s happening through voter suppression and racialized redistricting? … A lesbian black woman saved them. Will they go back to work and promote laws that no longer attack the rights of the LGBT community?”
In other words, “the oppressed did something good, which proves that the policies supported by the oppressed are good, so Republicans better get on board if they want me to stop considering them oppressors.”
Intersectionality Can Only, Ultimately, Result In Violence
Of course, if a conservative Christian saved George Takei from a psycho, knife-wielding Star Trek fan, the actor and LBGT activist would most certainly not be expected to reconsider his support of Obergefell v. Hodges. By design, intersectionality never works in a conservative’s favor. Because privileged identities are oppressive by nature, and because all identities are connected, any good produced by those with privilege is always tainted with the oppressiveness flowing through the tunnels. This is why, for example, when white Christians adopt non-white children, they aren’t consumed with holy desires, but with a white savior complex.
It’s also why privileged, conservative politicians can’t offer up anything but corrupted fruit. Mitt Romney, by virtue of being a white male, was a sexist. And even his binders full of women, his attempt to actively include women in his cabinet, was evidence of his misogyny. By virtue of being a white male, John McCain was a racist, which is why his career-long praise of John Lewis didn’t stop John Lewis himself from comparing McCain to George Wallace. Because they are Republicans, everything Republicans do is tainted with oppression. They have no good works. And the only way they can change that, as Dr. Barber noted, is by becoming Democrats.
The great problem with intersectionality, however, is not merely that it puts conservative politicians at a competitive disadvantage, but that it puts them at risk for violence. Political violence has always been rare in the United States, due in large part to the design of the American government, imperfectly as that design has been executed at times. When you can’t be thrown in jail for airing a minority opinion, when you can’t be fined for having the “wrong” religion, when you have the right to defend yourself from mob violence, violent revolution against the mob isn’t necessary. When your political adversaries don’t have the power to oppress you, you have the luxury of trying to convince them instead of having to kill them.
Intersectionality Is a Dangerous Path
But intersectionality insists that your political adversaries do have the power to oppress you because our white-male-designed government is—surprise, surprise—an oppressive system. And because the privileged are oppressors by nature, they will use that system to oppress you. And because you can’t convince these reprobates not to oppress you, you have only one option left to protect yourself: violence. Granted, the vast majority of those who embrace intersectionality have enough of a moral foundation to avoid this. Most of them won’t take this doctrine to its logical end. But those looking to sanctify their bloodlust just might. In fact, it appears the shooter in Alexandria already did.
What I find saddest about the Alexandria shooting is the perpetrator’s hatred. What I find saddest about the coverage of that shooting is that so many people don’t view Scalise and Griner any differently than the shooter did (or at least would have, had he known who Griner was). “Rep. Homophobe McBigotFace Gunned Down by Vigilante Hero in Defense of Blacks, Gays, Women and Oppressed People Everywhere” is clearly the headline that Alexandria’s shooter was writing in his murderous mind. “Rep. Homophobe McBigot Faced Saved by Officer Black Gay Woman,” the essential headline from many on the left, is not all that different.
Perhaps when Scalise and Griner have healed from their wounds, they’ll sit down and have a conversation about gay marriage. If they do, I’m sure they’ll view each other as friends who disagree rather than as enemies in class warfare. I’m sure that, instead of calling each “the straight white male” and “the gay black woman,” they’ll call each other by name. We ought to do the same.