Don’t Pretend
Monday, 25 July 2011

¶ Ross Douthat wraps up his column today, about the right-wing American “pedigree” of Anders Breivik’s thinking, with a vital observation: “But extremists only grow stronger when a political system pretends that problems don’t exist.” During the decades in which the Democratic Party enjoyed the majority in the House of Representatives, opponents of its liberal views were demonized and discredited, particularly with respect to the extension of full civil rights to African-Americans. Over time, racial bigotry did indeed decline, but the withdrawal of conservatives from civic society, into gated communities and “Christian academies,” has proven to be a grievous wound that shows no sign of healing.

As we congratulate our fellow citizens who have availed themselves of the long-sought right to marry partners of the same sex, we remain mindful of other fellow citizens who regard gay marriage as an abomination. We are not going to pretend that they have been permanently vanquished by a piece of legislation. The battle for the hearts and minds of all New Yorkers has begun in earnest.