[EXCERPT]–“In war–whether a shooting war or a culture war makes no difference on this point–only some of the battles are carefully planned. Others explode as if from nowhere. A little skirmish or rearguard action can quickly turn into a major collision, a Battler of Gettysburg, for example.
“Something like that happened in Indiana during the last days of March. A bill in the state legislature, a mostly sumbolic last stand by routed conservatives opposed to same-sex marriage, triggered a massive response from gay-rights advocates. Governor Mike Pence’s signature on his state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) looked at first like a successful raid on competing social conservatives in the crowded field of Republican presidential hopefuls.
“But just over the ridge lay every weapon in the progressive arsenal, from the sniper fire of social media to the siege guns of business and celebrity. Apple CEO Tim Cook protested the law on behalf of the world’s most valuable company. Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley wondered if Indianapolis was still fit to host the NCAA’s much watched Final Four, set to begin less than two weeks after Pence signed the bill into law. Suddenly, more than two decades of painstaking work to attract jobs and tourists to the Hoosier State was being ponded to rubble, moving the state’s largest newspaper–the Indianapolis Star–to bugle retreat in a front-page editorial. FIX THIS NOW, the paper headlined in World War Three font. ‘Indiana is in a state of crisis,’ the editors waned the governor. ‘It is worse than you seem to understand.’
“As a Shaken Pence and state lawmakers scrambled for a way out, in charged the Arkansas legislature like Tennyson’s Light Brigade–at least that’s how it looked to beleaguered traditionalists in search of defiant heroes. A bill virtually identical to the Indiana Law landed on the desk of Governor Asa Hutchinson, a business-minded Republican whose promise to sign it drew fire from the Bentonville battalions at Walmart headquarters. Citing ‘the benefits of diversity and inclusion,’ CEO Doug McMillon urged on behalf of the world’s largest retailer that Hutchinson reverse course and issue a veto, and April 1, the governor annonced that he would insist on changes.
“Why tangle with such foes? Given the apparent readiness of the U.S. Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide later this year, social conservatives have no prospect of a substantial victory. The culture war ove gay rights is largely decided; what remains is the mainly rhetorical question of whether a florist or baker or photographer can refuse, on religious grounds, to supply a wedding bouquet where there is no bide, or a celebratory cake without a groom on top.
“RFRA laws, in this context, are seen by supporters as protection for traditional convictions, and by opponents as a protection for bigotry. This conflict is mainly rhetorical because, with the exception of a very few exceedingly well-publicized cases (none involving couples from Indiana or Arkansas), the businesses that make up America’s $50 billion wedding industrial complex in fact appear delighted to welcome their new customers. The number of ceremonies rendered cakeless or flowerless by hatred is, as far as we know, zero.
“But symbols count, and the ones at stake in this unexpected clash are significant in a number of ways. It’s one thing for…”
Finish reading by downloading a PDF excerpt of TIME, 13 Apr 2015.
As the article points out, at this juncture, this portion of the culture war is almost wholly symbolic. Yet there are other portions of the culture war–the war against White Supremacist Culture, for example–where the stakes are wholly tangible: bodies lying in the streets, bad actors emboldened by acquittal after acquittal and outright refusals to prosecute, a general populist baffled into believing there must be some rational justification, generations suffering from the psychic trauma of this kind of acceptable terrorism.
We see no similar all-out coordinated effort, no united front against the forces willing to take the lives of children of color. Why? It can’t be APATHY. So what is it?
People of color have as extensive a social media sniper brigade and celebrity heavy guns as those described above, not to overlook boots on the ground. As reported, it only took a handful of siege-minded CEOs to turn the tide in Indiana and Arkansas. WHERE ARE THE BLACK AND BROWN AND WHITE-ALLY CEOs ACROSS SECTORS IN EVERY STATE WILLING TO COMMIT THEIR COLLECTIVE FINANCIAL MIGHT TO THE ABOLITION OF INJUSTICE IN ALL ITS FORMS?