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12/30/2011

Advancing to next round of American fairness: Not an Idle contest

by Jeremy Hooper

Kelly Clarkson has every right to support whomever she likes. I'm not astonished that she supports Ron Paul -- many young people do, many for understandably optimistic reasons. And even though we all have very valid concerns regarding Congressman Paul's views on civil rights, I don't think anyone deserves to be viciously attacked for stating support for a candidate, especially when that is the surefire way to close off conversation.

The problem I have with Clarkson's Tweets of recent is how she chooses to square the Paul-ian concerns that have been expressed to her with her own "live and let live" attitude. These two quips are problematic for me:

Screen Shot 2011-12-30 At 2.29.07 Pm
Screen Shot 2011-12-30 At 2.29.53 Pm
https://twitter.com/#!/kelly_clarkson

Now, I have no reason to doubt that Clarkson is being sincere here. From all evidence, she is a laid-back, love everyone type. Other than tunefully targeted ex-boyfriends, I've never seen any shunned subject that would give me reason to think Clarkson is anything but inclusive in her worldview.

The problem I have with the words she chose to belt out into her sizable microphone is in regards to the overall sense of complacency that overlooks the problems. Look again at the above quips. Both of them are of the "could[nt] care less" variety. This would be fine if we lived in a Utopia, where no one was facing unjust treatment because of something like sexual orientation. But we do not live in that world. We live in America, a country where LGBT people are still fighting everyday for rights and protections that Kelly Clarkson takes for granted. So it's not enough for a presumed ally like Kelly to just say she supports all rights, be they straight, gay, or orange. We need our allies to realize that certain people are subject to unjust treatment that has only gotten better because long-shunned minorities have stepped up and demanded better. Acting as if this whole civil rights thing will just work itself out without principled voices daring to add that extra "oomph" is just dangerous.

Again, I have no reason to question Clarkson's sincerity. However, I have every reason to want a better, faster, Stronger band of straight allies who realize that the playing field is exhaustingly unlevel, and that LGBT rights need a sense of focus, hands, and determination that straight rights earn by default. No one is working to take away Kelly's right to marry in any state, but several states are considering doing exactly that to same-sex couples (and the federal government does it to us all). No candidate in the Republican party to which Kelly pledges allegiance is making ads that viciously attack her right to serve and possibly die for her country, though the Governor of her home state of Texas did just attack LGB people's right to serve, framing it as something that is wrong with our country. No GOP candidate is working to preserve a federal law that creates real world hardships for opposite-sex couples, but Clarkson's very own Ron Paul is doing just that through his support of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.

We need allies like Kelly Clarkson to understand the problem that is discrimination and help us work towards remedies. On this, we need those who will care more, not those who "could care less."

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