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When piss becomes a Prop. 8 protest

by Jesse Fruhwirth
- Posted // 2009-11-02 -
The last time you found urine around your business or home, did you assume it was retribution for your political views? The Heritage Foundation's "John Doe 12" did when she found a pool of urine near her home. She assumed the pisser must have been paying her retribution for John Doe 12's support of California's Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in that state.
That's according to an October Heritage Foundation report, which aims to compile the political fall-out suffered by supporters of Prop. 8:

One woman who placed a pro-Prop-8 sign on her balcony reported finding that her staircase leading downstairs had been covered in urine. She also found a puddle of urine at the bottom of the stairs.

The Heritage Foundation includes this as an act of alleged voter intimidation. Really? Really?It's not like she was in line to vote when someone pissed on her. I wonder what political sins City Weekly is being punished for, because we have drunk people pissing in our back alley, in our hallway, even our elevator (!), from time to time (We all wish I were exaggerating). We'd never connected it to politics.

The malarky doesn't end there. "John Doe 12" and at least 55 other John Does make up the heart, soul and spine of the Heritage Foundation's litany of alleged sins committed against supporters of Proposition 8.

But it's stuff like this Heritage Foundation report--no doubt--that the U.S. Supreme Court considered before temporarily blocking the release of a list of Washingtonians who signed a ballot petition to create a ballot proposition in Washington similar to Prop. 8. Washington recently created marriage-equal domestic partnerships for same-sex couples. This seems clearly to be a concerted, orchestrated effort to pump privacy into politics. A similar spat over privacy is going on in Maine, again regarding same-sex marriage opponents. I wager that Dallin Oaks' recent comment regarding the 60s voter intimidation were either inspired by, or engineered for, this national effort.

Several conservatives, Utah blogger Connor Boyack among them, have bought the piss story and others without showing skepticism. Why should he? It serves to show that gays and their supporters are prone to evil, which we already knew to be true. Why should we be skeptical of things that reinforce our version of truth? In this case the answer to that question is 'anonymous sources': often they'll say whatever they want, to get the desired result they want, and not have to worry about being exposed as liars or cheats because you haven't published their names. In the reality-based community, we call this "accountability." Heritage also lacks accountability because no one can show that their John Does are fakes or liars if no one knows who they are. Naturally, the Heritage authors can claim all these people were given anonymity to protect them from further urine.

Now, I'll grant the Heritage Foundation a few of these, even by anonymous sources. Like a motorbike that was pushed over and had it's pro-Prop. 8 stickers torn off it. OK, that does seem like obvious retribution for a political view and it's modest enough that's it's believable without a lot of evidence. And there was the Vegas-area LDS Church I read about months ago that had anti-Mormon epithets painted on it--was that even in the report (I can't find a link)? That sort of stuff is obviously what Heritage is trying to compile. But if you edit the Heritage Foundation report to include only the incidents that can reasonably be tied to Prop 8. and its opponents, the report is left in bloody shambles.

Have businesses been boycotted because of their support for Prop. 8? Yes. Have churches been protested for the same reason? Yes. Get used to it. That's just politics--not crime.

We atCity Weeklyuse anonymous sources like antibiotics: very sparingly, when there are no reasonable alternatives, and only when we know they'll be effective. Fifty-five anonymous sources in one piece, however, is completely unheard of. It makes that report useful for nothing besides cleaning up the urine in John Doe 12's balcony--or in City Weekly's hallway. Which is to say, because paper is unhelpful with urine cleanup, that it's worthless.

One final note: you don't hear conservatives complaining about "special rights" in hate crimes legislation now, do ya?

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REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // November 2,2009 at 13:44

I was verbally harrassed, threatened, cussed out; my yard sign was stolen in broad daylight just in front of my front door of my house. You assume that the John Doe's aren't real people, because Heritage didn't verify their names. I assume those John Does ARE real, since I experienced it myself. I personally know a dozen others who were similarly threatened and harrassed here in my own town in north San Diego.

 

Posted // November 2,2009 at 14:08 - Sludge, I don't assume that all the John Does are fake. It's just that I work with John Does who want to stay John Does and it's my job, in part, to get them to come out of the closet. You'd be amazed how stories change once you tell someone they will have to be accountable for what they say and that you'll actually be working to prove/verify their claims. I'm just saying you're going to have more salt than meal if you take this report with the grains of salt necessary. I'd actually like to see this report done the right way. But that's where my comment about "shambles" comes in, so you can bet Heritage won't be doing that.

 

 
 
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