Right-wing author Star Parker on Tuesday condemned people who go around brandishing the Confederate flag — largely because they reminded her of people who brandish the LGBT pride flag. During an interview on Fox & Friends, Parker said that it was “ironic” that so many people on the left wanted to bring down Confederate flags and monuments when they were simultaneously advocating for the rainbow flag that’s a symbol for LGBT rights. “You know what’s really interesting and really incredible irony here is the same people that are demanding that the Confederate flag comes down are the same people that are insisting that the rainbow flag goes up,” Parker said, via Media Matters. “These two flags represent the exact same thing. That certain people groups are not welcome here.”
I spend a lot of time thinking about and researching political issues, so sometimes it feels as if everything I’m looking into turns out to be things I’ve seen before. Ms. Parker’s argument- that the LGBT rainbow and Confederate flags “represent the exact same thing”– fascinates me, even though she’s horribly, irretrievably, hopeless wrong.
The rainbow flag is not meant to alienate; it’s not a symbol of hatred or exclusion. It’s a symbol of pride, something the LGBTQ community can rally around and find commonality in. Turns out that’s something homophobes have made a point of denying the LGBTQ community. Never mind that the LGBTQ community never waged a bloody, destructive war of secession in which brother fought brother. Other than that, they represent EXACTLY the same thing…right??
During the segment, Parker also praised President Donald Trump for condemning “both sides” of the Charlottesville protests for violence on Saturday, and said that he did a good job of getting the country to “calm down” in the aftermath of the violent protests that rocked the Virginia college town over the weekend.
It doesn’t take a Ph.D. in history to understand the two flags represent two very dissimilar philosophies. The rainbow flag is about pride, inclusion, and acceptance; the Confederate flag about hatred, slavery, and rebellion. How anyone- and I have to assume Ms. Parker is fairly intelligent- could believe otherwise is difficult to fathom.
I suppose this is what happens when you endeavor to cobble together “evidence” to justify and indefensible prejudice.
The sense of false equivalence and disingenuousness running through her argument and her praise of the President is palpable. If she had even the most basic sense of history, she’d understand the vapidity and arrogance behind her argument. The LGBTQ community has never attempted to secede or rebel; they simply want equal rights. They’re not violent and hateful; they just want to be able to live and love authentically and be who they are free from persecution.
Ms. Parker’s astonishingly ignorant argument reflects the fear, ignorance, and lack of compassion which characterizes the Far Right. Instead of working to get their own houses in order, they focus on forcing others to live by their moral code. The use of false equivalence and historical fantasy is merely one way to justify their hatred and prejudice.
Love is love; recognizing and accepting that costs nothing. That doesn’t mean you have to understand or agree with how members of the LGBTQ community live and love. It just means you have no right to force your morality on them.
Perhaps if Parker and her fellow ideological travelers spent more time on themselves and less on how others express their sexuality, this world would be a kinder and more compassionate place.
In the end, conflating the rainbow flag with the Confederate flag serves as proof that Ms. Parker fear and prejudice trumps (pun fully intentional) a person’s right to live and love in whatever manner feels authentic and genuine.
Love is love. That shouldn’t be so difficult to understand.