At this moment I, and half the country, are reeling in shock over Nick Griffin’s outstandingly hate-filled twitter attack on Michael Black and John Morgan, who recently won a suit against a Berkshire Bed and Breakfast.
Brief backstory: Black and Morgan were denied the right to share a double bed by the B&B’s owner, Susanne Wilkinson, as she felt that would violate her own moral compass. They sued, were awarded damages, and in an incomprehensible move, Griffin tweeted their address along with some bigoted bravado and hints of a mob.
Now, I am never a fan of people enforcing their values on others. As far as I’m concerned, Susanne Wilkinson is free to believe and act as she chooses, but her failure to recognise that she in turn, should grant that freedom to others is callous and narrow minded. However, the owner of any business has the right to operate that business in anyway they see fit; management’s right to refuse service is pretty standard.
So she may have had the right to make her own choices about the Bed and Breakfast she owned, and by the same token, Michael Black and John Morgan, feeling themselves discriminated against, had every right to complain. In fact, given that equal marriage is still so hotly and unfairly contested, these particular fights are ever more important.
The actions of both, I think, are understandable, and the ruling of the judge on the case simply that: one decision on one situation.
What makes his comments particularly damaging is his vile insinuation that campaigning for equal treatment of gay couples is indication of being against straight ones. It seems to often happen that this is a go-to defense move – feminists hate men, artists think sport is stupid, if you drink tea you’re anti-coffee. It’s illogical and has the dangerous effect of reinforcing ignorance with fear. It puts us into camps, forces us into war, it’s us against them, and both can’t make it through alive.
I believe strongly that this kind of attitude is responsible for the very worst human behaviour.
There is no “us” and no “them” – we are just one glorious mess of mostly bemused humans bumbling our way through lives were secretly sure we’re supposed to understand better than we do. We are all lost. We are all wrong. Our only hope is to be kind to each other. To be understanding of what we do not share. To be accepting of what we do not understand.
We are in this together, all of us, every one, and we cannot let the ill-concieved bluster of a frightened little man make us think differently.
Janina is addicted to dark chocolate and peppermint tea. She once made a burger so good she has a picture of the occasion on her bedroom wall. You can find out more about her at myrednotebook.com and follow her on twitter at @J9London.