Last night, when Macklemore sang ‘Same Love’ over the sound of protest, a great battle was seemingly won. Except it wasn’t. It was merely just another flashpoint in the war.
As a long-dead novelist once espoused: “This is a war universe. War all the time. There may be other universes based on all sorts of other principles, but ours seems to be based on war and games.” Last night, we saw a war prior to a game. Macklemore stepped over the parapet and defied the ‘No’ side of the argument, choosing to sing the chorus that they had a problem with. At the final walk up the piano keys, and the guns momentarily fell silent, there were no wanton acts of carnality or spoiled youth, as the abstainers feared, and likewise, on the other side of the fence, the laurels of victory was squandered as a limp wave of I told you so riposte ripple over social media.
The morning after the night before and nothing has changed. Minds were not changed over the empathetic bars that purported love is love, and Adam and Steve have equal merit. It wasn’t about that. Minds were already made up. There is no-one left on the fence to be swayed, all last night did was fortify respective fortifications. The desire to hear out the other is long gone, replaced by a series of flashpoints. Be it on University campus or comment box, the mode of thought is scoring points, destroying the means of production of the enemy. Peace, I fear, is now an impossibility. Two such disparate forces can not simply coexist as they had before. The genie will not go back into the bottle quietly. Whichever this opinion poll swings, even if it plunges us into momentary peace, the initial unsolved issues will lay dormant, until another lit match plunges us back into our respective trenches.
On this basis, this war could rage forever, as we all march from battle to battle, stepping over the cold bodies of friend/relationships strewn on the floor, because the cause was worth it. It had come to this, and it was time to pick a side.
I suppose that is the great irony about Malcolm’s great respectful debate. He’s enabled the impossibility of respect, or debate. All that’s left is schism, with the promise of more. The scars earned in this conflict, visible or invisible, will remain.
You could argue that a supplementary reason why the conflict rolls on so, is to feed itself. The only people truly prospering in this war are the journalists. Those in the position to be compensated for their hot takes. We can’t leave any related topic alone, no matter how small. So every ant hill instantly becomes an Everest for us to die on. Below is a graph lifted from Google Trends highlighting the amount of articles addressing the marriage equality issue since it became an issue.
But there’s something we should understand, but we all know. This is not even the final battle, the real war. It feels real, and the blood has been spilt is real, but the open secret is that 2019 is the year of our Normandy. We know that this issue will only be solved beyond the election, if that. Wind the mind forward to the ideal landscape that the ‘Yes’ party covet, Labour wins the election; the issue solved with a parliamentary vote. It sounds logical, but to those clutching the muskets in the trench opposite, it sounds inherently illogical, a neutering of the rights they fought for. Cue, more bloodshed. I would not be surprised if both sides met in front of Parliament house to punch on. Similarly, if the ‘No’ side gets their day in court, consider the same outcome as gospel.
Until then, we should articulate the road to hell paved with Macklemores we walk on. It’d be foolish to say that we should lower out rifles and meet for a Christmas truce, as we’re now drunk on bloodlust, but perhaps there’s hope in a moment of individual reflection, where we gaze at what we’ve done in the name of our noble cause, before we recommence brutalities on our fellow citizenry, fighting each other, keyboard-to-keyboard, and house to house over your version of the same ideals.