Opinion » Bill Cope

Gone Greek

The farce that launched a 1000 dips


From what I've heard, a fella testifying before the Senate State Affairs Committee a couple of weeks ago claimed homosexuality led to the downfall of the ancient Greeks. I'm conveying secondhand info here because I wasn't at the hearing. It's not because I can't sit through hours of blabbery with the likes of Dennis Mansfield, Gerry Sweet and Bryan Fischer, it's just that I'd rather be repeatedly run over by a septic tank pump truck than do so. So, as to how dozens of homophobic lumpkins testified, I put my faith in more diligent reporters than I'll ever be--which is how I heard a fella claimed homosexuality led to the downfall of the ancient Greeks.

A week later, the Idaho Senate put a temporary cork in the proposed anti-gay amendment. Eight Republican senators and six Democrats, so like those 300 Spartan heroes at Thermopylae, stemmed the lumpkin tide. However, it was a Pyrrhic victory at best, for the lumpkins have vowed to return with more of the same. I have no doubt they will. Like Sisyphus and his rock, they'll be back.

I wish I could offer something to end it all--some bit of fresh wisdom to arm those 14 Senate stalwarts for the next onslaught. But I fear I've said everything I can think of to say on the matter. Many times I have defended gays' right to experience normal lives. Even more frequently, I've assailed those familiar faces who became familiar largely because of their unending assaults on the gay community. But whichever Muse it is that inspires gay advocates has abandoned me. Even the plight of SpongeBob SquarePants and Buster Baxter cannot incite me. If there is a single new word that might be said on the matter, I can't think of it--not as to why gays should be allowed every right and privilege enjoyed by the rest of us, and not as to what rapacious Gorgons those people are who make it their business to make life miserable for gays. Dennis Mansfield, Gerry Sweet, Bryan Fischer ... ye gods! How many different ways are there to say "asshole?"

Therefore, if anyone's counting on me to come up with an original reason to flush this damn marriage amendment once and for all, forget it. If you don't already have in your hearts the willingness and capacity to do onto others as you would have them do onto you, there's nothing I can do. Obviously, Jesus couldn't make you a better person, so what the hell do you expect out of me?

But there is this matter of homosexuals causing the downfall of the ancient Greeks to consider. The fella said it in public, out loud, in front of people, so we must assume he knows something regular historians (who tend to think the downfall of ancient Greece had a little something to do with being conquered by ancient Rome) haven't picked up on. Surely, the idea didn't spring complete from his own noggin like Athena from the brow of Zeus.

Being a casual admirer of the ancient Greeks, I have more than a casual interest in the question. I've belonged to the ancient Greeks fan club for almost as long as I can remember. The first classic I ever decided to slog through was The Iliad, and I've seen every movie Steve Reeves made. (As a kid, I thought it would be great if Meridian went to war with, say, Nampa. You know, like Athens and Sparta in the Peloponnesian War. Not that Meridian had a reason to go to war with Nampa. I just thought it would be so cool to wear one of those Mohawk helmets and carry a sword.)

Later, I came to appreciate the thinkers even more than the warriors: Aristotle, Socrates, Plato. They don't make brains like that anymore, I tell you. Remember that allegory of Plato's where people were chained in a cave with their backs to the entrance, and all they could see were the shadows of whatever reality was going on in the larger world outside? Man, I wish I'd written that. (Only, I'd have had the people chained up inside one of those pumice block evangelical church barns, and all they could comprehend was their own stunted and distorted perspective, reflected off all the others just like them.)

Oh, and Pythagoras, thanks for all that geometry. Prometheus, Oedipus, Icarus, Lysistrata, Perseus, Hercules, Jason ... I swear, about all the stories you'd every need to hear, the Greeks told first. And did you know Aristarchus of Samos figured out the Earth revolves around the sun 19 centuries before some churchy goons forced Galileo to renounce the idea? I tell you what, those ancient Greeks were ahead not only of their own time, but in most ways ours, too.

It's just too bad there aren't any of them around to explain exactly how homosexuality lead to their downfall, isn't it? Really, a fella can get away with saying almost anything he wants when it concerns a civilization that's been gone for 23 centuries. For instance, that guy who testified for the marriage amendment could just as easily blamed ancient Jews for Greece's downfall, if it were Jews he had his bitch with. Or he might have claimed blacks came up from Africa with an agenda to bring Greece to its knees, and who would have argued? It's not like the state house was full of Greek scholars the day he made his argument.

This is why any blacks or Jews or anyone else who claim the fight for homosexual rights is nothing like the civil rights struggle or the persecution of Jews are wrong. Dead wrong. Oppression always boils down to someone else getting the blame for whatever went wrong, be it a failed empire or a failed marriage. It's an old trick, and Hitler knew it well. The Klan, too. All the peripheral stuff--accusations of ethnic inferiority or cabalistic protocols for world domination, for instance--they are and have always been mere contrived justifications for putting the blame off on somebody else--somebody different enough that the general citizenry won't argue.

And it works especially well when you're laying the blame on folks who aren't around anymore to say different.

So no, I can't prove homosexuality didn't bring down ancient Greece, anymore than that fella can prove it did. But I can say this: if gays truly caused the downfall of ancient Greece, they took their sweet time doing it, considering there run of over 1,000 years from Odysseus to the last of the Ptolemys. That says to me, even if homosexuals are out to cause America's downfall we have about eight centuries to think about it--like, before we open a Pandora's Box full of Midas touches, Swords of Damocles and Achille's Heels.