Two years ago, when I was lying awake fretting about whether to come out to my parents or not, my best friend’s then boyfriend Erik did something awful to me. He invalidated my plans, my worries, my concerns and outed me to my peers, acquaintances and friends on Facebook. He took the decision out of my hands, and made my plans moot.
If my parents had been worse than they are, that could really have fucked up my life. If my friends and peers and acquaintances had been more forceful on the homophobic front than to playfully call each other ‘fag’ on the school ground, my life could have been awful.
I fully expected the revelation to lead to a huge disaster, but in the end it didn’t. All it did was to make Erik my enemy, and all it did was to create a hell of a lot of friction between me and my friend Maria. It nearly broke our friendship apart. So, if I in that situation had decided that the person I think of ‘Queen of jerks’ was my friend because Erik and this guy were enemies too, my life would not only have been fucked up beyond belief – I would have fallen into the trap of believing that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
That is not a position that’s beneficial under any circumstance.
I’m not the great ideologue. I have a slight incoherence problem with outright ideologues because I think it requires faith in a system that may or may not actually be true. Your evaluation of the principles behind the ideology is more about what you want to be true, than what actually is true. That’s part of the reason why I hold political partisans, and political parties, in quite a bit of disdain.
You can of course protest that, and object that without picking a side I am facilitating what is wrong. So, since I’m going to be allowed to vote in 2015, if I don’t vote then I’ll facilitate another term with the government we have. But that’s just another way of saying ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’, and it didn’t work with Erik. I doubt it will work with a much more abstract concept like a political party.
I see it as… if I vote for something, then I facilitate what I vote for. I don’t facilitate what I don’t vote for. So, unless I vote Tory in the next election (which would lead my mother to finally disown me, or post-maturely abort me), I’m not facilitating anything for the Tories. Labour actually have to convince me that they’re worth voting for.
Yesterday, Labour decided to vote for a heinous piece of legislation that goes against everything they say that they stand for. There’s been a sort of a scandal where a group of people won a court case against forced placement at Poundland amongst other stores. If they don’t work for free for commercial entities, they don’t get Job-seeker’s allowance. The courts trounced the government policy so badly that the government introduced legislation to change the law so that the court ruling was nullified retroactively.
All those days that the group in the case had been working for free had, according to the ruling, to be compensated. The government introduced legislation to retroactively bar that payment. And now Labour, who says it is all about ‘a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work’, has tacitly supported the legislation. If the enemy of my enemy was my friend, then my friend has just stabbed me and my friends and my peers in the back. What sort of friend does that? And as with Erik, the saying is false. The enemy of my enemy is not my friend.
Anyone that’s in the LGBT community and who speaks English is sort of required to have an opinion about things that this person may or may not know anything about. For instance, I’m often asked what I think of various republicans that come out, and I’m thinking ‘Mate, I’m English. I haven’t a flipping clue’. This doesn’t stop other English people to have these strong opinions about things in America, and vice versa. The other day I was excoriated for being from a Monarchy, and that was proof that I lived under the heeled boots of dictatorial scum. In class, you have just as certain declarations that Obama is the saviour, or that he is the bane of all good things.
I am sitting there thinking, in an attempt at an American accent, “Dude, chill, you know nothing.” I think it’s again part of that easy trap of ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’. Obama appear to be more like us, so everyone supports him. Surprisingly, in a lot of policies, Obama would be to the right of David Cameron – who the same people that praise Obama would have fulminated about for hours during breaks or during class when we discuss these things.
We are so different from the American political system that it is silly to choose definite sides, and while some things can be said from a human perspective, there are technical issues that we just don’t understand, and if we did understand we would be against them.
So, it seems to me to be much better to shut up and not take sides until we actually know stuff, and not fall into that enemy’s enemy trap to begin with because that enemy’s enemy might actually be quite horrible.
The left in this country, for this instance, often doesn’t like Israel. And there have been times when the left has invited people from organisations that oppose Israel.
Whether the basis to oppose Israel is right or not, is not something I have an opinion on. I think that Israel sometimes commit quite awful acts; acts that should be criticised. But that doesn’t mean that the chief opponents of those acts on the ground are good and decent.
In fact, some of the religious based opponents of Israel are in fact quite horrible. They are extreme homophobes and would slaughter Jews given half the chance. Women could kiss their freedom farewell, and it would be a theocratic dictatorship where bearded men with guns would rule at their own pleasure and according to their own whims.
When the left invites those organisations, because those organisations are ‘the enemy of their enemy’, they are creating a situation where they legitimise extreme oppression.
Two years ago, when Erik outed me, he didn’t do so for any pure or altruistic reason. He found out that I was gay, and wanted to hurt me, my reputation, and my place in the group I hung with. I think mostly he wanted to destroy my relationship with Maria because it is so incredibly strong. I think there was an element of jealousy going there.
If I had turned to “the Queen of Jerks”, I would have sided with an extremely selfish individual that never missed a chance to curry favour because of his status as an open gay boy ‘in a sea of homophobia’. When even class assignments became a test for how homophobic the teachers were, even closeted gay-boys like me lost patience.
If I had turned to that guy, then I would have underpinned that guy’s status, and I would have facilitated by choice the chicanery he had. I would have fallen into that trap, and nothing good could have come from it.
Nothing good ever comes from the idea that my enemy’s enemy is my friend. At least, I can’t think of any. It is just to put oneself at the mercy of forces that wants nothing good for me, and expects me to submit to their ideological perspective. Voting Labour in the next election would be to submit that their current support for that heinous legislation is all right.
I won’t ever.