I finally have empirical proof that “Special Interest Group” just means “group that wants to do something conservatives oppose.”
I’ve always known this in a sort of episto-sarcastic way. “Oh yeah right,” I’d say, sarcastically, “gays and lesbians are a special interest group because getting married, visiting your spouse in the hospital, and not having the crap beaten out of you are such special things to do.” In contrast to companies that don’t have to pay taxes or answer in court when they violate the law – a very ordinary, unspecial approach to citizenship.
Indeed, any group advocating for civil rights – that is, the same rights that straight, non-disabled, white people take for granted – is a “special interest group” advocating for “special rights.” For example, here’s Juan Williams,* with the standard line that people with disabilities are a “special interest group.”
But I finally found a naturally occurring example of the flexibility of the term “special interest group.” To graduate from being a “special interest group” to “fine upstanding Americans,” you just have to find a group that annoys conservatives more. Here is a Republican politician in New Hampshire, reacting to the fact that a liquor store has parking reserved for hybrid cars near the front entrance where the accessible parking usually goes:
To choose to display such blatant priority for special interests over seniors, wounded veterans and others who have mobility difficulty is deplorable.
* This link contained a paragraph so classic I have to paste it in its entirety. Here is Juan Williams making the all-important link between speaking respectfully about people with cognitive disabilities and the downfall of western literature:
That’s ridiculous. These special interest groups say you shouldn’t say retarded. You should say developmentally disabled. It’s silly to make a big deal about it. It’s like language police. You’re made into a villain. It’s being done to enforce a certain speech code. It leads to resentment, anger. It leads to people thinking we’re not allowed to read books by dead white men even if they’re great books. What a waste of time. Just have an honest conversation.