Sunday, April 28, 2013

How Long Before Half the Gays Will Vote Republican?


Very nice; not for me

There was a time when no self-respecting son of Ireland or Italy, not to mention the children of immigrants from Eastern Europe, would consider voting for he stuffed shirt party of richie rich Republicans. Republicans were class enemies and Democrats were working for the betterment of working families. Republicans backed busting their unions to keep them down, while Democrats helped expand the middle class by passing minimum wage laws, extending the franchise, outlawing child labor, mandating collective bargaining, writing legislation to protect employees at their workplaces, all things the GOP fought tooth and nail. And the result? Millions of the grandchildren of immigrants from Ireland, Italy, Russia, Poland, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Germany moved up the economic ladder into prosperity and many of them went with the instinct of pulling up that economic ladder with them and... voting for Republicans. It's a cycle and it's worked for the GOP for decades.

And one day, as hard as it is to believe for non-gays now, it will work with gay people as well. In the current issue of Out there's a prominent sidebar on their "Power 50" feature, The Conservative Gay Tipping Point by Jason Farago. "It's too soon to call the GOP gay-friendly," he acknowledges, "but the rise of the pro-gay marriage Republican is a sign of a shift."
The Obama administration’s recent briefs to the Supreme Court against DOMA and Proposition 8 attest to the huge progress gays and lesbians have made in our fight for equality. But another, more unexpected brief may reflect an even greater change. In February, more than 130 Republicans petitioned the court to strike down the discriminatory California amendment-- and asserted that there’s no contradiction between conservative principles and same-sex marriage.

Many of them seem to have had a recent change of heart. Jon Huntsman, the former Utah governor who opposed gay marriage when he ran for president last year, signed the brief. So did Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett-Packard, who during her campaign for governor of California said she’d voted for Prop. 8 due to her “faith and conscience.” Steve Schmidt, John McCain’s campaign strategist, is there too, as is Stephen Hadley, George W. Bush’s national security adviser.

The brief’s main engineer was Ken Mehlman (No. 32 on Power List 2013), the gay Republican investment banker who managed Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign, which you may remember for its vicious strategy of demonizing gay Americans to drive evangelical turnout. But with younger voters decisively in favor of gay equality, Republicans have no choice but to adapt, and Mehlman, a consummate GOP insider, is now in the vanguard of an effort to reposition the right as a tolerant force. He’s not the only power player. The lead counselor in the Prop. 8 case is himself a veteran conservative: Ted Olson, who successfully fought Bush’s side in the 2000 Supreme Court case that won him the presidency.

It’s far too soon to call the GOP gay-friendly. Mehlman could find only two sitting members of Congress willing to join the Prop. 8 brief; only one Republican senator, Rob Portman of Ohio, is on the record as personally supporting gay marriage, and even he stopped well short of endorsing a constitutional right to wed. Conservatives still bridle at other political goals shared by many gays, from employment protections to AIDS research to transgender rights. All the same, the rise of the pro–gay marriage Republican is a sign of something: that in less than a decade, our relationships have won broad acceptance and that, at this rate, even the right will soon have more to gain from tolerance than from bias. That may be progress of a cynical sort, but it’s progress all the same.
Progress! Because half the gays would rather be Ward and June Cleaver than live the heroic bohemian life outside the cookie cutter mainstream inherent in what it meant to be gay to Jean Genet or John Rechy. Ah, alienation!

Conservatives say gays "choose" to be gay. That's not completely false. You may be born gay but to a good little Republican, the choice comes in on whether or not you open that closet door. A few days ago we looked at the tragedy of Mississippi Republican Congressman Jon Hinson, one of the dozens of closeted Republican elected officials whose lives were defined by the wrong choice, the only choice permissible for a conservative-- life in a dark, tortured closet. His miserable ending is the only permissible ending for a gay Republican... at least if they want to stay Republican (which really is a choice).

Let's go, Wally!
I acted on my unexplainable, mysterious biological feelings because-- at least in part-- I didn't want to be Ward and June Cleaver. Not ever. Not for one second of my existence. I would rather be an outlaw. I read The Thief's Journal and Querelle by Genet and my fate was sealed. I read Rechy's City of Night and Numbers, started supporting myself as a male prostitute and bought a VW van so I could drive across the country to L.A., specifically to Griffith Park (where, totally coincidentally, I live now). I would have been happy to screw Wally Cleaver when Barbara Billingsley and Hugh Beaumont were at church with Beaver but there was never a day in my life when I wanted to join a church, join an army or get married-- or be a Republican. Enjoy the video; there's no reason it's part of this post... except that it insisted on being included. So what the hell; it's good.

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At 8:05 PM, Anonymous me said...

Democrats were working for the betterment of working families

Those days are gone. The Dems have become nearly as bad as the repubs.

At 8:21 PM, Anonymous me said...

there’s no contradiction between conservative principles and same-sex marriage

Quite true. "Conservative principles" involve stealing from the working class, no more, no less.

The religious bullshit the gop has been spouting all these years has never been anything but a position of convenience, designed to get the votes of idiots. It's worked too, for quite some time.

Nowadays, it's looking like that technique might stop getting them votes sufficient to win elections. It might even begin to hurt them, and if that happens, they'll drop it like a hot potato.

Not that it matters. Rich bastards own the government (which has been true many times in the past) and nearly ALL the media (which is a new phenomenon). They control the debate; what opposition exists is small and powerless, and an army of tools, from TV talking heads to internet blog posters, actively slap down anyone who looks like they might change things.

So sure, have your same-sex marriage. Your bosses really don't give a shit, as long as they can still confiscate the fruits of your labor.

At 10:09 AM, Blogger Jacob said...

Bill Maher supports tyranny.
The Democrats are not non-conformist, they're the establishment supporters and the epitome of conformity. You want to be a rebel? Question the wisdom of the media, the dear President Democrats love so much, and more government.
Obama and Pelosi are the definition of the establishment.


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