Friday, February 19, 2010

With So Few Gays In Congress, Is It Really Possible To Legislate Against Discrimination And Bigotry?


I was traveling back from Albania so I missed Eric Massa and his pal Duncan Hunter, Jr. when they were on CNN with Kyra Phillips on New Years Day. When I saw Eric the other day he asked me to take a look. Forget about Hunter and the stupidity, bigotry and predictable and marketable partisan anger. Hunter is just another GOP Ken doll lucky enough to have a job that doesn't require a mind. (After the "debate" he sheepishly told Eric he wouldn't tangle with him on that topic again. Hard to imagine what topic Duncan Hunter, Jr would tangle with someone on-- other than his specialty, hermaphrodites.)
When cornered by reporters on the illegitimacy of his premises, Congressman Hunter Jr. has chosen to turn on the gay men and women serving honorably in our Armed Forces and resort to homophobia.
He claims repealing DADT will open a Pandora’s Box, filling our military ranks with “transsexuals and hermaphrodites.” He insists that homosexuals don’t have the same discipline and moral integrity to keep them from mounting their heterosexual comrades in showers, barracks and close quarters. Setting aside the disrespectful and degrading element of this argument for just one second, the military has in place rigid policies against sexual misconduct, assault, and unbecoming behavior. We don’t need a ban on an entire gay demographic of men and women willing to give up their lives in defense of their country.
Rep. Eric Massa claimed Hunter is “disconnected from reality” if he believes he never had gay men serving alongside him while he was under fire in Fallujah.

I know I told you to forget Hunter. So sorry for all that. Now forget him.

The reason the clip is worth looking at is because it will help give you some insight into what leadership is all about. And that has nothing to do with a doofus like Hunter. Eric Massa and I don't agree on every single congressional vote. But its his character that makes him so much more admirable than your canned politician. New York's Southern Tier isn't exactly a hotbed of gay activism and although a friend of Ken's who is gay lives nearby, I doubt there are too many members of the LGBT community in New York's 29th CD. Even though over half the people-- if only 5% of the landmass-- of the dustrict is in Monroe County, Rochester's small but vibrant gay community is in another district. Massa doesn't even have Cornell or SUNY Binghamton in his district. Instead he has one of only 4 (out of 29) congressional districts in New York State that voted for McCain. The PVI is R +5. It was Bush's best-performing CD in NY in 2000 and 2004.

Eric is the first Democrat to represent the area in Congress since the mid-1800s. He's not taking strong, principled stands on controversial issues to pander to anyone. Taking a leadership role on abolishing Don't Ask, Don't Tell is different from passively voting for it. It means Eric is on the frontlines of a raging battle with screaming maniacs for whom hatred of gays is the center of their lives. He does it for one reason: he believes, based on a career in the military, that it's the right thing to do. Helping Eric win re-election to a very targeted seat would also be the right thing to do. But don't take my word for it. Take a look at the video below-- and then, if you agree, hit this link and imagine if we had a Congress without men like Eric Massa in it.

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At 12:43 PM, Anonymous Coyoteville said...

I'm a big Eric Massa fan, and live in his district. I have a small correction to your post.

The district was and is quite Republican. However, Stan Lundine (D-former mayor of Jamestown) was the Rep. from this district for 10 years ('76-'86). He retired to become Mario Cuomo's Lt. Gov. Then, Amo Houghton (R-Corning Glass) was elected, followed by Randy Kuhl (R).

At 2:35 PM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Thanks. My understanding is that the district was redrawn and Lundine represented a significantly different area than what Massa represents.

At 11:28 AM, Anonymous Coyoteville said...

Well, we're both correct here. (smile) Lundine was originally elected in the 39th, which got redistricted into the 34th after the 1980 census. He got re-elected from there.

After the 2000 census, it became the 29th, and Amo won again.

Then we had "two shotguns" Randy Kuhl (shudder).

From my perspective in Schuyler County on the eastern edge of this district, it is the same district. From here (Elmira/Corning) along the PA border all the way to Lake Eire. What has changed is how far up towards Buffalo and then Rochester it goes.

I'd bet that after the 2010 census and redistricting it will still exist in some form.

The big issue currently (and Massa is great on this) is "hydro-fracking" related to gas drilling into the Marcellus shale.


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