Democrats are just as gay-perplexed as Republicans
For 60 years the nation has been evolving on gay folks. Both Democrats and Republicans; some have been faster than others. Ever since the first fledgling gay rights groups, the Mattachine Society and others, and Frank Kameny, and others, all back in the 1950s, began to get serious about rights for gays, the nation has been evolving. Yes, there’s no such thing as “gay rights.” Though this is the stock phrase. Many of our erstwhile opponents like to use this turn of phrase to conclude we are getting something “special,” you know, just for us. Such is not the case now, nor ever was. What there was was a wholesale denial of rights for gays.
Simple rights, like free speech, were denied. After all, until 1976 the US Post Office would not allow gay political information to be sent through the mails. Our newspapers, pamphlets, brochures, fliers, etc, etc, were seized and destroyed. The um, perpetrators could be fined or sent to jail. It was not until 1986 that the New York Times agreed to use the word “gay” as an adjective. I dare say even today virtually no mainstream media outlet will carry gay themed political ads or pleas for decency. And indeed, if there’s any gay story in the media at all, it is always “balanced” with someone who is virulently anti-gay. As if the Klan were invited to discuss marriages for African-Americans, or the Nazis brought in when the new Jewish Deli is opened, to discuss the dangers of the Jews to Christian society, of course. Such was our free speech limited, that gay folks were routinely chased out of our own homes until even more recently, I’d say the mid-1990s, for telling our own families we were gay (I was fortunate, this did not happen to me.)
We were denied the right to assembly. We could not even gather in a bar for a beer without the police state coming down upon us. Made no difference if the city, county or state was run by Republicans or Democrats or a mix, there were bar raids. Gay festivals, parades, political rallies, were simply not allowed. A mere small gathering of us could elicit a swift and sure police reaction against our right to freedom of assembly. We could be denied housing, jobs, positions of authority, we could be chased from anywhere, and told to lump it. We could be incarcerated in mental institutions against our will. We were denied the right to law licenses, and other professional licenses. We could not even be plumbers or electricians if some licensing board decided we were unfit merely because we were gay.
Indeed, gay folks were not considered of sound mind and body, so that our assets could be seized, our papers, our very persons, and we were subject to any manner of tortures and be deprived of any sort of liberty to act and be, as of right, free and independent individuals within society. There was no limit to the police state, albeit rarely exercised, that could be hurled against us. Nor was there any limit to the medical industry that could not be hurled against us. They were determined we would be “cured”; indeed, they demand we “cure” ourselves to this very day. Cure what, they’re not sure. What is the cause of their perceived malady, they know not. Why such a thing exists they cannot fathom. They are merely insistent that we change, they don’t care by what method, but it often seems to be more pure than Mother Theresa herself, apparently.
But none of these rights are “gay.” They are American. Our government penalized us throughout our lives; we paid taxes for the privilege. We were considered felons, not that anyone did much about it. The laws were there almost just to condemn, not to follow. Even Justice Antonin Scalia found it very hard to believe that the City of Houston and the entire State of Texas could not find one gay couple to prosecute for “sodomy” or “crimes against nature” for 25 years before Mr. Lawrence engineered his dust up so that the Supreme Court could finally rule that gay folks had a right to some privacy in the bedroom, or elsewhere within our castles. Indeed, barely 2 decades before, they ruled that the police state could be created and directed at gay folks any old which way the politicians would want. And few politicians did anything whatsoever to correct the situation. Not Democrats or Republicans. And when it came time to DOMA and DADT the Democrats joined the Republicans in record numbers in bipartisan denial of rights for gays.
We were denied the right to free exercise of religion, too. Indeed, we still are. For our religion, if I could call it that, since nearly every other religion says we could not possibly be a part of theirs, does say that our marriages are valid and that we are good and decent folks. But we are still denied the recognition of our religious beliefs. If we say our Bible does give grace and succor to us, we are still told by other religions that they have the power of the law against us in the prohibiting of our free exercise. If we say our God has ordained that we be, and that we too live by the test of Jesus, “treat others as you wish to be treated,” then we are denied the free exercise of that belief through the laws pushed by other religions. And these other religions make it clear that all their protests against gay folks, against gay existence, against marriage for us, against the very concept of gayness, are based on their faith and their understanding of their Bible and their God, whom, apparently, they make equally clear, specifically prohibits our existence or our celebration of our lives. And so the laws are based on religion, and not for any other purpose, and ergo, we are denied the very right to our own religious beliefs. Indeed, some certain religions go so far as to say that their coreligionists who give affirmation to us are apostates. Oh, it is entirely a religious matter, and nothing more.
But some of our opponents, on both sides, go even still further, and claim we are “sick” and “ill” and they are quite sure we are “stunted” and “sad” and perhaps melancholy in a psychological and psychiatric sense, they say, as does Maggie Gallagher, of the very ill-named but very sure “get rid of the gays” National Organization for Marriage that we are somehow “infertile” or some such. Well, then, I would think, if any of this is true, that if something is so awry as to require legal and medical sanction and intervention, then we are covered by the American With Disabilities Act. I dare say the ADA gives us ample protections, as does Section 504 of the Education Code, as do all the hazing laws, as do numerous other laws of this nation. I’m a big one for hoisting by petards, and theirs have logically backed them into a corner. If they say we are “not normal” then we’re covered by many laws, to receive some protections and mollycoddling, beyond what even we expect if they would just consider us a normal variant in human nature.
Still, there is, I see, in many places, a great divide among heteros, and among gay people more especially, that there is a belief that the Democratic Party is somehow this big Barney like gay lovin’ purple dinosaur, while the Republicans are this evil pit of vipers out to destroy gay folks. Such is not the case, not even close. For neither party is for us, and if so, only so Johnny-come-lately barely tolerating us and pandering to us that it’s not funny. Nancy Pelosi, congresswomen from San Francisco, just now, just this week, says the Democratic Party platform should approve of marriage for gays. Yes, well, where was she when she was Speaker of the House? She was mum. And she’s not the platform committee, and her idea will be vetted, and I’m sure thrown out and not included, for there are many within the Democratic Party who are quite against gay anything. All those African-American and Latino preachers and clergy and congregants are not in the least gay friendly. They’re not even gay perplexed.
And true, some Republicans have been more vociferous in their opposition to gay existence, and there are certainly many more public statements by those who claim to be Republican against gays, the Democrats are merely better at covering up their tracks. I can find no mainstream media stories about Democratic NY State senator Ruben Diaz and his virulently, violent, “death to gays” “NO GAYS!” rallies. I find that all the so-called lefty media, the ones the Right loves to decry, are all very willing to pay all sorts of anti-gay folks to come befoul their broadcasts. I find that this “balance” in this “debate” to be quite the worse than mere “I’m against you.” Frankly, it’s easier to argue against Rick Santorum who is just not ever going to get away with whatever he thinks he wants to do to gay folks, than it is against some deep in the hate closet African-American preacher who never graces the airwaves, but preaches still, his “death to the gays” and “NO GAYS!” rhetoric.
I find that many Catholic clergy and bigwigs are quite fond of Obama and the Democrats and Obamacare and sustainable this or that and fair social justice or some such, and are still quite anti-gay at the same moment. Only the media, gay or mainstream, don’t cover this. Gay blogs like to be one side or the other, gay commentators express this all the time: Democrats love us, Republicans hate us. Such is not the case, never has been. It’s been individual by individual, politician by politician. I find it interesting that the Republican mayoral candidates in San Diego were all gay. I find it hard to believe that Republican mayors are going to shut down gay bars and parades in their cities. I find that politicians of both parties are slowly, ever so slowly coming around to our side.
And I have found that we gay folks did this all without any laws for us, but only the removal of the laws and medical strictures against us. We did not do this by getting a law telling people to accept us, but we did it by getting people to accept us, and then remove the most egregious laws against us. We didn’t get the psychologists and the psychiatrists or the doctors or the medical community or anyone in science to say we’re good and normal and natural, what we got them to say is “Beats us, but what we thought we know is not true, now we know nothing.” I can’t find an evolutionary or creationist scientist anywhere who can conclude with certainty where we come from or why we’re here. I can’t locate a single person who studies the brain or nervous system who has come up with anything positive about gayness. I have found only the lessening of the negative.
And I haven’t seen any politician ever come out and say, “The gay folks are good,” but only that they either demur comment, wish the matter to go away, and that well, maybe no laws are needed against us, but that still doesn’t make it good. And it would be good if all gay folks would see this, and not go down the road of fantasy by saying “Democrats are for us, and Republicans are against us,” but recognize reality – the entire heterosexual portion of the nation has slowly come to the conclusion that they really don’t know what they are talking about when it comes to gay folks, and they are admitting, finally, that they have more to learn, and that perhaps, just perhaps, we really mean it when we say we just are and that only us are.
And in this coming presidential election, which is so important on being an economic and sound nation, it’s irrelevant to gay folks whether this or that politician is against or for gay marriage. It’s a sideshow. For if the nation is broke, and the money is no good, and the economy collapses, and we go the way of Greece and the rest of faltering Europe, then it’s not going to make a difference if our marriages are legally recognized or not. We’ll be starving, and wondering how to find a meal, and how to live a reasonable life, when the crisis hits. Married people will have no benefit or edge when it comes to a debased and shattered economy. Meanwhile, if the nation is better off than it was four years ago, then our quest for inclusion will continue faster. And if the nation collapses, then our quest for inclusion will continue faster too. Indeed, many an anti-gay person might all of a sudden find that the gay neighbor is indeed alright, since there’s going to be a lot more neighborly helping each other required to get through the coming crisis.
I have said it before, but the current Democrat, Mr. Obama, is clueless about economics, and he and his party are leading us to bankruptcy. And the current crop of Republicans are not really any better. And we are in for another presidential term or two of economic doldrums, near collapse, teetering on the brink, upheaval and whatnot all of which is no good for our pocketbooks. And when it finally gets sorted out, we gay folks will still have to be dealt with. I’m just not worried that any Republican like Santorum is going to have me arrested and incarcerated – the people of the nation, gay people’s families, the local politicians, the city police chief, none of these people is going to follow the dictates of some theocratic blowhard in the White House.
But I am worried about the government taking over everything in the nation and controlling the economy and the health care and the rising taxes and the unsustainable debt & deficits, as the Democrats are pushing. Basically, it’s the money, not the smooching, which concerns me, as it should every gay guy who’s faced with the same Hobson’s choice of two bad choices as all other Americans are faced with. Show me the money, I’ll deal with smooching without the government, thank you.
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