William Kristol’s odd thinking on gay stuff.
I get emails from Bill Kristol on a fairly regular basis. I got one a few weeks ago that I respond to now. He’s the editor of a magazine called “The Weekly Standard” which purports to be “neoconservative.” Why “neo”? Well, it’s not nearly for Liberty, but is rather for government action to their liking rather than say, the government action asked for by oh, liberals. Essentially they argue over spoils, liberty be damned. Apparently I signed up for this some time ago. I don’t read most of it carefully for frankly it’s repetitive. I never responded to it here, it’s just more information for my insatiable appetite for information. But this email struck me as deserving of a paragraph by paragraph analysis. Here, let’s take a look, Mr. Kristol’s words in italics:
“In case you missed it, what with the Olympics and the campaign and continuing awful economic news, the last few weeks have seen the Democratic party waging war on yet another American institution: Chick-fil-A.” Well, I’m not sure it’s just the Democratic party “waging war” on Chick-fil-a. Not to mention that many members of the Democratic party are all for the position of the company, as well expressed by various African-American pastors and their several millions of Democratic voting followers. Nor am I quite so sure that the company is an “American Institution.” No company is an “American Institution,” they are mere companies. If it were such, if Chick-fil-a were to go out of business, would Mr. Kristol, an opponent of bailing out companies, now of a sudden wish to bail out this company? I’m not sure.
Still, I’m not a member of the Democratic party, and I’m sort of “waging a war” (OK, laughing my tuckus off, but still,) on the company. Nor are many other gay men members of the Democratic party, and they too are waging war on the company. More important, though, is who is Chick-fil-a waging war against? Why, their fellow citizens. Especially their gay fellow citizens, but too, anyone who supports us. They have tackled an issue that is wholly irrelevant to chicken selling. And Chick-fil-a seeks to use the government against said citizens. I would argue that if one wants to start a war you can’t very well expect the targets of the war to just up and surrender. Surely that’s not what Mr. Kristol is recommending, is it? Yes, well, it seems it is.
“Chick-fil-A is the nation’s finest purveyor of fast food—chicken sandwiches and chicken nuggets served with waffle-cut fries and lemonade in a mélange of goodness so wonderful it ought to be a sin. Chick-fil-A is a family-owned company, based in Atlanta, and its current president is Dan Cathy, the son of S. Truett Cathy, who founded the restaurant in 1967. The Cathys are a good, God-fearin’ people who put their money where their Bibles are; Chick-fil-A foregoes millions of dollars a year in profits because it’s always closed on Sundays, so as to observe the Lord’s day of rest.” Well, now, I can’t argue with Mr. Kristol’s opinion on the relative merits of the cuisine offered by the company – I’ve never eaten there. The smell from the one outlet that I used to pass in Baton Rouge was enough to gag me. But such a blatant advertisement should be paid for, no? Or does Mr. Kristol always extol the virtues of companies he likes in his rag? He does not; this is, to my knowledge, a first. But, still, a company 10 years younger than me could hardly be an “institution” of our great nation, can it?
And does Mr. Kristol now say that companies who don’t observe “the Lord’s day of rest” are somehow not God-fearin’ people? And since when are God-fearin’ people always correct? Plus, too, it seems not to occur to Mr. Kristol that Chick-fil-a might have caused the controversy to boost its alleged meager profits by their words, and thereby avoid a costly advertising campaign. I would have thought the man more sagacious. As for putting their words where their Bibles are, I dare say, I have yet to hear Mr. Cathy’s position on unwed mothers, abandoning fathers, divorce, adultery, the mixing of meat and dairy, and whether the Ammonites should be smote. How very selective modern Christians are on the words of the Bible.
“Last month Dan Cathy was asked about his views on same-sex marriage by a Christian newspaper. He said that he was against gay marriage and “guilty as charged” in his support of traditional marriage. And so the floodgates opened.” Well, prior to the asking Mr. Cathy was giving money to a host of groups, which is why he was asked. He wasn’t asked out of the blue, that’s for sure. One doesn’t just give millions of dollars annually to groups that want to spray some “gay-be-gone” across the nation without careful thought, I would think. Indeed, he almost certainly sought out the interview and the question. Now, a real American Institution called the Declaration of Independence states clearly that to each his own pursuit of happiness, endowed by Their Creator. Not Mr. Cathy’s creator; he is quite sure that his creator has no truck for gay folks. Good enough. That’s his business. But now Mr. Cathy has made my pursuit of happiness his business too, and attempts to get the government to do as he bids. Cheeky fellow, no? I never questioned his donations. I never questioned his Bible thumping. But I surely question his thumping it at me. For you see, my creator certainly did create gay folks, and He’s rather pleased with us. Why does Mr. Cathy’s creator get top billing and trumps mine? That would seem to contravene a far more important American Institution than a fairly recent chicken salesman. Mr. Kristol ignores this salient reality, of course. He’s not alone, so many others do too. But why would Mr. Cathy think he’s “guilty as charged.” Yes, I stand by my words and acts, but I certainly don’t feel I’m being charged or guilty of anything. Mr. Cathy has a problem with his guilt, perhaps.
The deluge began when Boston mayor Tom Menino sent a letter to Cathy warning his company to abandon its plans to open stores in town. “There is no place for discrimination on Boston’s Freedom Trail,” Menino thundered, “and no place for your company alongside it.”
The deluge did not begin with Boston’s mayor. In fact, Mr. Kristol himself states that in the very previous paragraph that it started with the “guilty as charged” verdict. Surely Mr. Kristol can’t have two starts to the same debate, can he? Now, Mr. Cathy is a God-fearin’ Bible touting man, it’s claimed – so why would he wish to open a store which promotes such fine things right there in the den of iniquity which he so clearly thinks it must be? Gay marriage is very legal in Massachusetts. Does Mr. Cathy now wish to sell to the heathens? Geez, talk about your “screw my beliefs, we got profits to be made, only not on Sunday.”
But here was Mr. Kristol’s chance to argue against zoning laws and the issuing of permits to anyone to open any business. Instead, he misses the opportunity to promote liberty by complaining that the mayor in charge of “community standards” is somehow wrong. How can it be that Mr. Cathy who represents himself is free to state his own Bible beliefs, then go against it by serving his delicacies to the heathen and their enablers, and then that Mr. Menino has no business questioning this?
Indeed, could not Mr. Menino, charged by law with protecting the public peace, not want Chick-fil-a in the city because far too many Bostonians would oh, say, protest and maybe riot against the company which tells them they are sinners going to hell? People get ornery when you tell them they are destined for the fryer, I assure you. And in fact, Boston has a long history of denying companies a place in their city, even gay bars (though long ago.) Somehow I just can’t imagine Mr. Kristol getting all that upset that a gay bar was denied a permit to operate in Boston under the rubric of “we don’t want your kind here.” Indeed, previous mayors of Bean Town were all for raiding gay bars. I did not hear Mr. Kristol ever raise a word of concern over that bit of destruction of the American Institution of the right to freely assemble.
“Next came Chicago, where mayor Rahm Emanuel warned the company to stay away and one of the city’s alderman, Joe Moreno, openly admitted that he was going to deny the company’s applications to open restaurants in his ward.”
Ditto for Chicago as for Boston. And I did not hear Mr. Kristol complain about a God-fearin’ Bible lover’s call for the end of gay parades – aka, peaceful political protest under the First Amendment – by Cardinal George of that city. How strange that.
And then there was San Francisco, whose mayor Edwin Lee wrote that the closest Chick-fil-A “to San Francisco is 40 miles away & I strongly recommend that they not try to come any closer.”
Now, why Mr. Cathy would want to put a Bible based restaurant in arguably the gayest city in America is a mystery to me. I dare say some 80% of the population there is rather uncaring and benign towards the ¼ of the city that is gay. And is Mr. Cathy that craven for profits to want to sell chicken to gay folks, but not for their wedding receptions? That is very strange. I would think that Mr. Cathy would wish to stay away from San Francisco all the time. I’m almost sure that given his thundering over gay folks he’d be quite happy if the city was struck with a catastrophic earthquake, and then blame the gays for the natural disaster as God’s will. And say, whatever happened to the vaunted “Community Standards,” well spoken of when against gay folks, but somehow wrong when spoken for us?
“When Washington’s corrupt mayor Vincent Gray started speaking out against Chick-fil-A, it was almost an afterthought.” I bet it was.
“There are many lessons in this little incident. One, for instance, is about the ways in which government can bully businesses—can you imagine elected officials publicly announcing that they were going to willfully and capriciously deny a company permits to operate?” Indeed, many lessons, for why, yes, Mr. Kristol, I can imagine elected officials acting capriciously. In fact, I could come up with dozens of examples of cities, states even, which have said repeatedly that they don’t want gay taxpaying citizens in their cities and states. Fort Worth’s mayor in 2009 authorized a raid on a gay bar to get rid of it and its patrons by simply busting the place up – far beyond a mere denying of a permit. Why, not too long ago, well within the lifetime of Chick-fil-a, many, well, almost all, mayors across this land routinely raided gay bars, and denied permits to gay companies. Why, there were even laws, even in Massachusetts that said it’s illegal to serve alcohol to homosexuals, and denied permits to operate. States were sure that gay folks were psychopathic criminals, and in need of immediate incarceration and medical experiments against their will, and acted accordingly. Indeed, Texas, and some 23 other states, went to the Supreme Court to claim the right to act capriciously in denying gay folks the right to smooch legally. And in fact, the very denying of a marriage license, by any name, to gay couples, is exactly a denying of a permit to, um, get down to business.
Meanwhile, the entirety of the zoning laws of this nation are set up to deny permits to businesses for this and that reason. Why, they’re still used, in NYC for example, to deny a gay bar a permit to operate within 500 feet of a church. There being many churches, it’s hard to find a spot. Still, the point of zoning is to deny permits, or at least so control them on moral, ethical, public safety, community standards and a host of other reasons. I can’t imagine that Mr. Kristol never heard of zoning laws. And so the mayors, with an eye for moral, ethical, public safety, et al, reasons might well deny a permit for not “capricious reasons” but to quell the incipient riots, protests and the potential for violence to Chick-fil-a should that company desire to open a restaurant within a mile or two of a gay bar, yes? Don’t mayors have the job of preventing potential violence in this “cultural war” against gay folks? Sure they do! Would mayors be right to deny say, a KKK souvenir shop a permit well before it ever got to an actual application? Sure they would. Would Mr. Kristol complain? Doubtful.
“Then there’s the lesson about the left’s commitment to the First Amendment: They’ll fight to the death for an artist’s right to be paid by the government to desecrate a crucifix, but a private citizen espousing a view which was held by President Obama three months ago? That’s intolerable in the public square.”
Well, now, I’m on the “right,” and I stand behind none in my defense of Mr. Cathy’s right to say what the hell he wants – with the corollary that gay folks might say whatever we please right back at him. As for the “Left,” well, who the hell cares what they say? After all, the “Left” has long been anti-gay – exactly as Mr. Kristol points out Obama was – and exactly as many gay folks pointed out, myself included. Indeed, this issue is not about the “Left” – for they might be married as many times as they wish. It’s about gay folks. And all this way through this mush, Mr. Kristol still has not mentioned us other than obliquely refer to his belief he seems to share with Mr. Cathy that the Bible trumps the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and certainly beats the daylights out of gay folks. Not once yet has Mr. Kristol taken a stand on gay folks’ rights. Oh, I’m sure he thinks we have none, not even to existence.
Mr. Cathy thinks we should be gone – it’s not about “marriage” – it’s about his donations to groups that wish to get rid of gay folks by any means possible. Mr. Kristol didn’t utter a word (I would have gotten the email, no?) when a member of his party, the Republicans, from Mississippi, stood up in the House of Representatives, and called for the death of fellow American citizens. Egad, Mr. Cathy is perhaps not going to add a few bucks to his ample fortune, and Mr. Kristol is in a dither, but killing Americans for sport and their God is just fine? What the hell is this country coming to? I’ve heard of complaints about “profits over people,” but calling for my death is a bit beyond the pale. Where was Mr. Kristol’s outrage, or even mild concern on that?
As for his lament of the crucifix – well, I dare say, I’m all in favor of simply doing away with 100% of all government support of the arts of any sort. Up to and including museums and the opera and symphony. I can’t for the life of me find a good reason for my tax dollars, or the tax dollars of some poor schnook off on Sunday due to Mr. Cathy’s beliefs, going to support the opera so as to keep it available at a lower cost to the rich folks who listen to Brunhilda. Why is not Mr. Kristol using this opportunity to call for the end to all such grants? I ask him to join me. He does not, he merely wants to channel the funds to his favorites.
Not to mention – long before the mayors got involved it was gay folks, gay citizens, gay taxpayers, privately, without any government support whatsoever, who were arguing with Mr. Cathy. But Mr. Kristol doesn’t seem aware of this. Perhaps he should read some gay blogs. He might learn a thing or two. Particularly that we are not an appendage of the Democratic party, nor are we of the “Left.” Our situation is wholly different, and it has not political side – we have to argue with everyone on every side and the middle too.
“But for my money, the biggest lesson is about the differing responses from the left and the right to competing worldviews.” Well, and for my money it shows how the “Left” and the “Right” will argue incessantly over gay folks without ever allowing us into the conversation about us. Nor will either side give us a moment’s respite in their use of us as a punching bag. Nor will either side ever admit for a moment that they are/were on the same side against gay folks for decades. No Democrat was for rights for gays until just the past decade – they’re evolving. So are many Republicans. Hell, the whole nation is, regardless of party or no-party. That Mr. Kristol doesn’t see fit to bother to mention that gay folks are not only part of this discussion, but are the subject of the discussion, is rather astounding. He doesn’t seem to think we matter much at all in this alleged competing worldview where he agrees with many on the “Left” – such as black preachers and Hispanic Catholics – so is Mr. Kristol on the “Left” then, in agreeing with them? And he’s blind to the reality that Mr. Obama, desperate for a few bucks and votes, has finally made the tiny step of saying he’s all for states to decide our fate? I can’t help it if some gays buy the man’s mush. Many heterosexuals do too.
“You see, just before Dan Cathy admitted that, as a private citizen, he held a view supported by half his countrymen, the heads of Google announced that they were devoting the publicly held company’s financial resources to a worldwide gay-rights campaign to “Legalize Love.”
The folks at Google were not speaking as private citizens, understand. They were using their shareholders’ money to undertake direct action in service of a view which is held by about the same percentage of people as its opposite.”
I note then that Mr. Cathy is arguing against half of his countrymen. If only half support him, the other half don’t, yes? And Google’s leaders were certainly speaking as private citizens, and even publicly held corporations have rights to support charitable giving – it’s in the IRS code, by gosh. Plus, Chick-fil-a is a franchisee corporation – and Mr. Cathy’s statements impacts their bottom line – up to the point of New Hampshire’s sole Chick-fil-a outlet being against Mr. Cathy’s statements. Ah, corporations are people, eh Mr. Kristol. You were all for that decision. You thought it was grand. Now when this “person” speaks he’s not “private”? And how does Mr. Kristol know that the shareholders of Google, well aware of their leaders’ work on the behalf of gay folks, are against this? I haven’t heard a word about any shareholder of Google complaining. Perhaps they are all members of the half of the countrymen who are for gay folks’ pursuit of happiness.
“And you know what didn’t happen? The governors of Texas and Mississippi did not announce that all public computers will now have their web browsers reset so that Bing is the default search engine. YouTube was not banned on computers in Salt Lake’s city hall. No major figures called for boycotts of Google.”
Mr. Kristol is obviously wholly unaware of that Congressman from Mississippi calling for our death in the well of the House; he’s yet to worry about the genocide it would entail. Not to mention supporters of his own party being for boycotts of Google, Starbucks and a host of other gay supporting businesses. Nor does he seem to realize that Bing, run by Microsoft, is also for rights for gay folks. Really, he’s got to get out of the fast food joints and learn something about NOM, Million Mothers, Family Research Council, and a host of other recipients of Mr. Cathy’s money who are all for boycotts of gay friendly companies. He should also be aware that these groups are against full citizenship for gay citizens, which I dare say is a bit more important that whether Mr. Cathy makes a dime. Plus, these groups are hosting conferences for Republican candidates which all show up. Not to mention that YouTube should not be being watched in Salt Lake’s city hall – those people are supposed to be working on important public business – not watching YouTube for heaven’s sake.
I don’t mind the left’s pushback on Chick-fil-A—this is how you have big, national debates about important issues—except that the street only runs one way.” Well, I don’t mind debates about important issues either – but at least let gay folks, left and right, and mostly unpolitical actually, have a say in the matter. Gay folks didn’t ask some whack job like Bill Maher to come to our defense, we do quite enough on our own. Mr. Maher himself didn’t utter a word for gay folks until the last few years. He was making jokes about us. He didn’t say a word about the laws against us, or bar raids. He’s only out to screw Republicans, and he doesn’t give a damn about gay folks. And we didn’t hire or appoint him or any other heterosexual to be our voice. We did this on our own, in a bit of God-fearin’ Bible and real American Institutions on our side.
As for whether gay marriage is an “important” issue, well, blow me down. Out of all the issues facing this nation gay marriage is the one that affects no one but us. But here we are, at the near end of the man’s article about us, and we still haven’t appeared other than as almost an afterthought. We’re just not part of this discussion. Nor is Mr. Kristol remotely concerned that gay tax dollars are supporting the defense of laws against us – and when Mr. Boehner held a “hearing” on whether he should defend DOMA he invited but one witness: NOM’s Maggie Gallagher, a gluttonous unwed mother hellbent on capriciously removing gay folks from this nation. And in her all-but-genocidal rage against us, Mr. Kristol hasn’t come to our defense to live in peace, but instead rushes to the defense of her funding sources. Egad, talk about your one way street eh, sir? Hell, gay folks aren’t even allowed on the street!
“One final example: Another big, national chain, Office Depot, recently announced a partnership with Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way Foundation.” The foundation’s ostensible goal is to encourage bullied teens, though with a strong sub rosa message of gay rights and acceptance.” Now the man is an idiot – there is no “strong sub rosa” anything – the whole point of her campaign is to get rights for gays and our acceptance. Egad, is the man that dense? Plus, his party has consistently sought to stop any and all anti-bullying efforts; Illinois just refused to pass a law to prevent bullying in schools – not on technical grounds of an ill crafted law with a proposal of their own – but merely because it attempted to protect gay teens from Bible thumpers. He really should go to these “family values” conferences and listen to the organizers speak with high praise for bullying gay teens. Why, they’re quite enraged that the “It gets better” campaign.
“Without rendering any verdict on the foundation’s work—and I think we can all agree that kids shouldn’t get bullied for anything, not for being short or smart or awkward or gay—this doesn’t seem like a natural philanthropic fit for Office Depot, a publicly held company that makes its money selling paperclips to other businesses.”
Egad, he is! He’s dense! Sir, you’ve already rendered a verdict on the Gaga foundation – you have been amply clear that you support all the laws you can muster against gay folks. You don’t want rights for gays – you argued against any law for us for your magazine’s entire history. And to argue that Gaga is not a natural fit for Office Depot, but somehow Chick-fil-a is a natural shoe in for supporting groups that wants gays gone is astounding. Really, sir, you can’t see that gays and our marriages have nothing to do with chicken sandwiches? Yikes!
“So why in the world would Office Depot risk alienating any of its potential customers by embracing a cause that might, in any way, be seen as signing on to a particular ideological agenda? Because the street only runs one way.” Gayness has nothing to do with ideological agendas – if it did then in the year that Chick-fil-a was founded we wouldn’t have been hounded by Democrats and Republicans alike – or did they share this ideology of bash gays? You forget your history. And you are wholly ignorant of gay folks. We come in all flavors of political ideologies. You are blind to this; go read a gay blog, see the debate over “left” and “right.” And why would Chick-fil-s risk alienating any of its potential customers by doing the same? Talk about your one way cul de sacs, yes?
“Can you imagine Office Depot joined forces with, say, a crisis counseling group which steers pregnant teens away from abortion? Even though both causes are, technically, non-ideological? Me neither.”
And can you imagine Chick-fil-a joining forces with any group that wants to get rid of divorce, adultery, abortion and unwed mothers? Me neither. They haven’t – but are worried only as to whether to gay chicken sandwich eaters in their restaurants have a piece of paper in their hands that says “marriage.”
And so we can see, typically, that in an article on gay folks’ right to be left alone, gays aren’t really mentioned – “sub rosa” at best. Hell, we’re not part of the “debate” – we’re told to shut up and listen to our alleged betters. Mr. Kristol is just as guilty of the one way-ness that he decries in the “Left” – indeed, the Right is very one way on this – “gay be gone.” Surrender or face government sanction. What does Mr. Kristol think Mr. Cathy is arguing for? Bible beaters are sure its an “abomination” and we need to be gotten rid of. Come, sir, be honest about motives in their entirety, not the mush of the day.
And there goes another ½ hour of valuable time in refuting mush heads. It doesn’t take long to write this stuff, I assure you.
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