Sunday, October 31st, 2004

Understanding Republicans, part 2

I'm sure you've seen at least one yard this election season with signs both for Bush and for Kerry. It's understandable given how divided our country is that there would also be politically divided households.

Less conceivable is that even this year, when the Log Cabin Republicans refuse to endorse Bush and when famous gay Republican pundit Andrew Sullivan risks alienating his core audience by endorsing Kerry, there are still some gay people who not only are voting for Bush but aren't in the closet about it.

Still I wasn't terribly surprised to see a Bush sign in the yard of a single gay neighbor of mine, but I was surprised to see in that same yard a sign for Jane Mitakides. Okay, in case you've never heard of her, she's the Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress for Ohio's 3rd district. Sorry to say, she has no chance of winning, despite her being endorsed by former Texas governor Dolph Briscoe (I think that in Ohio, Briscoe, Mitakides and senatorial candidate Eric Fingerhut all have name recognition issues). I plan to vote for her, of course, because I think her opponent, Mike Turner, was a shit when as mayor of Dayton he opposed an ordinance that would have prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation. I fail, however, to understand how someone who supports the president's core Republican values would not also be pleased by Turner. President Bush himself this week in Dayton said that he knows we're all "proud of Congressman Mike Turner" and that he thought Turner was "doing a great job."

I don't know if my neighbor is a Democrat for Bush or a Republican for Mitakides or just an independent (I did e-mail him to ask why he was supporting both George and Jane but he never answered). I guess it means I should cut my straight Republican friend some slack. (Or then again, maybe not, considering the photographic proof this week that Bush's campaign isn't above lying to win votes.)

Saturday, October 23rd, 2004

Understanding Republicans

I have a very close straight female friend who voted against Bush in 2000 who confessed to me last night that she plans to vote for Bush this time. The reason? She doesn't like John Kerry. She saw a documentary that said he lied to get his medals in Vietnam, and she's offended that he spoke against the Vietnam war. She thinks if Kerry wins we'll have socialized medicine. She doesn't trust John Kerry. She thinks that Bush is what this country needs to keep it safe against terrorism. To top it off, even Robin Williams, she says, is conservative.

I love my friend dearly but her using Robin Williams as justification for voting for Bush seems to explain Republicans in a nutshell. She'd been forwarded an e-mail that listed a bunch of sarcastic conservative statements that Robin Williams supposedly said. See, she said, even Robin Williams is conservative. Except it just ain't so. First of all snopes.com found the original e-mail with no mention of Williams. Second of all, Robin Williams does fundraisers for Democratic senate candidates and jokes that "Bush complaining about a lack of intelligence seems sort of redundant." My friend would rather take some conservative propaganda at face value instead of examining it critically. Are all Republicans like that?

The documentary my friend saw was probably the Sinclair Broadcasting program featuring information from Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal. Whether Sinclair's airing of this program was right has been covered by many other bloggers and columnists, but what gets me is that my friend criticized Fahrenheit 911 as being biased propaganda that she didn't need to see. She can make judgments about John Kerry based on one program, but it offends her sensibilities to even watch something that's critical of the president. I pointed out to her that Kerry is the man who risked his life in Vietnam while Bush pulled family strings to stay as far away from Vietnam as possible. That doesn't matter to her. She thinks Kerry lied to get his medals and then dishonored them by speaking against the war. She wouldn't put it this way, but for her a coward is better than someone brave enough to speak his mind.

She also said that most veterans are against Kerry. She's seen the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" ads. She hasn't bothered to do any research as to whether these claims are valid. She has a computer which she uses to forward chain e-mail (such as the Robin Williams one), but she can't be bothered to google "Swift Boat Veterans" and do any reading. I've sent her a link to a truthout.org report discrediting one of the Swift Boat vets. I've also sent her a link to MoveOn PAC's Republicans Voting for Kerry ads. Considering that my friend herself is a Republican who voted against Bush, I hope she'll take time to consider her decision this time instead of just voting against Kerry based on having heard only one side.

I had to laugh out loud when my friend cited Kerry's plans for socialized medicine as a reason to vote against him. First, I'm not sure "socialized medicine" is an accurate way to describe his plans for reforming health care. More importantly, I asked her if she thought Democrats were likely to take control of Congress. When she finally quieted down and listened to me, she admitted that Republicans would probably retain control of Congress. How then, I asked, was Kerry going to implement socialized medicine? Were Republicans in the House and Senate going to roll over and pass whatever he suggested? Hell, Bill and Hillary Clinton had a Democratic House and Senate and couldn't get health care reform passed. My friend is a nurse and so perhaps she knows more about our country's great health care system than I do, but even if Kerry's plans for health care are bad, couldn't she hold her nose and vote for Kerry anyway, counting on political gridlock to fend off major changes?

Understanding heterosexuals

My friend knows I'm gay, of course, and she has many other gay friends. She doesn't think we're evil or sinners. She's conservative enough that calling gay relationships "marriage" makes her uneasy, but not so uneasy that she hasn't gone to gay weddings. Yet she had the audacity last night to tell me that gay marriage wasn't her issue. That made me angry, it hurt me, and I feel betrayed. I told her I was disappointed in her. She tried to say that friends can have different political views, which I guess is true if you disagree about taxes or health care, but to me it's not quite the same when it comes to amending our state and federal constitutions to make me a second class citizen. I pointed out to my friend that she's been divorced twice (a low blow, perhaps, but it's the truth that she, like so many heterosexuals, is hardly in a place to tell gay people anything about how sacred marriage is) and asked her how she'd feel if these amendments were about restricting marriage to people who'd never been divorced. That thought had never occured to her, because heterosexuals just take their rights for granted. It doesn't matter that she's failed at two marriages; she automatically assumes that she should have the right to marry again if she wants. That I would not have the right to any recognition of a relationship, not even civil unions, is less important to her than feeling safe against terrorists.

"Marygate" came up, and my friend, who doesn't think homosexuality is a choice, said she was offended by Kerry's having brought up Mary. Never mind that Mary was already out, never mind that Dick Cheney himself mentioned Mary specifically when asked a general question about gay marriage, my friend was offended by Kerry. Why would she be offended by Kerry but not by the fact that Bush and the Republicans have demonized homosexuals? I truly do not understand. My friend is not alone, however, because most heterosexuals, even those who say they have no problem with homosexuals, were offended. I've already accused Lynne and Dick of being hypocrites about the matter. They're also quite sly, too. Tap into the latent homophobia that most heterosexuals have and divert their attention from real issues. It works well, and I have a very personal example of it.

Feeling tired

I was angry at my friend, but now I'm really just tired, and yes, a bit bitter. Tired, because I really don't feel like wasting the time it will take to try to get my friend to think, to read information she wouldn't go out to find on her own, to see other points of view, to make an informed decision about whether she can really trust Bush more than Kerry. Bitter, because if my friend hadn't let her intentions slip, she would have gone on to vote for a man who uses oppression of people who are her friends as a way to retain power. This is not an apt comparision (at least I hope it's not), but I feel like a Jew in Germany in 1932 whose Christian neighbors held their noses about Hitler's anti-Semitism because they liked the feeling of security and national pride he brought them. Ironicially in 2004 I think I'd rather live in Germany than the United States.

Wednesday, September 8th
If I'd waited a day before posting yesterday, I'd have had the news I was looking for: the Log Cabin Republicans have decided that they cannot endorse the President. Not endorsing Bush however is not an endorsement of Kerry. I wonder who Patrick Guerriero will be voting for.
Tuesday, September 7th
Proving that there are indeed gay people everywhere is the group Log Cabin Republicans, gay men and lesbians whose admiration for the likes of Ronald Reagan persuades them to set aside their distaste for things such as the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment because they believe that core Republican values are more important than any single issue. However, I read that even they are uncomfortable about endorsing President Bush (not that they're about to endorse Kerry instead). As far as I can tell as of today, they haven't made their decision.

Do Log Cabin Republicans think that Bush worries about not getting their endorsement? Perhaps it's more likely that he worries about actually getting it. In an article released today Bob Knight, from the Culture and Family Institute, writes that "LCR is just part of the radical, leftist crusade to transform America into Sextopia" and that "It's time for the Republican Party to realize its mistake in giving Log Cabin any official recognition." It seems to me that if those dirty left wing cocksuckers fine young gay Republicans do actually endorse Bush, the president will have to decline their endorsement to save face with a more important wing of his party.

I can appreciate that Log Cabin Republicans "work within the[ir] party for change." I just wonder if they appreciate that their voting for Bush will likely result in laws and Supreme Court justices who meet the approval of Bob Knight and Concerned Women for America.
 
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