Thursday, September 2, 2010

David Mixner on Republican Discovery of the Gays as Good News

I'm not so sure I agree with David Mixner that the sudden discovery of gay human beings by the Republican party (and of their part in denying us justice and using us cruelly as objects in political battles for years)  is good news for gay Americans.

I see, instead, a great deal of image-management going on with this sudden discovery.  Anyone could have foreseen that, as their homophboic base grays, the grand old party of heterosexual Southern and Western white men (and suburban anti-taxation swing voters) would have to reach out to younger voters eventually--and the vast majority of those voters do not accept the longstanding Republican homophobic stance.  The sudden discovery of the gays is part of an image-management strategy among Republicans to woo younger voters.

It's also part of a political wedge strategy to keep Democrats fighting about this issue, and to our discredit, we Democrats have created the conditions for that strategy.  We've done so by reneging on our promises to gay citizens once again, now that we've come to power, and (once again) by permitting the right to depict us as vacillating, weak, lacking in moral conviction, etc.

Once in office, Republicans would be no better at promoting the rights of gay citizens than Democrats have been, I suspect.  The one thing that is now different: increasing numbers of gay citizens are refusing to belly up and write those fat checks for a Democratic party that promises us human decency and then treats us like human refuse, once we help to place it in office.  And fewer of us are likely to go to the polls this fall with the strong hopes we had in the last election, as we pulled the levers for Obama and other Democratic candidates.  In fact, more of us may have now decided to take the step I intend to take in my own state's fall elections--a step I have always resisted in the past.

I'm going to make my vote count, even if it's a protest vote that I know full well will be futile when I cast it, if the goal is to elect my candidate to office.  I'm going to cast a protest vote against my Democratic incumbent who is a Democrat in name only by voting Green in the fall election.  And Mr. Obama's refusal to fulfill his promises to me as a gay voter will have much to do with my decision to vote Green in this election.

If the current Republican discovery of gay human beings and of Republican complicity in attacking us over and over for years now serves any useful purpose at all, that purpose might be--I hope--to shame Democrats.  To show them that they have forfeited the moral high road yet again by putting cold, calculating Clinton-style New Democrat pragmatism ahead of human rights and principles centered on human rights, now that they are back in office.

And that they're paying a steep price, indeed, for that choice as the fall elections approach.

The graphic for this posting is by David Hoey at Mother Jones.

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