By R.J. Beaumia
If it wasn’t for the fantastic press that homosexuals generate for the Bush administration and the rest of the extremist right, we would have all been sent off and gassed long ago.
If you think that statement is facetious, you’re correct. If you recognize a core truth in it and it makes you nervous, you’re smart.
Recent events have proven that George Bush, Karl Rove, and their formidable publicity machine understand an ugly, unavoidable truth about the mindset of a sizeable and apparently very powerful section of the American public: LGBT people are hated and feared more than war, economic collapse, ecological catastrophe, and terrorism.
We are the catalyst for one of the biggest social movements in American history: billions of public and private dollars are collected and spent; massive institutions with intricate bureaucracies are founded; and brilliant careers in politics and media are made, all dedicated to helping the government rid the United States of the “pink menace.” We are to George Bush what communists were to Richard Nixon.
Like the reds of yesterday, we are supposedly “godless” and, therefore, un-American and unfit for democracy. And like the commies, coincidentally, we’re apparently responsible for many government social programs the Republican party has been trying to eliminate for decades.
Want to cut funding for PBS? Tell everyone about the cartoon lesbians they’ll be forced to watch on television. Want to dismantle the public education system and end vital needs programs for the poor? Give tax-payer funds to religious schools and charities because they protect “family values.” Want to hand over Social Security to your pals on Wall Street? Tell the public that the AARP will force your children to watch men kiss.
Simplistic, yet true nonetheless.
The limitless depravity of the Bush administration’s crusade against the hard-won advances gained by the American middle and working classes over the last 70 years seems to rest squarely upon our shoulders. But this is nothing new.
The conflation of progressive social policies with homosexuality has had various degrees of success as a political strategy through the years. This gambit became tougher, though, with the increasing visibility and strength of the gay civil rights movement. It was much easier to hate “organized labor atheist pinkos” in the 1930s and 40s and the faceless “perverts” in the state department of the 1950s than it is to confront the reality that your smart, handsome son can legally marry the boy next door in the 2000s.
So, the virulent anti-gay rhetoric with which we’re confronted today is an organic outgrowth of decades of an ongoing cultural and political battle that is in its final stage. Though it may not seem like it, we’re now winning the war. The conservatives know it. It’s probably the last civil rights showdown we’ll have in this nation, and the Republicans and the extremist right will employ it as a political tool just like they did in the 1960s. The LGBT community is being used to facilitate a radical shift in government policy, and it could be lethal for us if we don’t unite.
Our cause isn’t helped by the collaborators amongst us, gay conservatives and Republican apologists who, for whatever reason (usually unconscionable personal gain), will sell us out. Journalist Andrew Sullivan as well as David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute, are but two of the few openly gay conservatives who come to mind. The rest are lounging in their ivory log cabins pontificating about federalism and less government interference (?!) in citizens’ lives.
The argument here is not against their conservatism or their political affiliation, but against greed and callousness strong enough to override self respect and the recognition of the basic human rights of all of us. Political debates within our community are expected and even productive, but a majority of us probably would agree that their complicity is tacit approval of the legalization of discrimination against us.
Jeff Gannon, the Republican shill formerly in the White House press corps, is the apotheosis of neo-conservatism: hypocritical, full of hubris, blindly stubborn and cruel, loathing his own humanity and that of others, valuing guile over true achievement, disdainful of the investigative nature of knowledge while praising dogma, and not taking inspiration from religious faith but instead using it as a weapon to shield or cudgel.
Contrary to what loudmouth hacks like Ann Coulter say, most of us don’t care that Gannon was a gay prostitute. In fact, under different circumstances, his determination would be cause for celebration.
Gannon, however, is a fraud, a liar, a lazy, toadying yellow journalist and, worst of all, a collaborator. His “news stories” were often lifted straight from Bush administration press releases, sometimes replete with anti-gay rhetoric.
That’s revolting and damnable. We’re better than that.