By Dawn Wolfe Gutterman
This is a column about how to become involved in politics.
Wait! Keep reading! Yes, you! Even if you’ve never voted, contributed to a candidate, or feel that politics is, like sex and religion, just one of those subjects that polite people never discuss at the dinner table.
It’s possibly even more important that you keep reading if you’ve given up, feel that your vote doesn’t or has never counted, or feel like a miniature David up against the frequently anti-LGBT Goliath that is the U.S. government.
Because, for one thing, this column is about having fun. I promise you – no long, boring discourses or dry lectures on Your Civic Duty. Together we are going to have good, dirty, sometimes snarky fun while learning how to have a real impact on the people and issues that shape our lives.
Each installment of this bi-monthly column by your bisexual Wonkette is going to be devoted to how you, all by yourself – or, if you choose, with a little help from your friends – can take one or two fairly quick, concrete actions for the cause of LGBT equality. We are going to talk about issues from The State of Gay Rights 101 to Just What Is a Gay Republican, Anyway? We are going to talk about Christian Nationalists, and the fact that LGBTs aren’t the only ones who should be afraid of them. We may even compare the fashion sense of the different gubernatorial candidates, or discuss what we can learn about the personalities of different candidates by learning whether their choice of pet is a French poodle, a Siamese cat or a Burmese python.
Along the way, I am going to invite your contributions. After all, politics is the language of social change. And it’s time that our community started having a dialog about it.
Let’s start, shall we?
Last week, BTL reported the results of the two major partys’ nominating conventions. We did not, though, make note of the Republican Party’s choice of candidates for State Board of Education or University of Michigan Board of Regents.
For State Board of Education, the Republican Party has, in its wisdom, chosen Tom McMillan.
Yes, that Tom McMillan. One of the many dedicated, caring individuals who worked so hard to bring anti-gay marriage Proposal 2 to our state’s Constitution. There are many, many more things that could be said about Mr. McMillan’s hostility to the LGBT community – but really, isn’t that enough?
For U of M Board of Regents, the Republicans offer us David Brandon, a current incumbent and CEO of Domino’s Pizza. Brandon earlier considered a Senate run, but dropped out and instead gave a check to Keith Butler, one of the more virulently anti-gay preachers ever to take a run for a Republican nomination.
Now, you may not have kids and you may not be either a current or former U of M student. So why should you care whether these two anti-gay bastions make it into office?
For one thing, you should care because the State Board of Education sets the policies and guidelines for our public schools’ curriculum. If Christian extremists are elected, Michigan’s students could be hampered by “Intelligent Design” instead of hard science and even more misinformation packaged as “abstinence-only sex education.” As for U of M, transgender students and faculty have been trying, unsuccessfully, for a long time to have anti-discrimination protections added to the school’s bylaws. While your Bi Wonkette doesn’t know Mr. Brandon’s position on this matter, it isn’t difficult to guess.
But even if these issues mean little or nothing to you, you should care because every victory for an anti-gay, Christian extremist candidate is a loss for our community. Electoral victories give these people seeming credibility in the eyes of the public, regardless of how insane their views may be.
Finally, you should care because their loss would make people like Gary Glenn unhappy. Almost anything that makes the Gary Glenns of the world unhappy is a good thing for our community.
Over the next two months, BTL is going to bring you lots of opportunities to learn more and be more involved in the political process. In the pages of our regular issues and in our online Voter’s Guide we’ll give you everything you need to know to help elect fair-minded candidates. If you want to take your involvement even further – volunteering for a pro-LGBT political organization, for example – we’ll help you do that, too.
And, of course, your friendly Bi Wonkette will do all she can to keep you informed. The rest is up to you.
Dawn Wolfe Gutterman has been passionate about grassroots politics since, at age nineteen, she circulated Nuclear Freeze petitions. Now that you know how old she is, contact her with your suggestions, complaints or compliments about this column at [email protected] or (734) 293-7200, ext. 59.