You may have noticed, in this week’s issue of Between The Lines, mention of a 2010 Michigan Secretary of State candidate. You may have seen the name Paul Scott, and you may have read that he is a state representative from Grand Blanc.
But what we hope is abundantly clear from our (excessive? Abusive? Deserved?) coverage of this particular politician are the many, many reasons why we cannot allow someone like Rep. Scott into a high-ranking political office in our state. Never mind that he is already a representative. If Scott has his way, he’ll see to it that transgender Michiganders receive no recognition from the department he hopes to govern.
We’ve inundated our readers – through Viewpoints, quotes and news coverage – with the community’s own reasons why this should matter to our community of LGBT and allied voters.
But we at BTL want to drive the point home.
Paul Scott is, no doubt, a right wing-driven, narrow minded, uninformed man who is obviously out of touch with the real needs of our state and its citizens – no matter their gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation. He is backed by conservative nut jobs like Gary Glenn, and he very clearly has his priorities out of whack.
It’s amazing that any voter would take him seriously as a candidate for Secretary of State. But here’s what scares us about that: Some people will. With enough money and the right backing and advertising, it is amazing what good, normally fair-minded people will support.
Lest we all need reminding, Proposal 2 passed in 2004 after many Michigan voters were tricked into believing it wouldn’t take away domestic partner benefits from LGBT couples. On an even larger scale, many of us laughed when a man named George W. Bush ran for president. And we all know we were not laughing by the end of his eight years in office.
Still not clear on where we’re coming from? How about anti-marriage equality amendments based on lies about “converting” children to homosexuality. Proposition 8, for which a driving factor for many voters were claims of legalizing pedophilia. Anti-discrimination ordinances turned down because of fears of “men assaulting women in bathrooms.”
Candidacies and proposed laws that play off of people’s fears have a terrible history of triumph, and lies taken as facts can turn fair-minded neighbors into harsh opponents.
The point is that we shouldn’t discount a candidate like Scott as a possible upset for our community – and our state. He may seem crazy and out-of-touch to many of us, but this 27-year-old representative from Grand Blanc could become LGBT Michigan’s next greatest upset.
Our state needs to move forward, not backward. At this crucial time in the rebuilding of our economy, we need to welcome innovators in every form, not to marginalize certain groups and allow others to bully us around. We can’t afford to be the state that others look at and shake their heads, saying, “What a waste.”
People like Paul Scott will waste our potential and drive more citizens away. We must see him and other anti-LGBT candidates as serious threats, lest we are left on Election Day of 2010, scratching our heads and asking ourselves, “How did this happen?”