A little less than two months ago I wrote Oh, to Be Free and Gay in America.
Little did I know what a firestorm I’d be stirring up.
Okay, allow me a correction to that post; Nobody used the term ‘gay’ when I was a kid. It was “queer”, “homo”, “pansie”, “fudge-packer” and I think one group of kids called me a “handjammer”.
But now, thank goodness, it’s all over the news! President Obama is in favor of same-sex marriages and Mitt Romney doesn’t remember humiliating and/or beating up but definitely terrorizing and intimidating gay/queer/homo/pansie kids at his prep school.
First, does it matter what Mitt Romney did in high school?
More to the point, does it matter that he doesn’t remember? It matters just as much as then-candidate Bill Clinton saying he didn’t inhale.
The great thing about memory is that we easily remember the unique things that happen in our lives, the extreme things. I’ve written many times and said publicly that people don’t remember their best meal at a BurgerKing because the goal of BurgerKing is to provide the same consistently mediocre meal regardless of what BurgerKing you go to. The ability to remember unique events and extremes — a first bungee jump, for example, or a first time sailing on the ocean — is why people can remember childhood events better than last week’s lunches, or as a colleague put it, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?”
So if Mitt Romney doesn’t remember such an incident then such incidents weren’t unique. They happened a lot. Why else would his campaign go into overdrive to spin the story favorably and Mitt to apologize? Do you think it was because he didn’t inhale? At least Clinton remembered the incident. That indicates that — whether he inhaled or not — he didn’t do it very often.
And Obama’s coming out of the closet that he’s in favor of gay marriage? Was there a political agenda involved?
Let’s see. Wait a second. It’s an election year
Obama is campaigning
Gay rights are a hot issue
Gay rights are a decisive issue
American voters no longer see gay marriage as a “God v Godless” issue and are starting to frame this as a “I’m too tired to care, the economy sucks, I’m not sure if I will be able to keep my job, some nutjob is trying to crash a plane at least once a day, terrorists are putting bombs in their underwear so I’ve got more to worry about than who my neighbor wants in their underwear.”
You’re shocked — Shocked, you tell me! — I know.
Regardless of anyone’s personal evolution on the topic, I’m sure the defeat of California’s Proposition 8 had little to do with any decisions to state that evolution publicly.
I wrote in Oh, to Be Free and Gay in America that much of battle picking involves coalition building and coalitions are where politics and money may overlap. Over US$1MM was donated to Obama’s campaign within 90 minutes of his outcoming.
The coalition has been built. What will the Republicans do in answer?
Again quoting myself in Oh, to Be Free and Gay in America, “We’ll have real equality when the government can figure out how to make money on homosexuality.”
Okay, at least one political party’s got a lock on how to do it. Again, how will Republicans respond? Will it be fear-mongering? Readers will have to be my age or thereabouts to remember that the US government spent next to no money on AIDS research until white, upstanding, virtuous, heterosexual males starting getting it.
By accident, of course.
But did you ever see fear-mongering and fingerpointing shift direction so fast? Not since McCarthyism or Watergate, most likely.
Voting for Equality v Voting for Second-Class Citizenship
If I vote democratic will someone’s gayness rub off on me? And how will others know? Because if the issue of gay marriage is causing this much news and spin it’s got to be important that people know whether or not someone’s gay or not, right?
Let’s not triangulate ourselves away from the core issue, folks. The only reason to care about gay marriage is because you care about whether or not someone is gay. So long as it’s civil unions and not marriage it’s okay because we do the latter and they aren’t like us so let’s make sure in language and law that what they can do is something different from what we can do.
Hey, while we’re at it, how about we just go back to cutting some John Lauber’s hair because we don’t like the way he parts it?
I mean, isn’t that as good a reason as any to scar a person for life?
We’re definitely scarring the cuttee and if the cutter can’t remember…?
Heaven forbid we do it for some really good reason, like we aren’t sure of our own sexuality so we’re threatened by theirs and rather than deal with our own issues we remove them from our presence.
That’s what we really want to do, isn’t it? Because we’re too civilized and such, right? We’re going to vote them off the island or out of town or into second-class citizenship one way or another because it would be too obvious to declare them 2/3s of a person, right?