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"Each individual should allow reason to guide his conduct, or like an animal, he will need to be led by a leash."
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Monday, December 22, 2008

"Homophobia doesn’t run rampant in the Republican Party, pandering does."

James Richardson, formerly the R.N.C's Online Communication Manager, has some interesting things to say about gay rights, homophobia and the "social-conservative base" in the Republican Party. In a recent interview - Yes, Virginia - there is a gay-friendly Republican - he raised some issues that are also applicable to the Conservative Party of Canada. Some excerpts:
The Republican Party has always been, or at least billed as, the “crusader” of limited government intervention and intrusion, which is why I’m baffled we’ve recently adopted this troubling gay-hostile rhetoric by way of appeasing a fraction of the “base.”


Social conservatives, despite their baggage, have earned significant political capital over the years – and you can be sure they know it. The party establishment is (justifiably) fearful that social conservatives will abandon us if we veer from their religion-dominated agenda. And so, we toe the line like good little boys and girls.

Here’s the GOP’s dirty little secret: Homophobia doesn’t run rampant in the Republican Party, pandering does. So many of my former colleagues are afraid they’ll be blackballed by the Don Wildmon’s of the world for voicing their honest-to-God opinions on controversial issues (see any reference to “the List” by social conservative leaders after the Foley fall-out).


While recent polls indicates a growing number of Americans support key equal rights legislation for gay men and women, the number of “base supporters” who favor such legislation is frighteningly low. Vilifying homosexuals is a successful base turnout, and candidates and strategists fully understand this (even if they don’t agree with it). The problem for Republicans now: The values constituency has shrunk, and this gay-hostile rhetoric does us no favors with suburban women and younger voters.


I view my support of equal rights measures as fundamentally in sync with the GOP’s cause of limited government interference, not to mention basic human values. Depriving simple rights like loving the partner of one’s choice is, in my eyes, a gross dereliction of human decency. It is only when we apply these asinine social conservative “culture war” filters that we run into problems of this nature…

Our collective willingness to jump to some biased and inflexible conclusions is a sad testament to the divisiveness of American politics. No one, it seems, is honestly interested in, or prepared for, a meaningful debate: “I don’t want to know you, and you don’t want to know me, unless, of course, you’re willing to admit you’re wrong.”

(ht: Average Gay Joe)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is refreshing to hear!