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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."
Diogenes of Sinope

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Thousand Flowers tapestry (15th Century) - Beaune, France (detail)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Gays, socons and the GOP

The world economy is circling around the drain, the Middle East is teetering on the edge of the abyss, Europe is collapsing, and what are the Republicans arguing about in the US presidential primary race? Gay marriage and homosexuals in the military.

Rick Perry, trying to revive his sputtering campaign, has recently discovered that homosexuals are the greatest threat to America. He put out an ad last week in which he said "I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian, but you don't need to be in the pew every Sunday to know that there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school." Really? That's what's wrong with the US?

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a much-lauded speech last week in Geneva to mark International Human Rights Day in which she announced funding for LGBT rights groups overseas. She said:
Now, there is still, as you all know, much more to be done to secure that commitment, that reality, and progress for all people. Today, I want to talk about the work we have left to do to protect one group of people whose human rights are still denied in too many parts of the world today. In many ways, they are an invisible minority. They are arrested, beaten, terrorized, even executed. Many are treated with contempt and violence by their fellow citizens while authorities empowered to protect them look the other way or, too often, even join in the abuse. They are denied opportunities to work and learn, driven from their homes and countries, and forced to suppress or deny who they are to protect themselves from harm.

I am talking about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, human beings born free and given bestowed equality and dignity, who have a right to claim that, which is now one of the remaining human rights challenges of our time. I speak about this subject knowing that my own country's record on human rights for gay people is far from perfect. Until 2003, it was still a crime in parts of our country. Many LGBT Americans have endured violence and harassment in their own lives, and for some, including many young people, bullying and exclusion are daily experiences. So we, like all nations, have more work to do to protect human rights at home.


It is violation of human rights when people are beaten or killed because of their sexual orientation, or because they do not conform to cultural norms about how men and women should look or behave. It is a violation of human rights when governments declare it illegal to be gay, or allow those who harm gay people to go unpunished. It is a violation of human rights when lesbian or transgendered women are subjected to so-called corrective rape, or forcibly subjected to hormone treatments, or when people are murdered after public calls for violence toward gays, or when they are forced to flee their nations and seek asylum in other lands to save their lives. And it is a violation of human rights when life-saving care is withheld from people because they are gay, or equal access to justice is denied to people because they are gay, or public spaces are out of bounds to people because they are gay. No matter what we look like, where we come from, or who we are, we are all equally entitled to our human rights and dignity.
Perry was outraged by this apparent attack on America's "traditional values". His campaign issued the following statement:
“Just when you thought Barack Obama couldn’t get any more out of touch with America’s values, AP reports his administration wants to make foreign aid decisions based on gay rights.

“This administration’s war on traditional American values must stop.

“I have proposed a foreign aid budget that starts at zero. From that zero baseline, we will consider aid requests based solely on America’s national security interests. Promoting special rights for gays in foreign countries is not in America’s interests and not worth a dime of taxpayers’ money.

“But there is a troubling trend here beyond the national security nonsense inherent in this silly idea. This is just the most recent example of an administration at war with people of faith in this country. Investing tax dollars promoting a lifestyle many Americas of faith find so deeply objectionable is wrong.

“President Obama has again mistaken America’s tolerance for different lifestyles with an endorsement of those lifestyles. I will not make that mistake.”
This is incredible. The Republicans are facing off against Barack Obama in eleven months, and they seriously think that now is the time to bring up gay marriage, Don't Ask Don't Tell and the so-called "war with people of faith"? Here's what blogger Bill Quick has to say about this:
Job number one: Fix Washington so that it is no longer actively trying to destroy the United States of America. Job number one-point-five: Defeat Barack Obama and his party as the first act in fixing Washington so it no longer…etc.

Socons tend to fixate on their own issues and miss the big picture. Because abortion and gay marriage are absolutely critical to their political views, they think they are to everybody’s belief system. But they aren’t. Here’s where the American voter ranks them currently on their list of major concerns: Social issues, two percent. Gay issues, one percent. And so on.

Any politician who thinks he or she is going to ride those issues to victory in today’s climate is simply delusional about what today’s climate really is. And their supporters are projecting their concerns onto the big screen of their desire, which doesn’t reflect the reality of the day at all.


The prospect of hanging focuses the mind wonderfully. And the national mind has felt the noose tightening around its collective neck for several years now. Angel-on-the-head-of-a-pin arguments about abortion, or sweeping hysteria about gays destroying the institution of marriage are minuscule distractions when you’re faced with possibly permanent unemployment, bankruptcy, negative home ownership, and a government that seems hell-bent on making your pain worse, not better.
The world's on the brink of catastrophe and the Republicans are arguing about gay rights. Good grief.


syncrodox said...

survivability trumps sexuality...odd that...and we don't care if you're gay...just quit being so gay about it...or is that too direct?

Let me put this another way...your sexuality is none of my business unless you make it my business...

Eric said...

"Survivability trumps sexuality" - not sure what that means, but I'm assuming your point is that because we don't have children, the future of the species is somehow at risk. Well, there have been gay people around for thousands of years, and straight people keep on having kids.

"We don't care if you're gay" - if that's true, why do social conservatives make homosexuality one of the central tenets of their politics? Why do Republicans like Rick Perry and Rick Santorum lead us to believe it's destroying the fabric of society and make it the centrepiece of their presidential campaigns?

"Just quit being so gay about it." I know exactly how you feel. I have the same thoughts everytime I see some guy in a plaid shirt and a ball cap pull up in the parking lot of Home Depot in his F150, crush a beer can against his forehead, belch, scratch his nuts and slap the checkout girl on the ass. I don't care if people are straight, but why do they have to be so straight about it? Wait ... that's a crude stereotype? Really? Or did you mean that gay people should stop demanding equal legal rights - the right not to be fired because of your sexual orientation in the case of gays in the American military, or to not be imprisoned or executed because of it in the case of gays in Africa or Iran?

I think you missed the main point of my post - most conservatives have more important issues on their minds in an election cycle than homosexuality. The insistence of social conservatives on bringing up issues like gay marriage and gays in the military - topics that around 2% of the electorate consider important - is going to result in a Republican loss next November and four more years of Barack Obama.

Anonymous said...

Hear, hear. I'm a conservative libertarian who has no problem with a lot of mainstream conservative planks, but the situation in the US has gone absolutely nucking futs. They have tied their horses to the bronze-age mythology of the religious nuts, and therefore have to line up to kiss the asses of that segment of the electorate, just as the Democrats have to line up to kiss the asses of the unions. All I'm looking for is someone who spends money in government as carefully as I have to in my own life, but the Republicans aren't even offering that now, because as soon as the issue of cuts come up, their particular pork-barrel spending becomes a sacred cow.

Anonymous said...

Personally as much as I dislike a lot of Obama's policies I think his elimination of don't ask don't tell was a huge triumph. Notice that the world did not end when this policy went into effect. I think the so called "evangelical" vote is bs.

Isn't it sufficient to say "I will respect religious freedom in this country".

Geoff Norquay said...

Great rant.

Well done.

dmorris said...

I'm a conservative,from the fiscal side,and couldn't care less about the social conservative's anti-gay,anti-abortion agenda,but they keep throwing it in our faces as though they are somehow morally superior to the rest of us.

When it comes to choosing a candidate at the local level,we usually have to wade through the rhetoric of socons who want to nominate an anti-abortion,anti-gay marriage type,often an evangelical (alleged)Christian.

That situation occurred here a few years back,and the socons got their way. Their candidate was simply embarrassing in the debates,and he lost in a landslide.

Abortion and gay rights are dead issues in the opinion of most conservatives,the public is generally sick of the whole debate,the sides are polarized and "never the twain shall meet".

No politician who aspires to the top Office ,whether it's PM in Canada or President in the U.S.will even entertain debating the issue,as Stephen Harper refused to do this Spring.

We all want to see Obama booted out of office,but the Opposition field of candidates gets less appealing every week. If they start with the old saws,abortion and gays,they better get used to the idea of a second Obama term.

" ... most conservatives have more important issues on their minds in an election cycle than homosexuality."


Alain said...

I add my voice to that of syncrodox. I saw the ad and it is NOT anti gay. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it is not advancing the persecution or discrimination of gays. I do get rather tired of the whole radical gay agenda. I don't care what consenting adults do in their private life as long as it is not being imposed on me nor a threat to my freedom. I suspect most feel the same. I should add that I feel the same about all the various radical agendi today - feminism, enviromental, Islamic and the rest.

Back to the ad I took its meaning to be that America has the wrong priorities. You may agree or disagree but that is all there is to it.