LCR prez Patrick Sammon has a column up at The Advocate about how LGBT people should be giving money to Republicans.
I don't quite understand the whole gay Republican thing (voting Democrat is about as establishment as I can take, thank you very much), and Sammon's column didn't do much to help. I think his goal was to shoot seven quick reasons at people and hope that no one questions them, but for me they gave the impression that he was completely out of touch with reality. His seven reasons can be boiled down to the following three ideas:
- The Republican Party is actually in favor of small government and equality. What we're seeing the GOP do now is just a handful of Republicans who have gone astray.
- Queer people giving money to Republicans is necessary to achieve equality.
- LGBT equality is not a part of a larger movement towards social justice.
On the first point, it seems ridiculous to assert that there are core Republican principles that almost no one in the party subscribes to. I often hear this from more moderate, more libertarian, or more intelligent Republicans (basically any one of them who's not part of the rabid religious right). If you say, "Gosh, I don't like the Republicans' continued support for the Iraq War," and you get a response from them that says: "Real Republicans support non-interventionist foreign policy," even though I can count the federal level Republicans against the war on one hand. If you complain about the expansion of executive power and the invasion of privacy that Bush's War on Terror/the American People has wrought, they'll say that real Republicans support smaller government, and even though Congressional Republicans have aided and abetted Bush's War on the Constitution for years, well, they've just temporarily gone astray. And if you opine on the reckless financial policy of these past four years of total GOP government, you get a tepid "But real
Republicans support fiscal responsibility, and, besides, supply-side tax cuts might just work this time." And so on.
In the end, it looks like Republicans stand for nothing, because there may only be five or six elected Republicans federally who support the principles of the "real Republicans". The current state of the Republican Party would make Sammon's statement that "Work still remains to make the GOP more inclusive" seem like the understatement of the year if it weren't so obvious that the Republican Party does not have equality as one of its basic principles. If just a little work remained, then no one at the biggest conservative conference of the year would have cheered Ann Coulter calling John Edwards a faggot. If it were just a few R's that needed convincing, then the FMA wouldn't have been introduced in the House in year after year of GOP control, and then stopped the first year that the Dems took it back. And if Republican principles were on our side, the leader of that party wouldn't be promising to veto a bill to help fight hate-based vandalism, violence, and murder against queer people.
While people like Sammon say that it's one of the founding principles of the Republican Party, it's pretty obvious to the rest of us that that's just a talking point against any policy that would help to create equality that acknowledges the current inequalities in the private sphere. In other words, the GOP vision of equality only applies when a policy might knock the already empowered down a notch to make room for so many other people to have a fair shot, and, in those cases, it supports the empowered group.
When comes to the "real Republican" principles, I'll trust the RNC official platform and the actions of the vast majority of Republicans over a Patrick Sammon column in The Advocate.
The second idea is rather silly. Considering that there is really no way for gay money to compete with the religious right's (they have budgets in the hundreds of millions; our biggest advocacy groups work at around ten million), most of the money that we can give to Republican candidates would just add to their budget, but the control of their campaigns would still rest with the anti-gays. Sure, one can find a few Republicans to support who are in favor of some level of legal equality, can anyone point to a case, at the federal level, where a Republican was better than the Democratic candidate on LGBT issues and then actually fulfilled those promises when elected?
"I'm an American first, then a Republican second, and gay falls in third or fourth," said Keeton, who wore a Ronald Reagan pin on his lapel.
Both said they recently met former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at a fundraiser and had their picture taken with him. They were offended when Romney told the crowd that he opposed gay marriage and civil unions.
"We're part of the Republican Party, but he just alienated people who had paid $1,500 for a table," Keeton said.
Really? I mean, really, Keeton, you were really surprised that Mitt Romney opposed same-sex marriage and civil unions after his rabid Crusade against marriage equality and civil unions as governor of Massachusetts? Even after he gave speeches, forced the enforcement of an anti-miscegenation law in order to prevent many same-sex marriages, threatened to withhold pay from Congress if they didn't join him in his battle, and just loves
him some Ann Coulter? Really?
But I think that is the sort of delusion that I'm talking about here. This man and his partner gave $3000 to Romney only to find out what was already obvious to the rest of us, and now that money has just gone to support anti-gay policy making. And while Sammon stipulated that we give money "strategically" to Republicans, for most LGBT Americans, there are no options in their district for pro-gay Republicans. And even those targeted Republicans still caucus with the majority of anti-gay Republicans to support anti-gay House and Senate leadership.
While the Democrats may take us for granted from time to time, let's also not forget that the hate crimes bill and ENDA were not introduced in the Republican House over the past twelve years, but were introduced in the first several months of the Democratic House.
The third principle just jumped out at me when reading the Sammon column. He kept on talking about LGBT rights as if they existed in a vacuum. But there seems to be a strong correlation between being OK with the gays and being in favor of universal health care, against racism, pro-choice, against the War, and other issues. Not absolute correlation, but pretty darn strong. Did we ever stop to think about why that might be? Might there be a relationship between all these issues? Considering that being pro-choice and pro-gay both generally stem from a respect for and comfort with the body, sex, and autonomy for people who aren't heteromasculine males, there's no surpise there. Considering that being anti-war and pro-gay both generally require an ability to think beyond fiery rhetoric and demagoguery, there's no surprise there. And considering that being in favor of universal health care and being pro-gay both generally require a respect for all human life, a recognition of the reality of inequality, and the ability to put oneself in someone else's shoes, there's no surprise there. Sammon's idea that queer equality is just about passing a few laws, while common, isn't at all realistic. The sort of paradigm shift that would have to come to pass in order for people to accept their queer brothers and sisters as equals is, unfortunately, incompatible with the "gooble-gobble, cut taxes, gooble-gobble, gooble-gobble, kill Iraqis, gooble-gobble, gooble-gobble, control women's bodies" mentality.
For full disclosure, I'm not a registered Democrat, I don't identify as a Democrat, but I generally vote Democrat because I see voting as a tool to participate in governemnt, which itself is a tool to better society. But my politics don't with the views of most Democrats, as evidenced by what I write here on this blog.