[EDITOR'S NOTE:] This guest post comes to us from Steph Mineart. Steph is a website designer, lesbian, long-time blogger, and occasional writer on political issues. Commonplacebook.com is her online home, and she resides in Indianapolis, Indiana with her lovely girlfriend, adorable dog and mischievous cats.
I've been saying I'm going to write about the March 11th special election, and I haven't forgotten that. I actually have had a REALLY long post written about it since Friday, but I've revised it 10 times and can't quite get out what I really want to say... so I'm starting over.
Hopefully you've all figured out by now that Julia Carson's District 7 seat as a U.S. Representative is being filled by a special election on March 11th. Whomever wins will still need to campaign again to be chosen in this May's primary race and to be re-elected in November if they are the candidate.
The two contenders for the seat are Democrat André Carson and Republican Jon Elrod. Elrod is currently my rep in the statehouse, having upset Ed Mahern for 97th District in 2006.
So, where do I stand? As I mentioned in a comment on a previous post, I'll be voting for André Carson, although he's not my favorite candidate, and I'll be supporting another democratic candidate in the May primary.
I really don't believe Carson has enough political experience to be a U.S. Representative yet. His only other elected office has been a few short months on Indianapolis' City-County Council. He has no experience in higher Indiana offices, no experience at the Indiana Statehouse, all of which should be prerequisites for an office at the federal level.
There are several people much more qualified for this office than Carson, some of whom actively sought it, like David Orentlicher, who is our representative for the 86th District in the Indiana Congress.
Why Carson over Elrod?
I'll get to that, but let me start off with some Elrod's good points:
Elrod does talk a good game on gay issues. Many gay people in Indianapolis are campaigning for Elrod because he's stands out as a lone Republican voting against SJR-7 and against other homophobic legislation in the Indiana Statehouse, and I can see that's a great thing. There are several gay households in our neighborhood that have Elrod signs in their yards.
However, these same folks are studiously ignoring that Elrod hired a notoriously anti-gay company to build his website - a company that has actively lobbied for SJR-7 and for other legislation really destructive to the gay community. I don't think that's a deal-killer as far as voting in my eyes, but it does suggest that Elrod doesn't have a complete awareness of gay issues, or who he might accidentally be in bed with politically in the Republican party.
Elrod also really gets himself out there. I held a long conversation with him in my front yard when he was running in 2006 for District 97, and numerous other people in our district also reported talking to him. He's definitely a "get out and meet the people" guy. I've talked to him twice since that initial meeting, too.
So what's wrong with Elrod?
I'm not voting for Elrod because I strongly believe that he's gay.
Yep, you heard that right.
I really, really think that Jon Elrod is gay, and I'm voting against him for that specific reason. I have no real, verifiable concrete evidence that Jon Elrod is gay. None whatsoever. I have no smoking gun, no secret lover, no rumor or innnuendo from within the gay community. I have nothing but instinct.
That man sets off my gaydar at 5 miles away. I'm not kidding.
I've been out and active in the gay community for over 20 years. My gaydar is a finely tuned, high performance machine at this point. When it occasionally misfires - and I admit it does - it always because people fly under the gaydar; never because I've had a false positive. I never suspect someone is gay when they aren't; I always suspect they're straight when they're gay. I suppose it's possible that Jon Elrod is straight and I'm mistaken. But I really don't think so. Not at all.
There's also not much evidence to contradict my belief; he's good-looking, single, definitely metro-sexual, and I've never seen a girlfriend/beard, although there might be one.
So... IF Elrod is gay, shouldn't I be voting for rather than against him?
In theory, yes.
Vote for a gay man? In a heartbeat - I'd be thrilled to.
Vote for a gay Republican? - that's conceivable. If I thought he was the right guy, I just might. I don't cross the aisle often in my voting, but it's definitely not off the table, depending on the person.
But vote for a closeted gay Republican? Absolutely fucking not. I'd rather cut off my own arm and beat myself in the head with it.
In the year 2008, there's absolutely no reason why anyone running for public office should be in the closet, even in Indiana. Especially in Indiana. There's so much at stake for gay people in Indiana that it would be an utter betrayal of trust to be a closeted elected official, and I really, really believe Elrod is.
What I don't get is why I've never heard this elephant in the room (if you'll pardon the pun) discussed in the gay community.
I CANNOT be the only person who thinks Elrod is gay. So if all these other gay people are supporting him, are they doing so also suspecting that he's gay, and wanting to have him in office because of that, despite the closeted status?
I sure hope the hell not, because the very idea makes me sick to my stomach, it's so disgusting. The self-loathing involved in doing something like that would be overwhelming to me, and one of the most pitiful things for a gay person to do that I can imagine.
I really don't believe that Jon Elrod is a true friend to the gay community of Indianapolis, and I don't believe he's the best person for the job of U.S. Representative for District 7.