Friday, May 21, 2010

THE PATHOLOGY OF THE GAY CONSERVATIVE

I just finished reading an article that appears in the Washington Blade, entitled, Can you be a good gay and conservative?, by Jessica Lee, who is a new board member of GOPROUD.

I agree with the author's contention regarding the dismal record Obama and the Democratic Congress have regarding LGBT rights, yet I feel that anyone who seeks equal rights cannot afford to be "conservative" as we currently understand that term.

Moreover, I don't know anything about Jessica Lee, so nothing in the following article should be construed to in any way necessarily refer to her.

In reference to the above linked article, I'd like to reprint an article I wrote in 2007 entitled, The Pathology of the Gay Conservative, recognizing, with the gift of hindsight, that the terms "liberal" and "conservative" need not have anything to do with one's party affiliation, as we have seen with the foot dragging of a Democratic President and largely Democratic Congress regarding DADT, ENDA, and DOMA; Obama's Justice Department actively arguing in federal court the merits of DADT and DOMA:

To "conserve" in the political sense, means to adhere to traditions of fiscal responsibility and seek to minimizie the government's intrusion or encroachment on individual rights! If that is what we meant in today's U.S. by "conservative," that would be a perfectly understandable political position for a rational Gay person to take.
However, the unfortunate reality is that what passes for "conservatism" today is diametrically opposed to those very traditional principles! President Bush inherited an economic surplus and in just a few short years we have come to the point where we have the largest debt that this nation has ever seen. We invaded a sovereign country based on lies and deceit, having 9/11 cynically used as a pretext to enter a war that I believe was planned before Bush even took office.

Moreover, with the initiation of the Patriot Act, suspension of habeus corpus for those viewed as "enemy combatants," and a whole host of other encroachments on our civil liberties, this Administration is anything but "conservative," and has done a great deal to encroach upon our individual liberties, more than ably and willingly abetted by most of the mainstream media that has both uncritically accepted the sound bytes emanating from the self-serving White House, acting as mere stenographers of the political spin of the day, and airing hitherto unthinkable hateful rhetoric from assorted talk show hosts.

However, one of the consequences of all of this relatively rapid change in our society is the demonization of LGBT people by the self-described "conservative" forces in this country, and the cowardly capitulation to those forces of the opposing, the Democratic, party that has to appeal to an electorate inundated with what is purported to be "conservative" ideas that are really pure naked hatred dressed in the drag of "conservatism." So we even have political opponents adopting many of the "ideas" of those who garner votes and market share of audience by frequently hateful rhetoric and the playing of the politics of exclusion, and who feel the need to intrude on others' private lives, deny them dignity and full and equal civil rights, and frame our political sport as one where one can't tell the players without a scorecard and, unfortunately, when it comes to LGBT rights, the scorecard doesn't show either side in a very favorable light. So, the reality becomes that every decent person who wants to partake of the political process in the U.S. has to support/choose the least of two evils, go into the voting booth, hold his/her nose, and vote!

However, when a Gay person aligns him/herself with the political party that runs on a platform of writing an Amendment into the Constitution that would seek to prevent same-sex marriage, that largely demonizes LGBT people, that is quite comfortable with the fact that there are absolutely no federal civil rights protections for LGBT people, assiduously fights "hate crime" legislation (more accurately viewed as legislation against "terrorism," as I have written before), and where LGBT people are viewed as fodder for the purpose of garnering votes, it calls into question what manifestation of self-loathing or self-denigration would foster such an alliance and, even, an allegiance.

As I have previously written, "Being Gay need not be one's top priority, just as being straight is not to be one's top priority. However, when a Gay person aligns him/herself with a political party that has as its platform to prevent same-sex marriage, supports the fact that there are no federal civil rights protections for LGBT people, and is generally hostile to LGBT people, supporting that political party reeks of masochism in my book, and shows that person to be "ignorant and/or mendacious and/or traitorous'."

I want to try to delve into the dynamics of Gay people aligning themselves with today's Republican party, a party that has fostered an anti-Gay agenda that is quite extraordinary from a number of perspectives, not the least being the fact that it regards itself as "conservative," all the while it seeks to limit the human freedom to legally relate to another whom one loves and to whom one seeks to make a lifetime commitment. Why would a Gay person seek to align him/herself with a politcal party and its allies that view same-sex marriage as an assault on "traditional family values," ruining "the sanctity of marriage" (posited by people many of whom have been married more than once or even twice), and who apparently feel no compunction about ridiculing Gay people?

I've heard more than one such Republican Gay person say that, although they were Gay, that isn't all they were. They were not one issue voters, and that their being Gay wasn't the major part of their lives or identities. Fair enough! However, let's consider another scenario.

If I lived on welfare and food stamps, would it make any sense if I aligned myself with the Democratic Party, for example, if it had as its platform that it was going to do away with welfare and food stamps, and deny those who were on those programs its benefits? Even though I might not consider my economic situation to be the most important "identity" I had, or the fact that I didn't consider myself to be a one issue voter, would it make any rational sense if I voted for the Democratic ticket if it largely ran on such a platform? I doubt many would answer, "yes," to this rhetorical question.

I really believe that the bombardment of anti-Gay messages throughout our lives in assorted venues, not the least of which is most of the organized Church, has taken hold on many LGBT people's lives and psyches and, even though many are "out," they still harbor a visceral self-loathing that manifests itself by many identifying with their oppressors. This phenomenon is quite common in a variety of arenas, and it's called "the Stockholm Syndrome", where the oppressed become emotionally attached to their oppressors.

Succumbing to this phenomenon doesn't denote any necessary intentional malice (although the subsequent consequence of that decision can provoke maliciousness) on the part of the victim. It seems to me that it merely denotes that in order to maintain one's "ego integrity," and one's inner sense of "dignity," one feels that he/she must identify with his/her oppressors (though not consciously acknowledging them as such), so as to consciously reject the role of "victim" and embrace the role as being one of their comrades. Indeed, in this case, "comrades in arms." (This phenomenon is seemingly quite widespread, as I remember reading a poll shortly after the last Presidential election that about 23% of LGBT people voted for President Bush who largely ran on the platform of placing an amendment into the Constitution preventing same-sex marriage.)

Of course, Gay people, like many of the rest of the population, care about higher taxes (though it could be viewed as irrational to support a political party that has virtually guaranteed higher taxes to pay for the profligate spending that has occurred in these past several years), limited government (though that, too, is irrational, if one is supporting a party that has grossly intruded on many of the bulwarks of our judicial system, such as habeus corpus, and wiretapping without judicial oversight or even prior approval), and would want to vote accordingly. However, the reality of today's "conservatives," of today's Republican party, does not address these concerns, and it doesn't take a Democrat or an Independent to point out that fact.

Basically, I believe that when one supports a political party that works against that person's very dignity, personhood, and right to pursue happiness that is the right of every human being to enjoy in the U.S., he/she is manifesting his/her conscious and/or unconscious self-loathing in a "Stockholm Syndrome" that not only affirms the party that largely institutionalizes that oppression, but devalues the dignity of the person succumbing to that syndrome and casts him or her as one who is "ignorant and/or mendacious and/or traitorous'."
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2 comments:

Leonardo Ricardo said...

Dear Jerry,

Thanks for once again reminding me of common sense moral basics...knowing the difference from right vs. wrong sometimes boggles the mind...I´ve cross-posted to your blog today...hope it´s ok as you´ve always been so generous with your thoughts before...thank you,

Leonardo Ricardo

Jerry Maneker said...

Dear Leonardo: Thank you so much, and please know that anything I write you can feel free to use in any way you wish. My very best wishes, Jerry.