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News Analysis: Nov. 6, 2012, the Second Stonewall

by Steve Weinstein
Contributor
Wednesday Nov 7, 2012
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Since the discussion on all of the major right wing websites has been that they’ve finally gotten the memo that religious zealotry has no place in politics, indulge me in quoting from Jesus Christ: "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled."

Every year, we march to commemorate the birth of the modern gay rights movement at the Stonewall Inn in Downtown Manhattan on June 28, 1969. From now on, we can add another day to the calendar of our greatest achievements: Nov. 6, 2012.

The 2012 election marked a 180-degree turn in the American electorate. Whereas before we had scored 0-for-30, yesterday we won everywhere.

Yes, I know that we still have fights on our side. But even the most adamant right wingers have finally seen that fighting against basic rights for one of the most most oppressed segments of the population won’t play.

I regularly scour rightwing websites such as Freerepublic, World Net Daily, the National Review and Townhall. All of them, with the exception of World "Nut" Daily, which is so far out of the mainstream that it makes the others seem reasonable, are in unison.

It’s disheartening to see the deafening silence from the Log Cabin Republicans. (Forget GOProud. They’re small potatoes, a silly shadow organization completely funded by the gay John Galt, Peter Thiel.) Unless Log Cabin finally accepts the same reality that the rest of the GOP is slowly coming to, it will be relegated to even more marginal status in our movement than it already occupies.

The reality is that the American people have finally realized that when one group can be oppressed, everyone can be oppressed. Even those who can’t stand us are slowly getting the message expressed in "The Federalist Papers" that you accept the rights of those you can’t stand. Tolerance means just that: tolerating others. Not loving them or even like them, but letting them live their lives as long as they don’t interfere in yours or cause unnecessary pain to anyone.

That’s the basic message of last night. The mantra on the Right is --¬†finally -- that the GOP has got to purge itself of the baggage of the religious fanatics. Pat Buchanan was right in 1992 when he declared a "cultural war" at the GOP National Convention. What he didn’t foresee was that his side would ultimately lose.

Ironically, the big icon of the Right, Ronald Reagan, is the one who sowed the seeds of destruction in his own party. In a near-perfect mirror of the paradox that doomed Mitt Romney, Reagan actually was fairly tolerant when he served as governor of California.

As outlined in the film "Milk," he gets full credit for the defeat of the hateful Briggs Amendment, which would have barred LGBT teachers. Yet his concept of the "big tent" GOP led to the embrace of the then-nascent religious right, the so-called Moral Majority. By giving lip service to bigots like Jerry Falwell and outright nut cases like Pat Robertson, Reagan let the in the true barbarians.

It was ultimately left to Mitt Romney to reap the whirlwind.

The last GOP president, George W. Bush, openly supported the separate-but-equal doctrine of civil unions. His vice president, arch-conservative torch bearer Dick Chaney, tacitly -- and finally openly, after he left office -- supported gay marriage.

The party operatives thought they had a winning strategy when they adopted a radical platform at their convention last summer that opposed any legal recognition of same-sex unions. They smugly believed that the president and his party had bought defeat by openly embracing same-sex marriage.

Mitt Romeny exemplifies the schizophrenia of the party’s plutocrats. In order to win the governship of Massachusetts, Romney cast himself in the mold of the "Rockefeller Republicans," the Northeast elite that was fiscally conservative but socially moderate.

The man who, while running for Teddy Kennedy’s seat promised Bay State voters that he would outperform his opponent in promoting gay rights, had to swerve sharply to the right to win a primary process dominated by the most extreme factions of his party.

By the time he finally bested his opponents, he had to give lip service to Rick Santorum’s medieval concept of morality. He had to ignore the obvious hypocrisy of serial adulterers Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain. He even had to express opinions as ridiculous as those of the biggest fruitcake in a clown car of candidates, Michele Bachmann.

Thus he had to suppress what I believe are his true leanings, that of small-government pure capitalism, to cater to the party’s basest base. Like a figure in Greek tragedy, he was done in by his own overreaching.

So what’s next? Unless I’m misreading tea leaves, it looks good for passage finally of the too-long delayed Employment Nondiscrimination Act. I can even see the GOP’s congressional leaders doing a repeat of the soft front that they displayed about ending "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell" when repeal of repeal of the despised Defense of Marriage Act goes to committee.

More importantly, it’s crucial that our LGBT organizations refocus their energies on the international scene. Given our rapid progress in the developed West (and developing; e.g., Argentina, Mexico City, Uruguay, etc.), it’s all the more obscene that virtually the entire continent of Africa, every Muslim-dominated nation, much of the Caribbean and the former Soviet republics are still living the Dark Ages.

We can bask in our success, but if we forget people who live in constant fear of their lives merely for being who they are, than we don’t deserve the gift we’ve been given.

Steve Weinstein has been a regular correspondent for the International Herald Tribune, the Advocate, the Village Voice and Out. He has been covering the AIDS crisis since the early ’80s, when he began his career. He is the author of "The Q Guide to Fire Island" (Alyson, 2007).

Comments

  • danpianoman, 2012-11-10 14:41:56

    Nice editorial piece. I like the title of your article.Did you mean 32 in the 3rd paragraph?


  • Oh Jed said:, 2012-11-20 05:53:54

    So true. A really important point that must have attention. The clown car had me rolling...lol.


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