Tuesday, July 19, 2005

What Do You Stand For?

I'm always confused by minorities, i.e. people who aren't part of the power-holding class (white, male, heterosexual, married, parent), who choose to work for, or support members of the power-holding class, who have no intention of really supporting you, the minority. I just don't get it. I really do believe actions speak louder than words, and I'm not easily swayed by "what he was/thought/did back then isn't what he is/thinks/does now" argument. It just seems too conveniently drawn upon, and if you dig to the bottom, the so-called conversion can be connected to a strong need for allies to forward their agenda, which always circles back to what he has always been/thought/done.

From Armstrong Williams and Alan Keyes, to Arthur Finkelstein, and now Robert Traynham, director of communications for Senator Rick "protecting the family is homeland security" Santorum. Santorum's rise to fame (or infamy) came on the heels of this gem of wisdom, following the Supreme Court's tossing of sodomy laws:

"If the Supreme Court says that you have a right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything," he declared.

I'll skip the commentary on his lack of intelligence, and jump to what's itching my bum. How is it that someone from an oppressed group (Black, Latino, gay) can join forces with an oppressor? Here's Traynham's response:

"Senator Santorum is a man of principle. He is a man who sticks up for what he believes in. I strongly do support Senator Santorum."

Okay, I can dig supporting someone who sticks up for his beliefs. I can even agree to disagree. After all, disagreement keeps us from homogeneity. I just can't understand how one can put up with negative, untrue, intelligence-free utterings that strike at who you are, day after day. It's the same question I have for closeted (or even out) lesbians & gays who continue to support churches that have called them an abomination their whole lives. How do you sleep at night?

We already know what Santorum thinks about consensual sex between same-sex adults. And, we know that he thinks same-sex marriage puts the country at risk, equal to terrorist attacks. We know that the Republican Party shifted dramatically to the right, beginning with Barry Goldwater, and has done its best to court the South especially, rife with embracing states rights (which, among other things, drives the South's unquelled desire to hold on to its racist past). Yet, Keyes and Williams, are poster boys for this same party. We already know Williams isn't above selling out to the highest bidder, so conclude for yourself what puts him to sleep: cash. Arthur Finkelstein, a storied architect of New York State's anti-Hilary Clinton campaign, is a gay man, married to his partner, courtesy of Massachusetts' marriage law. And now Robert Traynham.

Interesting that we hear so much conservative rhetoric from White men. Yes, I am familiar with Concerned Women for America, but the old boys are using them to win over the few women with their heads still in the sand about the destruction of the family, blah blah. But, White men will always look out for the interests of White men, and White women will look out for the interests of White men, who they believe are looking out for their interests (little do they know). I will be accused of some level of racism, and I'll take it. I'm not 100% trusting of White people, especially White men. There have been too many opportunities for too many of them to stand for things that don't directly affect them, and said opportunities have been passed over. So, I'm fascinated, and mildly amused, by the alliances formed between these gay White men, and the White men they so admire.

I'm reminded of the scene in the Tom Hanks movie "Philadelphia," where the partner in the law firm that has fired the main character explains his admiration for Andy, extols his legal skill, expresses some paternal affection for him, and then shows his hand when he discovers his star is gay and has AIDS. How could this be? Andy is a regular guy, he's like one of us. How long will the groovy feeling last between Arthur Finkelstein and the GOP? Richard Traynham and Rick Santorum?

What do you stand for? What do you believe in, and what will you stick up for? Are you willing to go back into the closet, face the possibility of criminal censure for being gay, if your bosses have their way? What, you think that isn't a possibility, discussed in wood-paneled rooms over bourbon (America's cognac) and cigars, by fat cats in leather chairs?

And what will be your move then?


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