Saturday, April 11, 2009

Disgusting Gutter Politics is Disgusting Gutter Politics: Excuse me a Sister Souljah speech

Oscar nominated filmmaker Kirby Dick is making a new documentary, "Outrage," on the subject of closeted gay conservative Republican politicians who have joined with the kind of religious right wingers I have taken long moments to mock and berate in my posts here. The movie is still in post-production, but it has already been the subject of pieces by GayPatriot and Jenn Q Public. I don't plan to get into the habit of quoting Republicans approvingly, but it's hard to argue with some of the points made here. First and foremost, as Jenn Q Public writes,

"The pretense is that outing is the great equalizer. It is held up as a bold and noble act in defense of gays and lesbians. In reality, it is petty, vindictive, and yes, often catty."

This is, of course, one hundred percent true. Of course it leaves out another word... 'repugnant.' To deliberately hold the personal lives of your enemies up to ridicule and abuse, and to invite bigotry against them (particularly when you yourself face that bigotry) is repugnant. I understand the anger of gay Americans against gay-bashers who are really closeted homosexuals. Who would not? I can't help but disagree with both the bloggers quoted and say that a gay man supporting gay bashing likely is possessed of a heaping helping of self-loathing whether conservatives want to admit it or not.

The problem is that their self-loathing doesn't justify this kind of deliberately hurtful sleaze. It is one thing to expose scandal, corruption, or crime in office. It is something else to deliberately hold someone up for abuse, bigotry, and contempt for no other reason but to hurt them. It is the natural reaction of anger, but it is just not right. I don't have any regard for Larry Craig, Ted Haggard, or Mark Foley or for anyone else of that ilk... but sinking to their level and getting the same crud on us will not prove that we are any better, and in order to achieve a just society weon the left must prove that we can be just and moral. I understand the pragmatic need for partisan politics and tough fighting, but there is a big difference between being tough and being cheap, and ladies and gentlemen this is cheap.

I don't agree with everything in either piece. Most importantly this not about the 'liberal agenda', even if we assumed there were on all consuming liberal agenda. This is about equal rights under the law for all American citizens. I don't believe any gay rights activist or liberal Democrat truly hates someone for disagreeing with them on taxes, the economy, or defense policy. Everyone understands that there will be differing views on a wide range of policy issues and the point of politics is for those views to compete until they are ironed out into a coherent policy addressing all the possible concerns of any question.

This is about some Americans believing that other Americans should be denied full participation in American civil society as equal citizens. When some of the people joining this chorus are some of the very people their allies wish to exclude from the system, and they join with their allies in advocating this bigoted policy, that is every bit as repugnant as outing them for it. Two wrongs do not make a right, but allying one's self with bigots is still wrong. If the issue were truly only that not all gays were fully part of the progressive movement, that would be one thing... but the real issue here is collaboration with bigotry in the name of either self-preservation, self-advancement, or (and I will say it) a certain lack of self-respect. There is no excuse for bigotry, and less excuse for becoming an apologist for bigotry when you are one of the objects of that bigotry.

Yet, I have to say it again: outing gay Republicans, no matter how closely in bed they are with the religious right, just to embarass and humiliate them and their allies and to cause people pain is not any kind of social justice. It is petty, repugnant personal vengeance. It's every bit as hypocritical as what they are doing. There's just no excuse for that kind of viciousness.

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