Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Introduction to Destruction

Dale Carpenter's piece on gay Republicans who are effectively forced to stay in the closet is one of the most powerful posts I've read in a long, long time. Carpenter argues (and there is a reasonable amount of evidence to back him up) that a great many GOP insiders are privately accepting of homosexuality. They have, and they know they have, gay staffers, gay friends, in some cases gay children. But in order to appease the Christian right, they have to engage in the ideological schizophrenia of private acceptance and public rejection. This is what leads to the periodic "moral convulsions" such as what we're seeing with Senator Craig. And the saddest thing is that this dynamic forces many gay Republicans into behavior mimicking the worst stereotypes of Christian fundamentalists, "a life of desperation and fear and loneliness, of expressing one's true feelings only in the anonymity of the Internet, of furtive bathroom encounters, of late nights darting in and out of dark bars, hoping not to be seen. It means life without a long-term partner, without real love."

With the Idaho Values Alliance (a powerful Christian grass-roots organization in the state) calling for Craig's resignation, it is worth noting just how fratricidal this dynamic borders on becoming. For the IVA is urging that the purge go beyond Craig, and that Republicans should generally "regard participation in the self-destructive homosexual lifestyle as incompatible with public service on behalf of the GOP." The party cannot claim "authority and clarity to the moral issues that confront our society and at the same time send ambivalent messages about sexual behavior." As David Kurtz notes, objectively speaking, such a standard would have to extend beyond just homosexuals and out to adulterers, divorcees, abortion recipients, etc., and then you have a party that can fit inside of a phone booth.

This is the destructiveness that prejudice leads to. It destroys the lives of those who--for personal or professional reasons--have to stay in the closet, and thus are inherently blocked from fully achieving their human flourishing (assuming they can dodge the crushing self-loathing so many are condemned to); it destroys the party which cannot indefinitely maintain the rupture between its personal acceptance and public condemnation of homosexuality; and it destroys the haters, whose own humanity and personhood is swallowed up in an ugly display of reflexive rhetorical violence against their fellows.

From a political perspective, it only helps Democrats, but even still, I'd really rather not see it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good post. Given all the ink that has spilled over this story, most of it sensationalistic, it's good to see one that shows how sad the whole situation is.