The Sound of One Hand Clapping: More Applause for Mary Cheney
May 20, 2006, 2:41 am
Filed under: gay and lesbian, Mary Cheney, politics, Uncategorized

If you have not already, please check out Elizabeth Birch and Hilary Rosen
WASHINGTON POST editorial, Mary Cheney’s Step Forward

The editorial is worth a read for the way the authors lay out their argument.

For starters, Birch and Rosen do not defend or back pedal for Cheney and the Republican Party. Instead, they give us the big picture on they ways in which the GOP has used gays and lesbians to jump-start the party’s ultra-conservative base:

“For the past 12 years, like clockwork, GOP strategists have hauled out the issue of marriage between same-sex partners each election year. (Of course they tend not to focus on causes — such as employment nondiscrimination — that enjoy widespread public support.) And, while cynical, heartless and exploitative, it has actually worked to fan the flames of bias, energize the Republican base and create timidity in those elected officials who might want to help us.”

Then Birch and Rosen hold Mary Cheney responsible for her choice to support a party that does not support her. They argue:

“…in the calculus of choosing between her father and the realities of her own life, Cheney has apparently opted to be a loyal daughter. It is her family’s version of “What will the neighbors say?” played out on a grand national political stage, with the neighbors being the hard-core conservative voters of the Republican Party. Mary Cheney has not just stood by but actively worked as a paid campaign operative to reelect the Bush-Cheney-GOP ticket. So the resentment runs deep.”

Now, Birch and Rosen explain why it is that, despite this history, Mary Cheney’s coming out is ultimately a good thing within the context of a bigger picture:

“Yet we’ve concluded that at this moment in time, the past doesn’t seem nearly as important as the future. And though the gay movement deserves credit for much of the acceptance she is receiving, Mary’s presence on the national stage — the daughter of the vice president of the United States discussing issues related to our lives — is most welcome and has the potential to be a transforming moment for all Americans.”

Despite Mary Cheney’s personal choices in the past, and despite how we might feel about those choices, Mary Cheney bringing her sexuality to the forefront now is better than never. Mary Cheney is talking about gay issues within the context of a party that does not want to talk about these issues.

Does that mean Birch and Rosen forgive Mary Cheney? No – it means it’s no longer about Mary Cheney.

So, you might ask, what’s it about then? And what is the sound of one hand clapping anyway?

Hint No. 1:

Ann Coulter is rumored to have said she liked the idea of a President Cheney on today’s Al Rantel Show.


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