PABE


Log Cabin Republicans Stuck Between A Cock and A Hard Place
August 30, 2006, 4:57 pm
Filed under: gay and lesbian

Anyone who follows this blog knows that I struggle with understanding the ideology of the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of mostly white middle class gay male Republicans who continue to act surprised when key players in the Republican party bash homosexuals to win votes from the moveable middle.

I struggle because on the one hand I understand the need for gay people to participate in bipartisan politics and not just automatically vote Democrat. This is especially true since, well, the Democratic party has basically treated us like second class citizens from the start. Democrats confidently pocket the gay vote without having to meet any of our needs. Bill Clinton gave us “dont’ ask, don’t tell.” The list goes on.

I also struggle with this issue because I was raised Republican. Like most white middle-class people in the South, my family voted Republican automatically every time. No contest. Where I’m from, the Democratic party is the party of Edwin Edwards, union crooks, under the table deals, paying for votes, etc. My parents raised me to believe in the power of the individual over the group, tax reform, small government and fiscal responsibility. Above all else, I was raised to detest Welfare and all other “hand out” government programs that many Southern Republicans including my family believe actually hold people down and keep them there.

All of these beliefs went to shit when much to my surpise I turned out gay. Now, when I look at the Republican Party I see a group of shiny, entitled white dudes who think their good fortune is somehow entitled to them because they believe in “hard work.” And it never occurs to them even when they hire their friends over other qualified candidates that the good ol’ boy system is actually the key to their success. How else could someone as average as George Bush become President of the United States?

When I look at the Republican Party I also see a party that plays the “value” card to emotionally manipulate the American public into voting with their fears instead of their minds. For Bush No.1, the boogie man was African-American best signified by the infamous Willie Horton ad Bush used to scare middle-class white folks into thinking Michael Dukakis’ crime policies were endangering white women, that Dukakis would let the “slaves take over the plantation.”

With Bush No. 2 it’s the gays. The gays are destroying marriage. The gays are destroying morality. The gays, the gays, the gays. The gays are hotter than abortion. The gays are so hot as a political weapon that even blacks who have been voting Democrat since the 60s are today voting Republican in record numbers to “protect marriage.” Or at least that was true until Katrina.

The gays are the wedge issue that won’t quit because the gays continue to motivate Republican votes. As November approaches, you can bet your bottom dollar that we’re going to start seeing more and more political gay bashing from Republicans.

Which brings me to the Log Cabin boys. Just yesterday, the Log Cabin Republicans of Colorado issued a statement denouncing the inappropriate comments made by the GOP candidate for Lieutenant Governor Janet Rowland. On the March 17th broadcast of Rocky Mountain PBS Colorado State of Mind, Rowland said, “Homosexuality is an alternative lifestyle. For some, bestiality is an alternative lifestyle. Do we allow a man to marry a sheep?”

In response to this egregious but unsurprisingly homophobic comment, Adam Crowley, President of Colorado Log Cabin Republicans, quickly issued a press release arguing that Janet Rowland’s comments do not represent the views of mainstream Republicans.

“As a Republican, I am disappointed that GOP Gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez has chosen someone who uses the politics of fear to divide the Colorado electorate,” said Crowley. “Bob Beauprez, the Republican Party, and the voters of Colorado should not support such an uneducated view of an important part of the American family.”

“Hundreds of thousands of law-abiding, tax-paying gay and lesbian citizens make invaluable contributions to the quality of life in this great state. They’re raising families, building stronger communities, creating jobs, paying taxes and working to secure a bright future for Colorado. Rowlands statement is offensive, and could not possibly represent the diverse population of Colorado,” said Crowley.

“Rowland’s use of the term ‘alternative lifestyle’ shows an ignorance of basic science. Countless studies of both humans and animals irrefutably show that human beings don’t choose their sexual orientation,” said Log Cabin Executive Vice President Patrick Sammon. “Unfortunately, enemies of science, fact, and common sense continue misrepresenting the truth by using terms such as ‘alternative lifestyle’. We know more about the genetic causes of sexual orientation than we do about the genetic origins of handedness, but we don’t say someone chooses the left-handed alternative lifestyle.”

Adam Crowley’s statement is right on except for one small detail. His point that “Janet Rowland’s comments do not represent the views of mainstream Republicans” is unfortunately misguided and gets to the sad heart of what’s the matter with the ideology of the Log Cabin Republicans.

Mainstream Republicans DO think homosexuals are sick and should not be allowed to marry, raise children, etc. That’s in fact WHY Republican candidates continue to use gays as a wedge issue. BECAUSE IT WORKS. Because it taps into otherwise good people’s deepest darkest fears about sex and sexuality. Because it plays off of ignorance. Because it gives people an “other” to focus on and rally against.

Despite all of this, the Log Cabin Republicans continue to defend the Republican Party “as an idea” because it’s the idea of the Republican party – the party of their fathers, small government, fiscal responsibility, free will and individual merit – that attracted them to the party in the first place. This idea remains pure despite political gay bashing because it’s the idea of democracy itself where every “man” has the right to life, liberty and happiness.

But like the idea of democracy itself, the idea of the Republican Party is muddied by the all too human foibles like greed, fear and jealousy that keep every “man” from having a place at the table.

Today, the Republican Party plays the politics of homophobia because it gets people elected even if they are not the most qualified or the best for the country. That is the Republican Party today despite the idea of it, despite what the Log Cabin Republicans wish were the reality. Even if the majority of Republicans are not homophobic, no one from the party – except the Log Cabin Republicans – has taken a stand against political gay bashing.

Some would argue that that’s why we have groups like the Log Cabin Republicans, to question the politics of a party from within.

But for me, the problem with this logic is that the Log Cabin Republicans are not really inside the Republican party. They’re outsiders who wish they were insiders, and there is nothing sadder than a gay man who wants to be a good ol’ boy.

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3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

great blog!

Comment by christina

Love it! The closing sentence says it all!

Comment by Julie

I appreciate your view, but I have to stick with my original statement…most Republicans I know (heterosexual and even Evangelical Christian) do not support divisive, anti-gay rhetoric. It has worked in the past, but I think it’s time is up. It may not seem that way to outsiders, yet, but Republicans are tired of this kind of politics. I am hopeful for the future. Thanks for reading the press release (so long ago!) and writing about it.

Comment by Adam Crowley




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