What’s left of decent conservativism

Well, what can one say, other than thank our lucky stars for Andrew Sullivan?

This seems all too applicable to our own local “not anti-gay” folks. It was just a joke, people (so spake the talking heads on Hannity), a “school-yard taunt” only intended to poke fun at a straight man.

Why would gays care? [Coulter] is “pro-gay,” after all. Apart from backing a party that wants to strip gay couples of all legal rights by amending the federal constitution, kick them out of the military where they are putting their lives on the line, put them into “reparative therapy” to “cure” them, keep it legal to fire them in many states, and refusing to include them in hate crime laws, Coulter is very pro-gay.

I’m guessing that “pro-gay” over at NoVA TownHall is defined as “we don’t think you should be dragged out behind the barn and shot.”

Sullivan is right, this really does need to be said. For those in our community – those who make policy for our schools in particular – who still don’t get this whole “bullying” thing, the anti-gay slur is not primarily aimed at gay people. It is primarily employed to police the behavior and appearance and speech of straight people who might dare to color outside the lines a bit. It is therefore constant and relentless.

And for the slur to work, it must logically accept the premise that gay men are weak, effeminate, wusses, sissies, and the rest. A sane gay man has two responses to this, I think. The first is that there is nothing wrong with effeminacy or effeminate gay men – and certainly nothing weak about many of them. In the plague years, I saw countless nelly sissies face HIV and AIDS with as much courage and steel as any warrior on earth. You want to meet someone with balls? Find a drag queen. The courage of many gay men every day in facing down hatred and scorn and derision to live lives of dignity and integrity is not a sign of being a wuss or somehow weak…

…Secondly, gay men are not all effeminate. In the last couple of weeks, we have seen a leading NBA player and a soldier come out to tell their stories. I’d like to hear Coulter tell Amaechi and Alva that they are sissies and wusses. A man in uniform who just lost a leg for his country is a sissy? The first American solider to be wounded in Iraq is a wuss? What Coulter did, in her callow, empty way, was to accuse John Edwards of not being a real man. To do so, she asserted that gay men are not real men either. The emasculation of men in minority groups is an ancient trope of the vilest bigotry. Why was it wrong, after all, for white men to call African-American men “boys”? Because it robbed them of the dignity of their masculinity.

It is utterly amazing that we’re still having this conversation, and that there are elements of our culture that really haven’t advanced past 1910 in their understanding of sexuality and gender. The positive aspects of genuine conservatism have been all but lost because of the association of the term with this reactionary poison.

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10 Responses to What’s left of decent conservativism

  1. C. says:

    That was very eloquently stated, both on yours and Andrew Sullivan’s respective behalves. I’m glad to see someone else exasperated with the nonsense surrounding Angry Ann, and the growing malfeasance of a political party that once prided itself on being a “blue collar party”.

    To that end, and maybe a little on the side of non-sequitur, Senator Jim Webb is proof in the pudding that being a member of the GOP was once considered a respectable allegiance, but that party (and most of its members) have fallen fairly far from grace.

  2. Russell says:

    C, that is quite a swath of generalization about the Republican Party, and most of it’s members, falling fairly from grace. The Democratic Party, and Liberalism, has its own Ann Coulters. Don’t misunderstand the rantings of a few misguided people standing up at the podium. It you looked at one of the clips of Ann Coulter, you will notice there are many booos coming from the audience. The Republican Party has lost a good deal of its identity because of the last 8 years of a gone too far ill-guided ideology, which, I think, is the source of that malfeasance fed from that, “I answer to a higher power” attitude. I think the party leadership are hearing the answer that the American people are providing, and that is the one that is most likely audible, and has the ability to vote. I think most people in the party are actually confused about the bill of goods they were sold. It is the Party of Lincoln, they tend to forget that. The addictiveness of power make that easy.

  3. David says:

    There’s a pretty broad range of descriptions out there when it comes to the audience response, everything from “stunned silence” to “wild applause.” From hearing a few different recordings (apparently from different locations in the audience) I think it would be fair to say that the initial response was shock, including some boos, followed by laughter and applause. The real question is do CPAC and its attendees represent the Republican party and its members.

    I agree with you, Russell – there’s been a loss of identity. I would go farther than describing it as a gone too far ill-guided ideology, though. A lot of these people calling themselves “Republicans” are really something entirely different, and they have effectively hijacked the name. Do you think it’s possible to take it back?

  4. David says:

    Speaking of my pal at NoVA Townhall, who promised us an exposition on why this little exercise in normalizing hate was all A-OK, this excerpt is classic Joe:

    The sentence structure is a combination of the pluperfect and future subjunctive forms and yields a hypothetical statement regarding both Mr. Edwards and the term in question.

    For some reason, this cracks me up. Joe also suggests that the use of this particular epithet is ‘about as common as the use of the n-word nowadays’ or some such. I suggest he hasn’t spent much time in a middle school lately.

  5. C. says:

    Of course you’re right on both accounts, that I (hastily) did give a pretty broad brush stroke, and there was a certain amount of negative reaction from the audience, showing her comment wasn’t accepted w/o question. Both sides, (well, all the sides, really) have their enfant terrible.

    As for me, personally, I’ve been drawing a distinction between Neo-Cons and the GOP for a little while now…people seem to generally get the meaning, but some people I’ve conversed with have this “a rose by any other name” mentality, and revert to angry silence or personal aggression at that point. The party of Lincoln, true, but I have a difficult time of imagining Lincoln driving a Lincoln. Again, you’re right, this is a fine example, too, of the addictiveness of power, and we should be thankful of her (and others, again, all sides) example of what not to become.

  6. Russell says:

    Doug, I totally agree with your sentiment about where the Republican Party is now-a-days and their performance, with one exception. Democrats, as well as Republicans, always have a choice and the ability of inquiry and contemplation, so, many bad choices and lapses of contemplation were made all around. Blame has no mirror when things go bad. However, that does not relieve responsibility for the person at the helm guiding the ship and giving the orders. It also does not relieve one’s accountability for following those orders in a harbor full of sandbars shrouded in fog when the hairs on the back of your neck are standing straight up. Not only is the GOP culpable in the deterioration of our faith in government, but Congress as well. We know what we know now, so I do believe that it is time to move forward and work at fixing our relationship with ourselves and the world. Any relationship can’t improve or survive if it is mired in a negative past and can not get a foot on positive ground to free itself. That does not mean that the past is not forgotten, just that it is are not living there. Thankfully, it has taken only 10 years to start freeing ourselves.

    And David is trying to goad me into joining the GOP of Loudoun, but, alas, I can not because I would then have to vote for EVERY Republican on a ballot and violate my integrity.

    I have been called many things … but never a “sensible conservative”. I like it, although it may lean a little more to the right than I am comfortable with.

    One of the things that I am completely ashamed of is how Katrina was handled, or not handled.

    I would love to hear your thoughts about your immigration comment … abandoning the very definition of the American dream.

  7. David says:

    What can I say, my goading abilities are sub-par.

    Actually, you wouldn’t have to vote for them. You would just have to pledge to not publicly campaign against any of them, and violate your integrity that way.

  8. Lee Gilbert says:

    Right. When we accept queer as normal, then we’ll be queer by definition. Thanks, Ann, for reminding us that queer is abnormal, by using as a slur one of the common, ordinary, everyday epithets for the perverted. As a schoolyard taunt, it is still very serviceable.