Thursday, October 05, 2006

When will the Right stop pretending to be Holier-Than-Thou?

Mark Foley is not the first conservative to have been 'exposed' as a homosexual. And it is sad that his lawyer immediately tried to explain' his situation by revealing that he was sexually abused as a child, an deffor aimed at calming the fears of the militantly loyal (and righteous) religious right. After all, the right has 'tolerated' Dick Cheney's daughter (hey, after all, it is DICK CHENEY'S daughter, right?).

But what about the parade that has preceded this little scandal currently unfolding?

Anyone remember Mel White, press seceretary to Jerry Falwell and behind-the-scenes political operative for a dozen religious right politicos? He not only came out, he smashed the door down and pubished a book about it- "Stranger at the Gate."

And then there was Art Finkelstein, the pollster who enabled the Nassau County Republican machine to maintain its grip on the elctorate for a decade or more, and who propelled Alphonse D'Amato from a Town Presiding Supervisor to a U S. Senator.

How about Bob Baumann, former conservative darling and congressman from Maryland?

And now lets really reach back..back when I was a mere twenty-something, and Terry Dolan was the Chairman of NCPAC (the National Conservative Poitcial Action Committee) that propelled Ronald Reagan into the White House. I knew Terry, and worked on campaigns with him at the YAF headquarters at 25 Jane Street in Greenwich Village. A young man, Terry died in the AIDs crisis that exploded in the 1980s...and had the courage to come out as a gay man at that time.

No, my friends, there is nothing new about Gay Men who are otherwise conservative, hiding in the closets of their parent organizations, lest they be exposed, ridiculed, and shunned. Perhaps this Boston Globe editotial by David Link says it best:

"The inability to deal straightforwardly with gay people leads to other kinds of truth-avoidance when things go south. But that's what comes from not wanting to know something, and going out of your way to remain ignorant.

We've come a long way since homosexuals had two basic options: the closet or jail. But a good portion of the electorate, most of them Republican, still seems to long for the good old days when we didn't have to think about ``those people." Both Libertarians and, generally, the Democratic Party have withdrawn their official support for the closet over time. States, too, are seeing what a losing battle this is, and allowing homosexuals to live their lives in conformity with, rather than opposition to, the law.

But that leaves Republicans and the religious right trying to live a 1950s lie in the new millennium. As Foley prepared in 2003 to run for the Senate, newspapers in Florida and elsewhere published stories about his homosexuality. But you'd never hear any of his colleagues saying such a thing. And Foley himself refused to discuss the issue, until his lawyer acknowledged Wednesday that the former congressman is indeed gay.

But what can one expect from denying grown men -- and women -- a normal, adult sex life? Whether the denial of adult intimacy comes from religious conviction or the ordinary urge toward conformity, people who run away from their sexuality nearly always have to answer to nature somehow. For people who fear abiding and mutual love, the trust and confusion of the young is a godsend. Add to that the perquisites of power, and a degenerate is born.

...the Republican Party in Washington guarantees its own future calamities in its enduring and steadfast habit of pretending that, unlike heterosexuality, homosexuality can be either denied or suppressed."