I’ve heard chatter of this sort over the last few days…
Minutes after John McCain finished his speech tonight, a prominent gay conservative wrote me with this observation:
I liked it a lot. I’m delighted I was wrong to expect a reference to SSM [Same-Sex Marriage]. Am I right that this was the first GOP acceptance speech since probably 1992 not to mention defending traditional marriage or something similar?
I’d have to do a search through the past 16 years of previous acceptance speeches, but I believe my friend is correct. Indeed, the difference in tone on gay issues — for those who were listening specifically — between this convention and the last is markedly different. Which isn’t much of a surprise, seeing that McCain’s entirely comfortable around gays and has no interest in the GOP base’s anti-gay hysteria. The Advocate‘s Sean Kennedy, no McCain partisan he, notes that, aside from a Mike Huckabee promise to save marriage from the gays, “there was an utter lack of rhetoric on gay issues” at the convention.
For those of us interested in returning the GOP to its true conservative roots, this is an interesting question to grapple. It is one that I constantly struggle with. Is it OK to accept change in small steps, as the Log Cabin Republicans are prone to do? For all the ridiculousness, Sen. McCain has always been a common-sense Republican on gay issue. Candidate McCain has backtracked some, but a George Bush he is not.
This often raises the question: how can someone be gay and a Republican at the same time? The question is never that simple. Nothing is mutally exclusive. A party or candidate very rarely matches up perfectly with each voter. Politics is a balancing act. It is compromise.
Supporting a candidate is not an endorsement of ALL of his or her views. It is simply a choice relative to the alternative.
For a gay American, should the gay marriage issue be the only one that matters?
John McCain does not support gay marriage. Barack Obama does not support gay marriage. Ralph Nader does. Ron Paul does. Should someone like me vote for one of the other two guys?
I don’t have an answer to any of this. But I do know that it is not as simple as often suggested.
UPDATE: THIS is what I never want to become…
Possibly one of the world’s greatest oxymorons is the term “Gay Republican.” I’ve tried separating the two words, then putting them together again or putting them in reverse order, but they come out the same way: No Way! I’ve known that conservative gays exist (e.g. Andrew Sullivan, whom I respect and admire), but gay Republicans? No. That is why I draw a stare of disbelief when people refer to Log Cabin Republicans.
Yes, they exist. And, yes, they have a right to exist. Just as the President of The United States has a right to be profoundly dimwitted. And yes, there are some very dimwitted gay people out there. The evidence is there: people are willing to vote for John McCain who will try his best to strip gays of all the rights they’ve fought for, including the ones they’ve won. McCain hates gays. And no matter how many gay “friends” Palin says she has, she hates gays as well. Both of them will see to it that corporations, churches (especially) and various associations discriminate with impunity. To them, in fact, there is no such thing as “gay rights.” Fag-bashing doesn’t exist. Hate crimes (at least against gays) don’t exist. Fred Phelps doesn’t exist.
Sure, I can understand the anger. But anger at all costs doesn’t change minds. It entrenches them. It doesn’t bring people together. It divides them. It doesn’t seek to understand those who disagree. It belittles them.
Disagreement is not hate.
Unfairly distorting the opponent is not admirable.
The more I delve into politics, the more confused I get. Sometimes I question everything I thought I knew. But there is one truth that I can stand behind:
If you think the your side is always right, than you are missing something.