Friday, October 3, 2008

Rightwing Roundup: Propaganda Pete, Bush, and Palin

1. A Convenient Omission

As he usually does, anti-gay head of the Illinois-based Americans For Truth [sic] About Homosexuality Peter LaBarbera recently ventured all the way to California to cover the fetish-themed Folsom Street Fair. As of October 1, 2008, in fact, 7 out of the 8 articles on AFT[sic]AH's front page were devoted to covering this fair which caters to a small segment of the LGBT community. (I'm not providing a link, but here's a screen shot):


Mr. LaBarbera frequently attends events like the Folsom Street Fair, events that are attended by a minority of mostly gay men, some lesbians, and others. His schtick is to then present these events as though their attendees are representative of all gay men and lesbians. His tattle-tale site conveys the message that gay people are depraved and that being gay is all about public displays of (gay male) nudity, "sexual anarchy," and "public sex." The implication is clear: Because gay people are so depraved, filthy and immoral, gay people should not have equal rights. To even tolerate them is an assault on "Christian" values.

Of course, the reality is that many gay men and lesbians live pretty mundane lives. Sure, maybe we'll go to the pride parade during the summer, but it's certainly not par for the course for us to just start randomly having "public orgies" in the middle of the street or to even see such things! And, even if some members of our community attend fetish fairs like Folsom that cater to sado-masochist sub-cultures, so what? Heterosexuals also attend fetish events and that certainly doesn't mean that they do not deserve equal rights. And it certainly doesn't mean that all heterosexuals have these fetishes. If LaBarbera has an issue with the activities that occur at the Folsom Street Fair he should protest that fair, not present it as some sort of "expose" that is reflective of all gay people. That's just dishonest.

Logical people know this. That's why I wonder what LaBarbera's motives are. He claims that his organization is about exposing the "truth" about the "homosexual activist agenda," but one presenting such a one-sided distortion of gay men and lesbians cannot by definition ever present the truth.

See, in his zeal to cover some events catering to the LGBT community, Peter LaBarbera selectively forgets to send correspondents to cover less socially-malignant events like the Matthew Shepard March Against Violence that took place in Chicago last weekend. I searched and searched his website for "incriminating" photos of the March but all I found were a few articles mentioning Matthew Shepard. And, all of these articles were not about the peaceful LGBT-led march against violence, but rather, they were about how Matthew Shepard was killed not because he was gay but because he was a druggie.

This historical revision is a common, but erroneous, argument that anti-gays use to try to deny that violence is ever inflicted on gay people on the basis of sexual orientation. The anti-gay so lacks compassion that he believes all that of this liberal hullabaloo about Matthew Shepard and "hate crimes" is just some sort of conspiracy to discredit the anti-gay movement.

It is not surprising, given the fact that LaBarbera selectively "exposes" the LGBT community and denies that sexual orientation-based hate crimes exist, that he fails to mention events like the Matthew Shepard March. After all, why cover LGBT events that remind his Christian readers that LGBT people really are sometimes victims of hate-based violence? Doing so would go a long way towards humanizing gay people. And we certainly can't have that, can we Peter?

2. Heckuva Job

President Bush is not a usual target of my bloggings. His place as one of the worst presidents in the history of our nation, I think, is already cemented. To the extent that McCain is desperately trying to distance himself from Bush, this given has made the president irrelevant to the 2008 election. Personally, I'm just hoping the man doesn't decide to touch anything else before he leaves office.

Yet, if only for the sake of history, it is worth noting that President George W. Bush has hit 70% disapproval. This is historic because, in the entire history of the poll since 1938, a president has never been so disapproved of.

It sort of makes you wonder who the people are who actually approve of the job he's done.

3. Bush III?

The thing about George W. Bush is that I think he was twice elected on the basis of his Average Guy appeal to voters, his extremist Christian beliefs, and his opportunistic use of the "family values" card. More than any other presidential or vice presidential candidate, these characteristics remind me of Sarah Palin. Many McCain/Palin supporters lurve their Sarah Palin because she's an "Average Jane" who just happens to be an elite politician, a Young Earth Creationist(!), and a devout family woman.

I know Palin's not running for president, but in my opinion she'd be a wee bit too close to the presidency if McCain is elected in November. And scawrily, I think that a Sarah Palin presidency would be as equally disastrous as the George W. Bush presidencies have been. Simply put, I have nothing against the woman personally, it's just that nothing she's said up to this point has convinced me that she would have the capacity to address the economy, manage two wars, and lead our country in a way that is thoughtful, informed, and nuanced. At least 5 well-known conservative writers and pundits have publicly voiced similar feelings, in fact.

That's why I wished people would realize that voting for a candidate to lead our nation just because s/he believes homosexuality is wrong, ridicules "elites," hunts moose, or would be fun to get beer with just doesn't make sense. These factors are simply irrelevant as to whether that person would make a good, intelligent leader.

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