On One Benefit of Being Gay: You Can Vote for Obama and Be Pleased That He Won, But Not Buy Into All This Hope and Change Bullshit, Because When All Is Said and Done, You’re Still a Second-Class Citizen

05Nov08

In which The Gay Recluse ponders life with the majority party.

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Confession time: Though we would have been predictably devastated by a McCain victory, we’re still a little nauseated by the onslaught of shallow optimism on display since Obama was declared the winner.

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We think of California (and Arizona and Florida) and are left with heavy sighs.

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Or Arkansas, where kids now have to be adopted by married (and we know what that means) couples. Seriously, what kind of county are we living in that would allow this to happen?

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So yeah, our official attitude is fuck hope (at least in the political sense of the word): what we want is a merciless leader who knows how to stick a knife into the opposition and twist it, just the way they’ve been doing to us for the last ____ decades (including Clinton, obvs).

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This is the real reason we continue to feel good about Obama, given that all signs point to the conclusion that he expects to do exactly that.

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4 Responses to “On One Benefit of Being Gay: You Can Vote for Obama and Be Pleased That He Won, But Not Buy Into All This Hope and Change Bullshit, Because When All Is Said and Done, You’re Still a Second-Class Citizen”

  1. 1 TJW

    You don’t have to be gay to be disappointed and angry about the results in California, Arizona, Florida and Arkansas, TGR. Well, you do, but I don’t. It was easier to make sense of people who voted for George W. Bush — they were either idiots or assholes, end of story. And those who were going to vote for McCain and support small-minded anti-gay legislation, not much to be surprised about there. Let’s face it, TGR — Arizona, Florida, Arkansas . . . we don’t expect much from them. But California! How do we understand those Californians who voted for Obama but against marriage rights — civil rights! — for everyone?

  2. So true, TJW! I didn’t mean that you have to be gay to be disappointed, it’s just one (but not the only) way to see through the shallower forms of optimism that engulfed so many in the wake of the election. Ultimately, I see it as mostly a class issue: Obama won over many of “the poors” who are suffering right now, but who tend to be socially conservative. Let’s hope he gets them some jobs/education, so that they can grow up to be drag queens and media elites!

  3. 3 c.

    “You Can Vote for Obama and Be Pleased That He Won, But Not Buy Into All This Hope and Change Bullshit, Because When All Is Said and Done, You’re Still a Second-Class Citizen”

    Thank you.

    BTW, the majority vote *against* Amendment 2 in FL came (duh) from Broward (Lauderdale) and Dade (Miami) counties. The rest of FL is, well, the rest of FL. Which is important to understand, when considering the kind of dismay expressed by TJW above. Over the past couple decades there has been a growing assumption that gay people are more and more assimilated and seen as equal, especially in “progressive” states. I, however, sense that certain cultural patterns which existed when I was in my teens (the ’70s) are still firmly in place. (Remember Anita Bryant’s successful ballot campaign to overturn gay equality laws in Miami in 1978?) Like TGR, I understand that liberal and nuanced thinking exists primarily in cities. Beyond that, people may be peripherally aware of cultural trends, but they are not necessarily enlightened or tolerant. Hence the so-called “surprise” of CA. Though people may think of SF, LA, Palm Springs, and San Diego as “California,” that’s not the whole picture, anymore than NYC is NY state.

    I recall my couple years of activism, fighting for a local civil rights bill in NY City in the mid-eighties. (It passed in 1986, after 15 years of trying. The biggest opponents, predictably, where the catholic archbishop and diocese, the Salvation Army, and the orthodox jewish community.) During those years, the thought of *state*-wide equal-protection was only a dim dream — no one in NY State, save for the population of Manhattan, saw gays as equal, let alone deserving of rights. Except for a few, exceptional cases, not much has changed in the U.S. When an entire state is asked its opinion on gay lives, it’s likely to give a fossilized answer.

    The real solution, as in the Netherlands, Spain, Canada, Sweden, and a handful of other enlightened states, is a governmental commitment, nationally, to equality and constitutional rights, popular or not. The U.S. knows this: witness the incendiary civil rights legislation it produced and passed in the early sixties.

    The question is not whether CA is more “progressive” than FL (and being surprised to find that perhaps it’s not); but rather, is the country committed to constitutional equality or not? I would say, thus far, it’s ambivalent, at best.

    I think Obama got in because people are beginning to clue in to just how desperate and precarious things are, and they intuited (without really understanding what’s at stake) that McCain/Palin might have just meant a final nail in their own coffin. That’s a lot different than saying that the population, 48% of whom voted against Obama despite all that’s going on, is more “progressive” or “evolved,” or that “great days of hope” are upon us.

    It is a truly a great, beautiful moment in history. And Obama has the earmarks of a potential, real leader, in the truest, most forward-thinking sense of the word. But we need to see this moment in the full context of desperate times, of the immensely motivating power of fear, and the fact that the majority — in every state — are still invested in preserving some long-extinct, hegemonic dream of “tradition,” “family,” “free markets,” “god,” and inequality.

  4. C–thanks for that great analysis/insight, which really puts some meat on the bones of my argument. Whether people want to admit it or not, the truth is that a majority of the country still hates gays and would probably send us all to the death camps if given the opportunity. As you say, this is why top-down legislation and judicial intervention is necessary to change attitudes (along with a general improvement of economic conditions).


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