10 March 2014

LGBT People Leave The GOP. Why Should We Be Worried?

In January, GOProud co-founder Jimmy La Salvia defected from the Republican Party.  A lot of people wondered what took him so long to figure out the party is "brain dead" on LGBT and other issues.  They even wondered how he could remain "every bit as conservative as" he "ever was", in his own words.

Although I am registered as a Democrat--mostly for the same reasons he left the Republican Party--I can understand his position, and even agree with it to some degree.

What a lot of people missed is that he wasn't upset only about the Mike Huckabees and the Tim Santorums and all of the other homophobes who cloak their bigotry with a sham of religious belief and fealty to the "framers of the Constitution".  La Salvia, in his public exit statement, also slammed "big government 'conservatives' who have taken over the party".

Now, I am not one of those people who wants no government at all or, worse, anarcho-capitalism.  However, I also think that freedom is not achieved by passing more laws or starting new agencies. I like to think of myself as at least somewhat aligned with what I call the "conservative" side of Malcolm X, who said that African-Americans will be free from the effects of racism only through creating their own culture and economic enterprises, not by petitioning for it from a white ruling class.

While I am glad that there are laws against discrimination in employment, housing and such, and that more states are legalizing marriage equality, I think that we have to do more to determine our own destinies.  After all, there are always ways around laws:  A would-be employer could claim he or she didn't hire you for a variety of non-provable reasons.  (Some have flat-out lied, to me and others.)  And marriage "equality" still leaves the authority to determine who can marry and who can't with the same people and institutions that have discriminated against us.

I am mentioning all of this after seeing an article from the Los Angeles Times describing the "rift" that is developing within the Republican Party over LGBT equality.  Truth is, that "rift" is more like a purge:  Even though people might be leaving the party (or simply not voting for its candidates) on their own accord, they are, I believe, reacting to their perception that the hard-core social conservatives don't want them in the GOP.  

Such a development might not be so disturbing if those "conservatives" weren't so disingenuous and ruthless:  They rail against "Obamacare" as an example of "intrusive" government yet support massive military and "security" spending as well as any project or agency that will give cushy jobs to their campaign supporters.   And they will use any sort of smear tactic against the Edward Snowdens, Chelsea Mannings and others who are fighting against the Surveillance State, as well as to anyone else deemed a threat in any way.

(By the way, I have--and continue to be--against "Obamacare", though for reasons entirely different from those of the "conservatives" I've described.)

So, while some might think that the "rift" will blow up the party, I wonder whether the defections will turn the GOP into a fringe party, which would be far more dangerous than having them as a center-right party that gets between 45 and 55 percent of the vote.  Fringe parties and movements, while small, can be very dangerous because they often consist mainly of the angry, the scared and the otherwise unhinged.  It doesn't take very many of such people to create hysteria over some invented bogeyman:  That, to me, is the real lesson of the McCarthy era.  (Remember that Joe Mc Carthy waved his infamous "list" in front of a Republican Women's Club at a time when his party--the Republicans--lost the previous five Presidential elections and numerous Congressional seats, governorships and local elections.)   So, while I think that, ultimately, legal same-sex marriage will eventually be the norm, if not ubiquitous, the fight will become nastier and more vicious as the right loses its LGBT allies.

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