Thursday, September 15, 2005

Tell Me Lies and I'll Love You Forever

NorthDallasThirty has a bit of a debate in the comment section of his excellent post on the partisanship of gay Democrats. Many of the posts on his blog touch upon the often vicious political in fighting wracking the gay community at large.

There are three types of fights in this world:

There are fights among strangers. These are often over macro problems and large-scale ideologies. In the current War on Terror, the intricacies of Western and Islamic culture matter less than how these two entities interact on the world stage. While understanding the day-to-day lives of individuals within each culture is often helpful, it is not vital to know these things in order to be opposed to radically different systems of government that threaten to undermine basic Enlightenment values.

There are fights among friends. These are over issues large and small, exemplified by the liberal vs conservative, Democrat vs Republican battles being waged all across America. While we may often be at each others' throats over the role of government and what form that government will take, we are also distanced enough and given enough personal space and freedom to step away from these arguments, take a breather, and regain perspective.

And then there are fights within families. There are few things more devastating than an irreconcilable standoff within a family. There is not only a shared foundation, but a shared history, affection, and intimacy. Small disagreements may ripple for years through all quarters of life, breaching trust and building impenetrable walls of resentment. We cannot simply walk away, for we are inextricably entwined in this world, for better or for worse. Even if we seek some small solace in isolating ourselves from our families, there is always a simmering need to press against the bruise to see if it still pains us.

The ongoing battle between gay conservatives and gay liberals encapsulates this third kind of argument. Generally speaking, every action taken by a gay conservative or gay liberal has the potential to affect our lives at their most basic levels. We are, rightly or wrongly, perceived as our own separate group within American culture and politics. As a result, we take every disagreement with our gay opponents personally. Some homosexuals don’t like Pride festivals because they fear they reflect badly on us and affect the perceptions of Middle America. Others take issue with the concepts of marriage and monogamy, believing it is acquiescence to an obsolete heterosexual culture that should be flung into the dustbin of history.

No matter what our disagreements, we are forced through various pressures to live in the same homosexual house, and we all have different ideas about how that house should be run. Studying this, I have come to a conclusion:

Gay conservatives are the parents, and gay liberals are the teenagers.

The problem with the gay liberal mindset is that it is infested with a naïve idealism and penchant for wanting to see the world as how they wish it to be, not how it objectively is. The Democratic Party is their first true high school love, and like all true loves, the warts and faults have been smudged to a blurry shadow cast by their perceived Adonis. Even when their love pushes them aside in the crowded hallway between classes, these liberals swoon and shiver, running to their friends with excited declarations, “He actually touched me! He touched me!” Now the Democratic Party has come to tolerate them. They even allow our adolescent family members to carry their books on occasion; a job gay liberals are only too eager to do.

Like all great loves, it is impossible for any criticism to dilute the adrenalin of pure, unadulterated worship. “You know, he doesn’t really love you. He’s simply using you because it’s convenient,” bounces like so many pebbles against armor. “It’s not true!” they declare, a Kathy-Bates-in-Misery look creeping into their eyes. “Some day he’ll realize he really loves me! Some day he’ll see that we’re meant to be together always!” And, much of the time, that’s when we start slowly backing away.

Gay conservatives, on the other hand, are generally cynical adults. While some decry it as nothing more than jaded bitterness, cynicism is a characteristic wrought of experience and the wisdom that accompanies it. The Republican Party is not our true love, nor particularly a love. They are a friend we generally respect without feeling a need to be inexpressibly loyal to their every belief. We realize grown adults may reasonably disagree with one another without destroying a friendship and indignantly declaring, “You don’t love me!” before flouncing out of the room.

While I cannot speak for all gay conservatives, I know my place in the Republican Party. They are my allies on a variety of issues, which is why we are friends in the first place. But I do not paint them in shades of rose. There are a great many things I disagree with them on, and I have no problem saying so. What they dislike about me, I recognize. Though I will not change my life, I will neither reject them wholly.

You see, it is about being honest. Gay conservatives have no problem seeing their situation honestly. We know there is a large swath of religious evangelicals who are vehemently opposed to things like gay marriage and adoption. Instead of engaging in a shrill, emotional breakdown, we choose the path of reasoned discourse and steady persuasion.

Gay liberals don’t want a discussion. They want what they want, and they want it right now, to hell with everyone else. Should you deny them these things you are the enemy. You are mean, nasty parent who doesn’t understand them, and why don’t you love them, why do you hate them so much, and I’m never speaking to you again! Queue door slamming.

So, stupidly, we try to talk to gay liberals in a calm, rational tone of voice and are met with accusations and tantrums and “How dare you talk about my love that way?!” They don’t want to hear it. We cannot tell them that perhaps the anti-war movement isn’t a good idea, as it allies itself with multicultural forces that make the Religious Right seem positively gay-friendly. I can say I really dislike Pat Robertson, but few on the gay Left can will themselves to recognize the racist, anti-Americanism inherent in organizations like International A.N.S.W.E.R. Cindy Sheehan can declare the Iraq war a conspiracy of American Jews, and nary an eyebrow is lifted against this intolerance. With a driving need to be loved and accepted, the gay Left will swallow anything and everything they are told to swallow. Not only swallow it, but actively promote it.

The Democratic Party and attendant politicians can oppose gay marriage, support the repealing of gay rights, treat homosexuals with general disdain in private - if not in public as the Jeff Ganon episode revealed – and it just doesn’t matter. Gay liberals will lie to themselves and others, because they believe there is someone in this world who unconditionally loves them, and someday the rest of us will see it.

It just isn’t so. And when the necessary growing up is done and these illusions are shattered, I can say from personal experience it will be inexpressibly painful. But, like all parents, we conservatives will be standing by, as patiently as we possibly can, waiting to catch our family when they fall.

Until then, the battle to force them into adulthood continues.