An Open Letter to the Log Cabin Republicans

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Dear Log Cabin Republicans,

The 2016 Republican Party platform will be voted on during the Cleveland convention this week. When the proposed platform went through committees last week, you, the very few LGBT Republicans in attendance, left the meetings with howls of protest, complaining, accurately, that this platform is the most anti-LGBT that the GOP has put together in its entire history. And, man, is that a high bar.

As you know, the draft Throwback Throw-up Thursday Republican platform:

  • Defines marriage as an institution between “one man and one woman.”
  • Calls for a rollback of the legalization of same-sex marriage.
  • Demands the appointment of judges who “respect traditional family values.”
  • Refers to heterosexual marriage as “natural marriage.”
  • Asserts that same-sex parents and single parents can’t raise children as well as straight married couples.
  • Calls for a First Amendment Defense Act that would allow people to discriminate against members of the LGBT community if they have a “sincere religious belief” that they should do so.
  • Supports the right of parents to make decisions about therapy for their kids, which sounds innocuous until you hear that it’s a watered-down version of an attempt to make “conversion therapy” legal again. (RNC chair Reince Priebus finally got around to denying that the GOP outright supports conversion therapy this weekend, but again, word from the inside is that the original language was for exactly that, and the current language certainly leaves room for it. And according to your own letter, you Log Cabin Republicans certainly took it as an endorsement of “pray away the Gay.”)
  • Opposes protections for trans folk, including bathroom choice.

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I know you Log Cabin Republicans feel angry and betrayed by your own party, so I just have one quick question about your feelings for clarification purposes:

What the fuck did you idiots expect?

Have you not been watching the news this year? Or last year? Did you think all the vicious anti-LGBT “religious freedom” laws and “conscious clauses” and horrifying anti-trans bathroom bills were Onion headlines? Did you not notice that Republican presidential candidates—and ONLY Republican presidential candidates—were elbowing each other out of the way to cozy up to Kim Davis after she refused to sign same-sex marriage licenses? Have you not been paying attention at all?

What. The FUCK. Did you expect?

Yes, I know: You assumed you were on the inside. There have been openly gay Republican aides and staffers since at least the 1980s, and they’ve always justified working for the outwardly hostile GOP by saying that they were in on a big joke. The Republican party has long been a machine for churning American wealth up the ladder to corporations and the super-rich.

And the way the GOP has gotten that machine to work, the way they’ve gotten rural Americans and poor and working-class Americans to vote against their own interests is by pursuing the “God, Guns, and Gays” strategy: Get them to vote out wage-protecting unions, vote out safety and financial regulations, vote out social safety nets, and vote in tax laws that overwhelmingly favor the rich by pretending that the Republican party is the party of Christian values. And increasingly fundamentalist Christian values at that.

And, one hears, it was always seen as a joke among high-level (wealthy, white) political Republicans. The GOP elites, mostly interested in big business and finance, faked deep religious convictions. They just pandered to those religious rubes to gain political and financial power by “pretending” to throw The Gays under the bus, and it has always been a big, cynical joke. Except, you’ll notice, those religious rubes are in power now, and they took it seriously.

And since you gay Republicans are the ones who have tire tracks on your suits, it certainly looks like you’re the dumb rubes in the situation.

Here’s a tip, Log Cabin Republicans: If someone thinks a strategy of pretending to be bigots to capture the votes of real bigots is acceptable, there is always some actual bigotry hiding behind the suggestion. Maybe not overt Kim Davis-style bigotry, but certainly a tacit assumption that the groups being targeted are expendable. And that encouraging and spreading ignorance and hate is OK. Which sounds pretty damned bigoted once you take the smooth-over language out.

So while you’re nursing that butthurt, you might notice that some of the other GOP strategies of the last several years have included dog-whistle bigotry against Latinos and African-Americans and Muslims that—whoops!—has gotten pretty damned overt in the past couple of years. Because, again, that “pretend” just-for-votes dog-whistle bigotry has some real prejudice behind it when you pull off that political-gamesmanship veneer.

So you might note that the “Voter ID laws” that were designed to nudge the voting pinball machine have actually resulted in American citizens of color getting purged by the thousands from voter rolls. (If you’re white and you just shrugged at that because hey, that’s the game, you might want to re-evaluate your own “not a bigot” status.)

And you might notice that the “God” part of the platform has resulted in thousands of women having no way to get basic women’s health care—let alone access to entirely legal abortions—due to clinic shutdowns across the country.

Because when you scrounge for votes from prejudiced dirtballs by promising you’ll throw someone under the bus, someone actually gets thrown under the bus. And this time, it was you. Again.

You might have expected some sympathy from your fellow queerballs since we’re all getting hit by this same proposed legislative tank (Thanks a lot, jerks.), but I’m afraid I can’t seem to muster any. Because when you’re in a marginalized group, you know what it is like to get systematically screwed over. And thus when you’re in a marginalized group, it is your responsibility to behave better, because you know better.

It is your damn job in society as an even vaguely good human being to stand up for other marginalized groups—or at least to not freaking do them active harm—because you know. It is your job to stand up for women’s reproductive rights, even if you don’t have a uterus and you know you’ll never get pregnant as the result of rape. It is your job to stand up for the Black Lives Matter movement, even if you’re white and you don’t think police targeting will ever touch you. (Have you read nothing about LGBT history, Log Cabin Republicans? Because when you do, you will notice just a tiny bit of unfair police targeting.) And it is your job to stand up for Muslims amidst all the bigotry and fear-mongering because when one religion rolls over people’s rights it rolls right over ours too. And because standing against bigotry and fear-mongering is what rational, non-awful people do.

But you haven’t been doing that, Log Cabin Republicans. You’ve stayed with a party that has been actively harming women and people and color and immigrants and Muslims and basically anyone who isn’t in the top economic 1% because you were white and you were wealthy, and you figured you had yours, so why not roll with the party that was promising to add to the pile?

And I’m sure it wasn’t open prejudice on your part. Maybe talk about abortion made you feel uncomfortable. And maybe the Black Lives Matter movement and issues around immigration made you feel uncomfortable. And maybe the fear of terrorism made you feel uncomfortable around Muslims, because God knows if you’ve been relying on Fox News you haven’t heard that ISIL kills far more Middle Eastern Muslims than westerners. And when you use that quiet discomfort and the lashing out that it produces as a justification for sticking with the GOP, you might also want to think about the fact that the party that just promised a nation to fuck you over as hard as they could are doing so because you make them feel uncomfortable.

Turns out that legislating your discomfort into a political weapon is an awful, hurtful thing to do, don’t you think?

So here’s my suggestion. Pull back that ridiculous fundraising letter you sent out saying that you want to “take back the party.” The joke’s on you, kids, and the current Republican Party hates you. Why would you want it?

Drop the party and start a new one. It’ll be a struggle, and you won’t automatically be on a juggernaut winning team for a long time, though frankly a reminder of what it’s like to be underdogs could do you some good. And you’ll have a chance to make some history instead of raising money and running errands for a party that would prefer it if you came in through the kitchen entrance and stayed out of the group photo.

You want to pad your wallets? Terrific. Most people do. Maybe look for a way to do so by boosting the economy as a whole instead of just finding new ways to deregulate financial institutions and jigger the tax laws to shovel money up the chain.

Or at least, at the very least, work on padding your wallets without tearing other people down.

And then publish a party platform that a decent human being could be proud of.

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