Thursday, June 03, 2010

I Hate The War

Straight people do not automatically hate gay people. Some gay people do not automatically have self-loathing or shame for who they are attracted to.

Those things are taught.

Hatred is taught. And hatred is taught to garner support for a war, to stigmatize and blame some segment of society and often just to distract from the theft of public resources by big business.

And on some level, society's knows, collectively, that hatred is taught. For example, you read and hear reports and 'reports' that the oldest members of our society are more likely to oppose equality for LGBT members. And this is treated often as the youth (and younger) being more open minded.

That's a lie.

It's a lie that lets powerful institutions off the hook.

People in their seventies today, for example, did not wake up one day and ask, "Who can I hate today?" Nor is it something as simple as their parents taught them to hate. Their parents may have helped the hate along because they were also victims of powerful institutions. But they didn't instill it by themselves.

The press, the medical profession, go down the list. If you were an adult in 1920 and were considered "well educated" by that time period, there's a good chance -- whether you were gay or not -- you were educated to believe there was something criminally and socially wrong with anyone who was gay. You were educated by the press coverage of the day, you were educated by the mental health community, by law and enforcement and the courts and from there you can drop down to lower levels.

The quacks today who claim they can "cure" someone of being gay have always been with us. Today they make a fortune on this claim in Los Angeles with various under 35 y.o. male actors and their 'cure' for the last ten years is nothing more than prescribing viagra to these young men, I'm not joking. In the seventies, there were many such quacks including one couple who was held up by the New York Times as worthy of admiration. They 'cured' Anthony Perkins. Who somehow died of AIDS despite being 'cured' and 'cured' in the 1970s. They cured a lot of people. They cured one man who recently passed away and the lack of saturation coverage on his passing had to do with the fact that most people were pretty embarrassed that this man -- who repeatedly tried to film The Front Runner (but always chickened out for fear of being seen as gay) -- went to his grave still pretending. (That's also why they've done nothing to build up the widow in the lavender marriage as the 'grieving widow.' Show biz reporters just aren't willing to work up fairy tales the way they used to.)

But today the 'cured' throughout the country are usually people who think they have to stay in the closet for their careers. And that huge, HUGE, change is not due to "youth," it's do the historical progression that has taken place. In the twenties or thirties, you would have wanted to be "cured" so you weren't criminal or a "pervert" or any of the many things that being gay supposedly meant. These things were lies, they weren't accurate. But don't mistake them for old wives' tales. Meaning, don't assume some know nothings repeated them and repeated them again and again until they took hold. The best in society was promoting these lies and doing so as "experts" and as "knowledgeable."

One of the biggest factors in someone being pro-LGBT rights has been whether or not they know someone who is gay. I think that's moving to the past now and would guess that in 15 years that wouldn't be the criteria.

That's not to take anything away from the power of face-to-face but that is to note that people who came out in the sixties and seventies and eighties and nineties and even today often were the human face on the issue -- which the narrative usually notes -- and they were the rejection not of gossip and rumor from the uneducated but of the message put out by the media, the medical community, the courts etc. That part, that second part is usually ignored in the telling of the story. As though the whole country was controlled by an army of Gladys Kravitz, spreading rumors they made up or misheard throughout the neighborhood.

The hatred wasn't accidental. The hatred was intentional and the most powerful parts of the system taught it. And maintained it was fact.

The system largely has moved past that and that's why knowing someone shouldn't be the primary indicator in the future. (Though I could be wrong -- often am -- and it may continue to be the chief factor for determining whether or not someone is pro-LGBT rights.)

Where am I going with this?

The plan was that tonight's entry would be about a piece at a paper's website where hopefully the title was not written by a soldier but whomever wrote it needs to be called out. I'll try to work into Friday's snapshot instead because there's so much e-mail about today's snapshot.

First off, Robert Byrd lovers, I am not one of you. I'm aware that many gas bags on the left worked overtime to paint Robert Byrd as the second coming of MLK. He is far from that. This site has never sang his praises for obvious reasons. If you're not who you appear and I know that, we don't waste time singing your praises. That's why we never got caught up in the Keith Olbermann love-fest.

Some visitors feel that Byrd's being held to a different standard because others are homophobic too.

There are members of Congress who are homophobic and if they say something stupid in a hearing I attend, they may get called out for it here. If they say something homophobic, they will be called out for it.

I like Ike Skelton who chairs the House Armed Services Committee. I've known him for years and I like him. He's opposed to repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell. I'm not ripping him apart for his opinion and I hope (as do many) he changes his mind.

But Ike or anyone else in Congress doesn't have Byrd's history. Byrd's refusal to lead on this issue is appalling. It's part of why I don't trust him and never have. He was a KKK member. That's years ago, people want to whine. And I'm sure that someone his age could have been a member of the KKK and could have later learned how horrible their support for and membership in that organization was. I believe that. We can learn, the human species has the capability to learn from mistakes.

But here's the thing with Byrd, he wants to be forgiven (and more than that, he wants it forgotten) that he once very publicly was against equality. We're all supposed to believe he learned a lesson in that. I see no evidence of a lesson. The man's got a foot in the grave, I'm not going to pretty it up. His time is greatly limited on this earth. And he's wants to be seen as someone who would now support equality though he didn't in real time. But now he would. He insists. Then why wasn't he leading on Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

I'm sorry, I don't think you're that close to death and you work against equality if you truly want to put your past behind you.

Some will argue that LGBT rights aren't the same as Civil Rights for African-Americans. And I would normally argue with you on that. But this time I'll agree: They aren't the same. Basic rights, Civil Rights, were put into legislation for African-Americans. By that I mean, it's easy for a racist who used to wear a sheet and maybe participated in some lynchings to say today, "Oh, if I had to do it over I wouldn't be in the KKK and I'd support this and that." It's easy to do that because the Civil Rights legislation applied to African-Americans has been passed. Point, it's just empty words from Byrd. If he wanted to back those words up, you better believe he'd be leading on every equality issue. And he's not, and he doesn't, and there's a reason for that.

Now some will say -- and a few visitors have already e-mailed to say -- he's so old and for his time and blah, blah, blah. Here's the thing, if he was your crazy over-90 y.o. relative that you could apologize on behalf of after a family dinner, fine. But he's not. He's a US Senator. He's determing policy. And, again, wants everyone to believe that he now supports equality. But his actions have never shown that. His actions have only demonstrated that after any battle is fought and won, he'll go over to the winning side. That's not leadership and it does nothing to make up for KKK membership. He's the one who says he's changed, he's the one who says he's learned. Therefore it is on him to demonstrate and he never has.

I do not assume that everyone against repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell is a homophobe. I do assume some are damaged from the years of lies that the media, the medical community, the courts, et al put out as facts. And I assume some are opposed just because it's a change and we're often reluctant to change. We like what's familiar, we like what's known. But when you've got KKK membership on your CV and you've supposedly moved beyond it and learned from it, it's incumbent upon you to demonstrate that.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last Thursday
, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4400. Tonight? 4402.

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