[Here are two open tabs in my browser that I can combine into one blog post, said the blogger.]
Frank Rich has had quite a lot to say about the march toward full LGBT equality in the past few days. In his column on Sunday, he looks at the state of the movement right now, with all the victories that are being won, and cautions us not to whitewash the actual history of some of our allies while we’re popping out the champagne:
In the outpouring of provincial self-congratulation that greeted the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York, some of the discomforting history that preceded that joyous day has been rewritten, whitewashed, or tossed into a memory hole. We—and by we, I mean liberal New Yorkers like me, whether straight or gay, and their fellow travelers throughout America—would like to believe that the sole obstacles to gay civil rights have been the usual suspects: hidebound religious leaders both white and black, conservative politicians (mostly Republican), fundamentalist Christian and Muslim zealots, and unreconstructed bigots. What’s been lost in this morality play is the role that many liberal politicians and institutions have also played in slowing and at some junctures halting gay civil rights in recent decades.
The history of liberal culpability in such government-mandated discrimination should not be locked in a closet now. To forget any history is to risk repeating it. To forget this particular history is to minimize or erase the struggles of gay men and lesbians whose lives and fundamental rights were trampled routinely for decades in America, with cruel and sometimes deadly results.
He discusses the evolution of the Cuomo and Clinton political families on these issues, citing Mario Cuomo’s governor’s race against “confirmed bachelor” Ed Koch, all the way up to DOMA and DADT. He does this, though, not to be unappreciative of the support we now have, but to encourage liberal and Democratic leaders to TRULY step up and advocate as fiercely as possible for LGBT equality, as a way to truly exorcise the demons of past discrimination which liberals and Democrats, unfortunately, aided and abetted.
Read that whole column if you have a minute.
Last night, Frank sat down with Rachel Maddow and turned his attention to the hypocrisy of gay and gay-friendly Republicans in continuing to put up with a party which panders to the basest instincts of its most rank bigots to score votes. Andy pulled this quote from the interview:
“There’s a complete disconnect. I guess it’s just a kind of desperate, craven relationship to the base of that party. We now have a base of the Republican party that is so radical that they can be pandered to by calls for elimination of public education…the hypocrisy…someone like Ken Mehlman is in a long tradition, I hate to say it, of Republicans who were closeted homosexuals in power, actually enabling homophobic policies and in some cases the real demonization of gay people. And then as soon as they’re away from it…then he comes out and does the right thing. Comes out as gay, but also comes out of those policies. But where was he when it really mattered within his own party?…There’s a real pathological disconnect and they’ve really got to be called on it.”
He also discusses Dick Cheney, who lobbied behind the scenes for marriage equality in Maryland, yet refuses, like so many pro-gay Republicans, to loudly condemn the party itself for supporting hatred and bigotry.
Watch the interview: