Our own Wayne Besen has a fantastic op-ed in The Advocate today, where he shares his experiences in attending last week’s Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC. This quote should give readers an idea of the overall tenor of the piece:
I meandered into the main ballroom to hear some speeches, which all sounded strikingly similar. Did they really need a three-day event to basically say, “Holy shit! The black, queer-loving, Kenyan Marxist was reelected! America is lost and God is pissed. WTF do we do now?”
Three solid days of that is bound to be exhausting.
The professional victimhood on the Right these days is equally exhausting, and Wayne experienced that firsthand as he was repeatedly accosted by thug security guards who apparently believe, along with the rest of the ultra-conservatives of this nation, that they’re under perpetual threat from the liberals, the homosexuals, the Muslims, the [insert anybody who makes wingnuts question their supremacy in society]:
After lunch, things took an ominous turn. The previous day, my organization, Truth Wins Out, along with Faith in America and the NALT Christians Project, had organized a press conference where we spoke out against these homophobic charlatans. Apparently, this displeased the Values Voter Summit’s extensive security apparatus.
An older yet intimidating security thug firmly placed his hand on my shoulder. He looked me directly in the eyes and warned, “Because you paid, you are allowed to be here. But if you if you slip up once, we are going to take you down hard.”
The guard escorted me to a seat where we awaited Glenn Beck’s speech. He sat about five chairs away and closely watched my every move. When I yawned, his body stiffened as if he were ready to pounce. About 10 minutes into Beck’s address, a younger security thug, with a short beard and menacing scowl, stopped directly in front of my seat, bent down and hovered. This aggressive posturing lasted for at least 15 long seconds.
Such overt paranoia and pent-up aggression formed a metaphor for the entire event. The crowd consisted primarily of older white people who were having great difficulty coping with the rapid demographic, social, and technological changes in America. This led to a manic-depressive summit experience, with the audience vacillating wildly between delirium and depression, victory and victimhood, nationalism and nihilism.
Wayne also explained that, unlike recent years, when wingnuts seemed to be diversifying their resentments, anti-gay animus was back on center stage for much of the event:
However, there were moments when antigay animus took center stage. During Glenn Beck’s speech, a conference attendee incorrectly volunteered that the purple triangle, rather than the pink triangle, was used by the Nazis to mark gay people. Hilarity ensued. Or as Evan Hurst, my colleague at Truth Wins Out, puts it: “Ha ha, it’s funny that the Nazis branded the gays with pink, because gays are gay!”
So-called “Values Voters” are just lovely, aren’t they?
Wayne also explains, as we’ve been discussing lately, what the next phase in the fight for LGBT equality is going to look like. The Religious Right has always been nothing if not completely self-centered, but they’re going to be outdoing themselves in the Professional Victim department over the next few years:
During the next few years, the LGBT movement is going to be besieged with fighting the martyr industrial complex, with claims of bogus attacks on the right wing’s religious freedom. This was driven home in a book the Liberty Institute was giving away, titled Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America.
Personally, I’m worried about where this toxic rhetoric will ultimately lead. The religious right’s leaders are antagonizing already paranoid people and screaming hysterically that the government, the liberals, and the homosexuals are conspiring to get them. It is not unreasonable to think that this constant drumbeat of dread might not take the more unstable elements down a very dark path.
LGBT Americans are clearly on the cusp of achieving equality. I would strongly caution, however, against premature celebration until the final bolts are firmly screwed into our opponents’ iron coffin. They are a scrappy, determined bunch — and what makes them scary is that they are capable of most vile words and deeds while believing their actions are entirely virtuous.
Read the whole piece.