Monday, February 14, 2011

GOProud: This Ain't Your Father's GOP

Please re tweet or email this article to your friends and family, or email your thoughts to GOProud directly.

If you are a reporter or blogger, feel free to republish this article as is, or make it your own.


If you are an elected official, please be informed that the LGBT Community may be looking for a new Party to support in 2012.  This article is part of a new series which addresses why.  I hope you find it informative and that it encourages you to do all you can to ensure that YOUR party will be the Party of choice for the LGBT community next year, whether you are Democrat or Republican.

Dear Friends,

If you've been following this blog for the past six weeks, let me first say THANK YOU!  I appreciate your time, and I encourage you to give thoughtful consideration to the matters presented herein.  As many of you know by now, many in the gay community have come to realize that during the past 2 years, the Democrats have reneged on the promises they made to the gay community to work on ENDA and DOMA in the 111th Congress, even though President Obama campaigned on them and convinced us to support his candidacy.  But even with a full 2 years of a Democractic majority in both Houses of Congress and the White House, they have failed to deliver on their commitments to the gay community, with the exception of the repeal of DADT. 

When we more closely examine the events that led up to even that advance forward, we see it was hardly a Democratic led charge that many portray it to be, and that many in the gay community continue to believe it was.  Trusted radio host, Michael Signorile forensically recounts the actual events leading to DADT's repeal in this article from the Advocate Magazine, wherein he reminds us of the true history of it.  As you'll discover, DADT's repeal was not so much due to Democratic legislative efforts, but instead it was due to the valiant efforts from brave folks like Lt. Dan Choi and many other supporters of our community, (like Lady Gaga).  It's a sad commentary indeed to realize that it takes an unelected military verteran and a pop star to get anything done in Congress these days on behalf of the gay community.

As I explained previously, when Barrack Obama was first elected, I believed that with the economy in a downward spiral, it was more important for Congress to focus on getting Americans back to work, and for Congress to pass measures that would encourage businesses to invest in America's recovery.  As we all watched with dropped jaws, Congress spent another trillion dollars on a failed stimulus spending bill, and then in order to divert media attention away from that misstep, went on to waste valuable tie and political capital on a health care bill that ultimately forces Americans to make unconstitutional investments in the free market to purchase private health insurance. 

In the flurry of it all, a few golden opportunities to advance legislative initiatives on behalf of our community were squandered, and it appears that the Democrats and the media are trying hard to help us forget it.  The purpose of this series is to not only keep us mindful of their betrayal and reneging on their promises, but also to encourage the gay community to consider our options in 2012 when deciding which party to support in the future.

In making the case to the gay community that perhaps we should consider what the GOP may be willing to offer us, especially at a time when they are scrambling to make up for lost money and votes, from the Tea party leaving the Big Tent to strike out on their own, many of us have come to realize that the Democrats have indeed betrayed our trust, although none of us are at a place yet where we can believe that the GOP is a good place to transfer it to least not yet.  However we all seem to agree that the Tea Party and its Theocratic aspirants are absolutely *not* the alternative we are seeking.  I think we all agree that if we wanted America to be a theocracy, we could just as easily move to Iran and save us all the trouble.

As we learned in the last article, we find that the Tea Party appears to be composed of the people whose long tradition of homophobia disguised as religious beliefs are the very reason we don't vote for Republicans now.  Their presence in the GOP over the past 30 years has made it difficult for most moderate Republicans and financial conservatives to be themselves, finding that they had to "speak the language" of the "social conservatives" (aka "church folks") in order to get their votes.  Unfortunately, many of them go to bed at night with unsettled consciences at what they have been forced to say and do in order to convince the Theocrats to vote for them....especially what they have been forced to say in regards to the gay community and where they stand on the issues of import to us.

Fortunately, many of these moderate Republicans, like First Lady Laura Bush, her daughter Barbara Bush, and Meagan McCain, have been allowed to finally publicly disclose their support for gay marriage.  And what I have learned from the recent events concerning GOProud and CPAC is that there are many, many more Republicans just like them, who despise the Theocrats as much as you and I do.  (And just to be clear, I don't despise the Theocrats' religion....but their speech, their motivations, their methods, and their aspirations to turn America into a theocracy.  Our Constitution guarantees each citizen the right to belong to whatever religion it wants to, and to belong to no religion if we so choose.  As a Christian myself, I find it appalling that so many would want to violate the Constitution in order to install a theocracy under the guise of "Taking America Back For God."  They don't want to take America back for God....they want to take America back to THEMSELVES!)  As a Christian, and as an American, I have 4  words to share with them: 


When it comes to the Democrats and their betrayal of trust to the gay community, a lot of my conversations with fellow gays has been like trying to tell one of my gay friends that their boyfriend or spouse is cheating on them.  It's not easy or pleasant for me to tell them, and it's not easy or pleasant for them to hear it, but we both know it's true.  We have all had relationships that started off with red hot passion, hope, and idealistic dreams of an exciting and rewarding life with that one special someone, only to eventually come to a point where we recognize that remaining in that relationship is no longer in our best interest, and is in fact the very reason we are being held back from realizing our full potential in the first place. 

Right now in American politics, my sense is that the gay community is just beginning to realize that our current boyfriend or spouse is cheating on us.  We know it in our heart, but our head isn't ready to admit it, and our soul isn't ready to confront it.  But let me ask you, have any of you ever broken up with a cheater and find that you were disappointed with that decision?  Of course not!  Anyone who has gone through the process will tell you that while it may have been a difficult process to go through, it's a journey that ultimately took you to a better place; a place of strength, power, and self respect....and often on to even better relationships in the future.  I am at a point in my life that I TRULY believe that embracing GOProud (and abandoning the assumptions that only the Democrats are disposed to doing anything for the gay community) is a journey of discovery well worth the risk.  As I've asked before, what good did it do us to give the Democrats the Presidency and a majority in both Houses of Congress, if they aren't going to move on the issues they promised to?

While I may be a lone voice crying in the wilderness, I truly believe this journey will bring us to a destination that will ensure not only an exponential growth in our political power in BOTH parties for the gay community of today, but for the gays of tomorrow as well.  And isn't that why we're in this fight; to secure a better future for those who come after us, even if we never see the fruits of our labor in this lifetime?  We have to ask ourselves as a community, and as individuals, "What kind of political legacy will we leave the next generation of gay Americans?"  Will it be one of a party who pays us lip service and sits on its hands when given the power to act on our behalf, or will it be one of securing power in BOTH parties, that ultimately includes gay-supported elected officials in BOTH parties?

As anyone who reviews some of my previous articles regarding GOProud and their motivations for wanting to make inroads with the Republican party can see, the scales have begun to fall from my eyes to the point that at least I can more clearly make out why they believe the GOP truly does have the best interest of gays at heart.  Although the GOP platform appeals to them (and honestly myself) for different reasons than why the Democratic platform (continues) to appeal to me, it doesn't necessarily mean one must feel as if we are committing an act of treason by voting Republican in 2012.

As I alluded to in previous articles, when President Obama was campaigning, one of his platform items was to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  Now that I have candidly shared my dismay at the Democratic Party's inaction on DOMA, especially during the past 2 years when Democrats had a majority in both Houses of Congress and the White House, I have to stop and realize that it's also important to not paint all Democrats with the same brush.

Specifically, I think it's important to note that it would be disingenuous and unfair of me to say "the Democrats" didn't even bring DOMA to the floor for consideration.  Many of us will recall that 3 brave souls actually did attempt to get the ball rolling.  By way of reviewing the history of the 111th Congress' efforts on DOMA, I refer to select quotes from an exhaustive article from Edge, published on September 14, 2009, entitled "Frank Will Not Support DOMA Repeal":
A Congressman from New York plans to sponsor a bill to undo one of the most damaging federal laws to gay and lesbian families, the 1996 "Defense of Marriage" Act, which legally consigns same-sex couples to strangers status even if they are married in one of the six states where full marriage equality is legal.

DOMA was passed as the first state to contemplate marriage equality, Hawaii, was making headlines in 1996, and spurring a panic that if marriage equality were to become legal in any one of the 50 states, the rest would be compelled to honor such marriages granted there under the U.S. Constitution’s "full faith and credit" clause.

But the measure also denies gay and lesbian families any recognition from the federal government, declaring that only heterosexual couples will be recognized as being married by federal law.

That means that married gays and lesbians do not have access to a plethora of rights at the federal level--taxes, inheritance, pensions--even if they are otherwise married at the state level.

The only way to reverse this is to repeal DOMA, which is what New York Congressman Jerry Nadler intends to do...
Two of the three openly gay members of the House of Representatives, Tammy Baldwin and Jared Polis, are on board with Nadler, but a surprising omission in support for the measure of Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank, who says that there are too many other pieces of legislation to try and get passed.

The Blade quoted Frank as saying, "It’s not anything that’s achievable in the near term."

Added Frank, "I think getting ENDA [the Employment Non-Discrimination Act], a repeal of [the military ban on openly gay troops] ’Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ and full domestic partner benefits for federal employees will take up all of what we can do and maybe more in this Congress."

The Blade quoted Nadler as scoffing at Frank’s reservations, saying, "Mr. Frank knows better than anyone that our opponents will falsely claim that any DOMA repeal bill ’exports marriage’ in an effort to generate fear and misunderstanding.

"But the dishonest tactics of our opponents should not stop us from aggressively pushing to end this horrific discrimination now, as is the consensus of the nation’s top LGBT groups who all support this approach."

Still, the Blade reported, Congressman Frank viewed progress on the issue as more likely to come from the courts--specifically, a lawsuit against DOMA brought by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders.

Frank called the suit "very thoughtful, very well done," and predicted, "That’s the way we’ll win this."

GLBT equality advocates see no reason not to pursue both options.  Crain's New York quoted the president of the Lambda independent Democrats, Mary Cooley, in a Sept. 11 article: said Cooley, "We’re obviously strongly supportive of the bill, and we’re very grateful that Congressman Nadler has introduced it."

The article also quoted Marriage Equality New York’s executive director, Ron Zacchi, who disagreed with Frank’s assessment of the bill’s chances, saying, "To have Congress repeal DOMA, I think, is very viable."

Zacchi pointed to comments like that of former Vice President Dick Cheney, whose daughter is gay. Cheney had expressed support for gay and lesbian families, and for letting states decide the issue themselves.

Noted Zacci, "Both political parties have said that government on the federal level shouldn’t be involved in marriage, and the Defense of Marriage Act is taking a stance on marriage [on the part of the federal government].

"Letting states decide for themselves is something both parties have said they support," added Zacci.
Obama is another question mark. As a candidate, Obama spoke out against DOMA. He also spoke out against the ban on openly gay and lesbian troops in uniform, only to do little to banish "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" once in the White House. Overall, GLBT equality groups have grown impatient with the president’s lack of action on gay issues.
As you can see, BOTH parties support leaving gay marriage issues to each state to decide, so for those in the gay community who have recently complained that GOProud's exact same stance is somehow not "gay friendly" enough to support GOProud, I would urge them to become reaquainted with the actual position of the Democratic Party, because admittedly, it seems the media has done a fairly good job of portraying Democrats as supporting gay marriage, and the Republicans opposing it, but as we see, that's not entirely true.  Further, as I have said before, if the US Supreme Court ultimately decides the fate of gay marriage in this country, why should GOProud waste one minute trying to defend it within the GOP when the party has already stated that it supports states' rights on it, including from ultra conservative Dick Cheney, whose daughter is also gay?

Others have questioned why GOProud helped foot the bill for a television ad campaign that called for Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi, and Barbara Boxer to be involunarily relieved of their posts in Congress during the 2010 midterm elections.  Many gays have craftily stated that GOProud was anti-gay because they ran the ad against Barney Frank, (carefully omitting any mention of Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer being in the ad as well).  But I ask my fellow gay Americans:  With the dismissive attitude of Congressman Frank regarding DOMA, and his lack of support on the bill that had the strong initial Congressional support of 91 other co-sponsors, why is it the gay community is keeping him in Congress?  Is it SOLELY because he's gay?"  I ask, because as we'll see, Congressman Frank may be gay, and may belong to the Democratic Party in order to secure the gay vote, but in actuality it would seem his record reflects him to govern more like a Republican, or an Independent.

For Congressman Frank to fail to carry the banner of DOMA's repeal even as a Democrat, a gay man, and purported friend to the gay community, it seems to me his inaction was indeed a treacherous act of cowardice betrayal of our community.  I can only assume it was an attempt on his part to maintain the gay community's sense of "needing" Congressman Frank's presence in the Congress, even if he does nothing for us toward gay issues, until AFTER those issues have already been settled. 

On the other hand, let us remember that GOProud is not the first group of gay people to align themselves with members of the Republican Party if it meant getting the work of the people done.  As explained in the wikipedia link "Barney Frank," even the Congressman himself has as well (which is a good thing, by the way):
During the subprime mortgage crisis, Frank was characterized as "a key deal-maker, an unlikely bridge between his party’s left-wing base and [...] free market conservatives" in the Bush administration.  Hank Paulson, the U.S. Treasury Secretary for the Bush administration, said he enjoyed Frank’s penchant for brokering deals, "he is looking to get things done and make a difference, he focuses on areas of agreement and tries to build on those."



So again, for those who believe that it's impossible for a gay Democrat to support any Republican platforms, or to be unable to adopt any Republican stances on issues of importance to the gay community, seems to me to be more of an issue of mindset and attitude created by a Democratic leaning media, rather than a grasp on the actually realities involved.

As an aside:  In doing the research for this article, I found that to be a revelation in regards to my own mindset and attitude as well, so I'm not trying to say "oh I knew it all along and those gays who didn't know are just stupid."  As I've said before, gay folks may be many things, but stupid is not one of them.  But now that I am aware, I have to admit that it's actually refreshing, and gives me an all new confidence in my support of what GOProud is trying to do, even as I continue to come to grips with how they are trying to get it done, (and honestly even as I continue to ponder if GOProud Chairman Chris R. Barron is the right man to interface with the media when sharing GOProud's positions with the American electorate, both gay and straight).

Ultimately, it's up to us to either be informed of the emerging new political realities facing the gay community, or stand to lose valuable (and rare) opportunities like the one GOProud presents us with even in its infancy.  If we are truly interested in having BOTH parties compete for our votes instead of BOTH parties assuming it will always go to Democrats, we simply cannot abort fledgling new attempts to advance the gay community further into a wider spectrum of the political process, by letting these golden opportunities simply slip through the cracks of our indifference, ignorance of their existence, hurt feelings, holding onto past grudges, or through conflicts of personalities with GOProud's leadership and the media.

As a strong voice in the Republican Party, Ann Coulter was invited to deliver remarks at CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference).  Following are select quotes from her speech from February 12, 2011, with commentary from me, which tends to support what I have shared thus far in this article:

ANN COULTER: "You know, we could REALLY use a little help from the Democrats when it mattered.  Not when it's been triumphed over." 
I would just say HERE! HERE!  Barney Frank's refusal to help bring DOMA to the floor was a huge disappointment to the entire LGBT community, but do you recall after the repeal of DADT how he suddenly came to the defense of gays showering with straights?  Just as Ann said, we could have REALLY used a little help from him when it mattered (like on DOMA), and not after an issue has been triumphed over like when the DADT repeal had already been secured by the time he came to the defense of gays and straights showering together. 

ANN COULTER:  "I was GOProud's first speaker, and by the way, I talked them into dropping the gay marriage plank." 
As I've mentioned several times in these articles, if gay marriage is going to be decided by the US Supreme Court anyway (which even Barney Frank said is how we'll win), why should GOProud spend anytime at all trying to convince Republicans to think any differently about it other than to leave it to the states?  As indicated previously, both parties have repeatedly stated that gay marriage should be decided by states.  Our highest ranking gay member in Congress says it will happen in the courts.  Why then do gays consider that GOProud isn't being "gay enough" if even the Democratic leaders (who are ALREADY elected, by the way) are saying the EXACT same thing that GOProud is?  I think it's a brilliant move on GOProud's part and I think it would be unwise to forsake the opportunity they bring to the gay community with the inroads they've already made within the Republican Party over this one single issue.

ANN Coulter: .... [Democrats] are using the gays.
That is the essence of this article isn't it?  Isn't using you what any cheating husband or boyfriend is doing?  Yes!  Is it the hardest thing to learn and accept?  Yes!  Are we better for it once we recognize the truth as it is and take steps to move beyond it?  Yes!  As hard as it may be to hear (and as hard as it may be to hear it from me, or Ann Coulter, or Chris R Barron), the fact remains that regardless of our delivery of the message, the message is true nonetheless, and the knee jerk recoil of the gay community is to be expected.  I just hope you won't let it paralyze you into a defensive position.  I hope that by sharing this message, it gets us all moving on the offense and in support of GOProud's efforts, even if we still never vote Republican.  There are many gay Republicans already, but we cannot demand equality for gays while denying our fellow gays the opportunity to explore the political party that best aligns with their own views.

However, I am suggesting that the Republican Party seems to be moving towards the middle as the Theocrats (aka Tea Party) has broken off, and that the GOP may just be transforming and reinventing itself into a Party that many of us find aligns with similarly held Democratic positions, or at the very least isn't the horrific exercise in homophobic hate speech so many of us have come to expect when the Theocrats had a firm grip on GOP leaders.

ANN COULTER:  Like many of you, I was always a friend of the gays and then liberals come along with some idea that no one's thought of for 1,000 years; gay marriage.  And I go to sleep one night being friend of the gays, and I wake up the next day; HOMOPHOBE!  NO!  You can't do that!  You just made up this gay marriage thing and it has nothing to do with them [liberals] liking gays.  They don't mind their little pals, the Islamic terrorists dropping walls on gays.  (STANDING OVATION FROM AUDIENCE).
While I would disagree that liberals "don't mind Islamic terrorists dropping walls on gays" (or any of the other atrocities that happen to gay people by primitive and unenlightened societies who kill or maim gays), I do appreciate Ann (and other Republicans at CPAC) for bringing this point out for our consideration.  The gay community is not just an American community, but we are an international community.  We are members of every nation, every city, every family, every political pursuasion (and oh yes! every religion too!)

The most disturbing international aspect I think the death of Uganda gay rights leader, David Kato has brought into the light, is the role that American Theocrats played in his death.  All Americans are beginning to make the connection between international state sponsored hate crimes against gays, and the role the Theocrats in America have played in exporting the brutality and evil mindsets to other countries.  Using their televanglistic empire's worldwide reach, they appear to be making attempts to expand  their empires not only here in America, but hope to secure worldwide domination, by misusing Scripture, tithes, influence, tax laws, bigotry, fear, and hate speech. 

We'll also recall the well reported delays of denouncement from Pastor Rick Warren, who had far flung ties to religious groups here in America, who have far flung ties to legislators in Uganda (and many other countries around the world) who sponsor, support and/or enforce the death penalty against gay people, simply for being who they are....and even as his denouncements included the words, "It's not my personal calling to comment or interfere in the political process of other nations."

It would appear that if my theories are correct about the Theocrats in this country wanting to overthrow the government and install a Theocracy here in America, that their visions of conquest are actually visions of worldwide conquest, and not merely the conquest of America.

And why gays?  Because it's the easiest group to pick on.  Why the death penalty?  To instill fear and make an example of us that helps the Theocrats control other aspects of the lives of the people who are left after all the gays are killed off.  It's a religious holocaust being used to institutionalize worldwide domination under the name "Christian," just like Hitler, but not just in Germany, and not just the Jews.

ANN COULTER:  Look, I am as born again, evangelical Christian as they come, and I am friend of the gays.  The gay argument is, why do conservatives act like our sin is worse than any other sin?  Did none of you have premarital sex?  Did none of your children have premarital sex?  You don't have friends who had premarital sex?  All of you are tithing every year?  And no, of course not, so I think there is a little extra animosity directed toward gays.  But then the conservatives would say, okay fine, but we don't go to CPAC and have a group called Republicans Against Tithing.  Or Republicans for Premarital Sex.  And to that, I'd say, "yeah but it's different being gay, you have all of culture telling gays "you should be liberal."  Just like all of culture used to tell women "If you don't support abortion, you must hate women."  This is the Left trying to co-opt gays. 

So for now, I would like gays to just be part of conservatives the way women are, and blacks are without a special designation.  We don't need the special designation for it.  I would prefer that, but there is something to being gay apart from the sodomy.  That's what I want their new motto to be by the way, "Gays Without the Sodomy."  This is why I get along with gays, we like the same music, the same cocktails, often  the same men. 

There is a whole culture to it, and I both know gays who are chaste and I don't want to dis them by saying, "Oh forget about it!  Don't even try being chaste!  I know chaste gays.  I honor them.  God is saying to gays, what He said to Abraham:  Give up something you love for Me.  That's a tough cross to bear, and I admire gays who do it.  But I can't tell you that I'm without sin, as none of us are.  So that's the big point.  The Left is trying to co-opt gays, and I don't think we [conservatives] should let them.  They should be on our side.

We're for low taxes, we're against crime, we're against the terrorists who want to kill gays. 
Gays are natural conservatives.
Did anyone notice that Ann seems to be the first conservative to at least say

"gays are natural.....?"  THANK YOU, ANN!

Now, how do we rid the Republican Party of its homophobic speech and quell the attempts of worldwide domination by the Theocrats, while at the same time crafting a message that opens the (FRONT) door to the Big Tent wide enough to actually welcome gays to the GOP (and not simply tolerate our presence in an effort to extract money from us instead of the church?)  I'll offer some of my own suggestions by exploring some of the excerpts from Ann's CPAC speech that I *don't* agree with in the next article of this series:  "Purging the Theocrats" (February 19, 2011)


Brian Anthony Bowen
Member of the Worldwide Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community
Music Producer, "The Gemini Enterprise: Stellar Trance"
Blogger, "The Gemini Gayzette"
Author of upcoming new book, "The Bed Keeper:  A Biblical Case FOR Gay Marriage"


Saturday, February 12, 2011

TeaParty, Democrats, And Betrayal of Trust

Please re tweet or email this article to your friends and family, or email your thoughts to GOProud directly.

If you are a reporter or blogger, feel free to republish this article as is, or make it your own.


If you are an elected official, please be informed that the LGBT Community may be looking for a new Party to support in 2012.  This article is part of a new series which addresses why.  I hope you find it informative and that it encourages you to do all you can to ensure that YOUR party will be the Party of choice for the LGBT community next year, whether you are Democrat or Republican.

Dear Friends,

When Barrack Obama ran for President, it came at a time when Americans were weary from 2 very costly wars, and on the heels of the largest bailout in American history for private enterprises, banks, insurance companies, and Wall Street that the world had ever known; some 700 BILLION dollars (but who's counting? seriously!  Who's counting?).

After 8 years of Republican leadership in the White House, America was ready for a change to just about anyone except George W. Bush.  When Barrack Obama became the nominee, I was both disappointed and excited.  I was disappointed because I was rooting for Hillary Clinton.  Not only had she gone from serving our country as First Lady to serving the state of New York as Senator, but had top government access to all those capitalist trade secrets her husband had put to good use to leave a legacy of the largest budget surplus in American history.

After a week of crying into my pillow over Hillary not receiving the nomination, I became excited at the prospect of America at least electing its first black President, because I saw it as a sign of the country finally putting racism and classism and inequality for minorities of every shade behind us, with the expectation that as one minority group achieved high office, the gay community would make further strides toward equality following in the same footsteps.  Unfortunately, that isn't exactly what happened.

Not only did Congress go on to pass the largest economic stimulus package in American history, it unfortunately did not create the jobs President Obama said it would.  In order to divert media attention away from the dollars Washington was spending on a failed economy, Congress began working on health care reform to provide the more than 40 million Americans who didn't have health insurance with quality medical coverage.  Their answer:  If you don't have health insurance now, then buy some or we'll MAKE you buy some. 

EUREKA!  Why didn't anyone think of that sooner?  (Maybe because it's unconstitutional to force Americans to make free market investments against their will).

I think all Americans agree that is NOT what we had in mind.  More than any other, that misguided piece of legislation helped galvanize and give rise to the Tea Party, and their "Taxed Enough Already" movement.  Unfortunately, it also brought with it a lot of other social elements, like racism, bigotry, and homophobia packaged under the mantra "Taking America Back.....from the black man."  It began to stress the coalition that Ronald Reagan had put together of social and fiscal conservatives in his Big Tent GOP, and in essence, what I affectionately call the Christian Political Party broke off from the Republican Political Party. 

The whole thing has often reminded me of the scene from Trading Places when Eddie Murphy is in the men's room listening to the Duke Brothers talk about their little plan to switch Winthorpe back to his previously held company position that goes:

Randolph Duke: Now, what are we going to do about taking Winthorpe back and returning Valentine to the ghetto?
Moritmer Duke: I don't want Winthorpe back, after what he's done.
Randolph Duke: You mean, keep *Valentine* on as managing director?
Mortimer Duke: Do you really believe I would have a *nigger* run our family business, Randolph?
[Valentine's eyes widen with outrage]
Randolph Duke: Of course not. Neither would I.

(apologies to my black fellow Americans, but that's what he said!  Rent the movie!)

What a lot of people who didn't follow along don't realize is that the rise of the Tea Party had actually already begun long before Obama was elected, and long before the Bush bail outs.  These two events were simply the straws that broke the camel's back.  It all really began in 2004 with the re-election of George W. Bush as President, who was strongly supported by Christian evangelicals and the Catholic Church (aka "social conservatives.")  The Protestant evangelicals were largely led by televangelist leaders like Kenneth Copeland, Jesse Duplantis, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, Eddie Long, and John Hagee, (aka "Prosperity Preachers").

If those names sound familiar to you, they should.  Eddie Long is the "bishop" that was recently accused of molesting underage boys in the care of his ministry.  The rest of the names are some of the same folks who had to resign from the Board of Regents of Oral Roberts University in 2007, when it was discovered they had misappropriated funds and driven the university into debt to the tune of 50 million dollars....even as they collected enormous salaries for their "work" as members of ORU's Board of Regents, and bragged to their congregations about how their own ministries were debt free.

Interestingly enough, Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Creflo Dollar and Eddie Long were the same guys who were slapped with a Federal investigation by the US Senate Finance Committee asking for reports on donors, use of church tithes, and other financial abuses involving the use of tax free money to start up "for profit" enterprises, turn a taxable profit from those enterprises, and instead of paying taxes on that profit, used it to make tax deductible "donations" back into their tax deductible "ministries."

Wedged in history between 2004 when George W. Bush was re-elected and 2007 when the ORU and Senate Finance Scandals broke, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in 2005.  If there's one thing I learned by following these "Prosperity Gospel ministries" is that there's nothing better for "business" in the televangelism industry than a good old fashioned natural disaster. 

Under the mantra of being the "hands and feet of Jesus," these "ministries" flew in supplies (in their own aircraft, no less), prayed with people, gave them Bibles, rebuilt their churches, distributed food, and made those rescued and rebuilt churches official (tax deductible) "outreach ministries" of their larger (tax deductible) televangelist empires.  In reality, these "outreach ministries" became little more than a tax deductible money laundering/ponzi scheme, designed to keep all income in a tax deductible status by moving (er, that is "donating") tax deductible income from one associated (tax deductible) "outreach ministry" to another (tax deductible) "outreach ministry" until it finally made its way back to the (tax deductible) "headquarter ministry."

In return, these "headquarter ministries" got a brand new lot of grateful people who now have to show up and become members of these (tax deductible) "outreach ministries" in order to get the food and other supplies provided by the (tax deductible) "donating" ministries.  On its surface, it appears to be nothing more than neighbors helping neighbors, and churches doing their "Christian duty" to clothe the naked and feed the poor.  But take away the smoke and mirrors, and we see that it's really about control for these televangelists.  Control over food, supplies, money and other basic human needs...indeed, control over people, their tithes, their income, and their votes.

In short, it's theocratic slavery, and it is the vision of many power hungry evangelical leaders to initiate a government takeover in order to install a theocratic society run by a religious cabal, even as they spread fear among Americans about the Taliban and Islamic Sharia Law doing so instead.  In short, many "social conservatives" only want to make America another Christian ruled Rome, with the Church in charge of the state, and the people completely dependent upon the church for food, water, and shelter.  (No wonder the Catholic Church is so involved in politics).

These power hungry "church leaders" want to control how much food and basic necessities people receive, they want to control where people can get these supplies (churches), and they want to control your sense of obligation to give back to these churches once they are rebuilt and added to the televangelist empires.....only to have your tithes going back into their (tax deductible) coffers, and get once again funnelled back into those "for profit" enterprises whose taxable profits are then funnelled back as (tax deductible) "donations" to "the ministry"....or "political campaigns."

If you think back a bit, you'll recall the big hoopla about how the government didn't do enough in terms of providing basic needs and recovery efforts for the Katrina and Rita victims.  Now as to why that is, I can only guess, but the best I can reckon is that these "headquarter ministries" struck a deal with the government to allow THEM to go in instead of the government, in order to capitalize on these natural disasters as a way to get more church money pouring in.  In such an admittedly hypothetical scenario, it would seem that they assured the government that they could do a better job at delivering much needed aid and for less money than the government. 

The President would (theoretically) find this aspect one of those appealing "Faith Based Initiatives" he was always talking about.  He (er, the government) actually gave at least one of those ministries (Eddie Long's) a rather sizable contribution, only to find that maybe Eddie put that money into his pocket, and President Bush later realized that he had been scammed with the overinflated promises of these "ministries" which proved to be too little and too late for the Katrina victims.  (The wikipedia entry "Eddie Long" reads):
In 2006, Long was chosen by the family of Martin Luther King, Jr. to host and officiate the funeral for Mrs. Coretta Scott King, wife of the late civil rights pioneer. The event was attended by four Presidents (George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter). 
Long was a prominent supporter of George W. Bush's faith-based initiatives.  His ministry received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Administration of Children & Families. Rev. Timothy McDonald suggested a link between Long's anti-gay activity and the grant saying "If you look at the black pastors who have come out with the faith-based money, they're the same ones who have come out with campaigns on the gay marriage issue."
But in the end, it appears these "faith based initiatives" simply were not the "force to be reckoned with" they painted themselves to be and so a lot of people got really angry really fast that the aid from the government took as long as it did, creating one of the worst embarrassments to George W. Bush's presidency that didn't involve a war, a microphone, or slurred speech. 

All that explains (to my mind at least) why the government response to Katrina and Rita were so piss poor, and why these televangelists managed to stay so royally rich (oh yeah, and tax free).  Now I don't have any problem with rich televangelists making a lot of money, or for a legitimate charitable organization getting a tax break, but if the GOP TRULY wanted to cut some of those "entitlements" they are always talking about, it seems to me that every church's tax deductible status should be revoked.  That will bring MILLIONS of dollars into the US Treasury EVERY year (and on a permanent basis).  It would eliminate the financial corruption in the televangelism world as described herein, and ease the tax burden on all Americans who are subsidizing these folks plans to take over the government.  For every tax dollar these organizations don't pay, you and I pick up the tab instead.  It may not solve ALL of America's tax burden issues, but it's a start.  It may not completely prevent an armed take over of the government in order to install a theocracy, but it would delay it.

By now, you may be thinking I'm some kind of conspiracy theorist, but I know I'm not simply because I wondered if that was my problem too.  But a true conspiracy theorist doesn't know they are one, just like a mentally unstable person isn't aware of their instability. 

To prove it, let's turn our attention now to the 2008 election and I think you'll see what I've been watching develop over the past few years.  Do you remember when John McCain refused to accept the endorsement from John Hagee for President in 2008 after Hagee made anti-Catholic comments?  Do you remember seeing John Hagee's name as one of those ORU Board members who resigned?  Cool.  Now you're connecting the dots....and so has the GOP....and maybe Hillary Clinton was on to something none of us were aware of when she mentioned that "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy."

But why is all this important?  Well, one is because in the lead up to the Republican primaries, Mike Huckabee was on Kenneth Copeland's televangelist program (but only in the capacity as a pastor--(wink! wink!)--and not as a political endorsement--(wink! wink!)--because churches who endorse candidates lose their tax exempt status).  Next thing I know, Huckabee is winning the primary in Iowa with a HUGE turn out in evangelical voters.  Soon after, his campaign quickly lost steam as John McCain and Mitt Romney emerged as the front runners for the Republican nomination.  So a lot of church folks were disappointed right out of the gate that they had made a bad bet on Huckabee.

And then SUDDENLY:  Sarah Palin, a folksy, whimsical character (who just happened to be an affiliated member of an Assemblies of God Church)--(which just happens to be the umbrella group of most televangelists)--appears out of nowhere and is thrust onto the national stage as John McCain's Vice Presidential running mate (much to most of America's chagrin). 

Speaking of which, if you listen closely to the rhetoric and talking points of most candidates in the Tea Party, we hear the same memes over and over: 
  • No separation of church and state (and if you're a televangelist like Eddie Long, you now know why....there's money being funnelled from the government in the form of "grants" to churches, which gets funnelled into campaigns to elect the government officials who are vested with the authority to give these grants out, apparently at will)
  • Defund the Department of Agriculture (because when we get done with you, all you'll be doin' is workin' in the fields pickin' crops because we are self reliant around here)
  • Defund Planned Parenthood (because the more babies we get from you, the more kids we can indoctrinate and they won't even feel the transition of going from being free citizens to becoming slaves to the church, plus we'll grow the Christian faith at the same time!)
  • Defund the Department of Education--Let Parents Home School (which would explain all those misspelled signs we see at the Tea Party rallies)--(as an aside, I actually had a Tea Party gentleman explain that "those signs were hand made, and were not a product of a liberal Kinkos print job."  I reminded the right honorable gentleman that so too had the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution been "hand made," and by quill and ink, and with (SURPRISE!) no misspelled words!).
  • Personal Liberty (to choose to be controlled by the church instead of the state, and we can teach kids new words like "refudiate" and "nukular" and "strategeries"...but only if we keep them off those damn internets.)
  • Personal Armaments (aka "Second Amendment Remedies" and "Don't Retreat, Reload!", presumably for when the time comes for the theoretical government coup)
  • Protecting the Family (which is code for "ban and/or burn the gays", as if we are the cause of divorce or adultery, which are the TRUE enemies of "the family"...and they're heterosexual in nature too)
  • Cutting Entitlements and Becoming Self Reliant (which is code for don't make the taxpayers care for the elderly, retired and disabled, let the church do it instead, because it gives us more control.  We'll pray for them when they get sick and if God don't heal them and they die, well what good is it to have them around anyway?)
  • Islamaphobia (which is code for "the Christians would prefer to take over the government instead of letting another religion do so"...besides, fear works and gets folks to the voting booth.)
  • Taking Our Country Back....(especially from the BLACK man!) (which is code for take control away from the State and give it to the Church, and put a rich televangelist with his own jet in charge, because if he has his own jet, surely he can figure out how to bring peace to the Middle East...or at least get there really fast if he had to).
  • Get the Government out of our Private Lives (which is code for "we'd prefer the church be over our private lives instead of the state....even though we don't realize we don't HAVE to be under the control of either, since we are Americans and that's what true liberty is all about and why we fought Britain to attain it....unless of course you're gay in which case, both the church and government should ensure that life is made to be pure bloody hell for you all your living days!)
  • Return Our Country to the Founding Father's Vision (which is code for let's go back to pre-Civil War days where some states could have slaves if they want)
  • Immigration Reform (which is code for "I hate brown people as much as I hate black people" even though our company does use a lot of undocumented workers because my boss doesn't like to pay taxes on them....which of course is why they come to America in the first place, but we can't say so out loud or he'll get arrested and I'll lose my job, because after all, he's my boss too)
  • Tax Reform (which is code for "vote for me and I'll lower your you can afford to pay more tithes so we can have tax deductible income with which to prepare to take over the government....via Second Amendment remedies, if necessary)
  • Other various talking points, including the "thou doth protest too much" stylized insistence that nobody cares that Obama is half black and half white, because they aren't racists (which only racists seem to have to say out loud in order to attempt to convince folks)
Time and again, as if being read from a teleprompter, these are the coded messages and talking points from one kookie cookie cutter Tea Party candidate to the next.
So it seems to me that as as the first group of televangelicals fell out with the Bush administration over Katrina and later the ORU investigation and then the Senate Finance Committee investigation, by 2008, these (tax deductible) churches' ability to keep throwing money at Presidential campaigns began to wane--perhaps even intentionally so.  Perhaps...just perhaps, the Bush Administration began realizing their plot, got hold of his buddies in the Oil and Gas industry to raise gas to $4.00/gallon so church folk couldn't tithe as much, and in essence deprived the coup attempt from achieving its goals of installing a theocracy by cutting off its funding at the source; tithing from the faithful (and gullible).

Further, perhaps...just perhaps....the whole Fannie and Freddie deregulation was intentionally designed to force the housing bubble to burst and cut off credit to all Americans in an effort to kill the money source of the attempted coup attempt.  One thing's for sure, it happened fast, and it affected church incomes as it affected Americans' incomes, and the next thing you know, "social conservatives" are forming their own group known as the Tea Party, led by Sarah Palin, Sharon Angle, Christine O'Donnell, Paul Rand, Joe Miller, Carly Fiorina and anyone else Palin endorsed lately....and oddly enough, MANY were running AGAINST Republicans!  Admittedly this is largely just a theory, but you have to admit it certainly makes a LOT of sense.  But that's nothing compared to what happened next. 

Let's back up again to the 2008 election.  Now considered little more than "useful idiots," the GOP realized it still needed the "social conservatives" to win an election, even after it (theoretically) succeeded in draining money from the church.  So they began a new search for someone who could still salvage the "social conservative" vote, even if they didn't have a lot of money to contribute to their campaigns.  They needed a new draw to bring in evangelicals (which is code for "social conservatives"), (which is code for "church folks", or what you and I may affectionately refer to as "right wing nut jobs.")

Both Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin fit the bill perfectly, because not only were they part of the "social conservatives," and both of them were Republican Governors, at least neither were leaders in the then scandal-ridden evangelical community, and likely not privy to any (theoretical) coup attempt designed to overthrow our democratic government and install a theocracy.  As far as I can tell, both Mike and Sarah had simply used their church affiliations to gain free audiences to pander to for votes, which is exactly what the Republican Party needed to not only bring in the "social conservatives", but also what was left of all that wonderful church folk money....but without the (theoretical) coup.  And since the American public had little knowledge of either Mike or Sarah, they seemed to be immune from enough public scrutiny for the media to crucify them in time for the election....or so they thought....but they had not yet become acquainted with Tina Fey....and they STILL don't know who the hell I am!

Between the ORU scandal, the Senate Finance Committee investigation, and (perhaps an intentionally artificially inflated) $4.00/gallon for gas at the time, (theoretically driven by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney's ties to the Oil and Gas Industry), evangelical organizations began to see their tithing incomes wane.  Once the Wall Street bailouts came along and the financial downturn paralyzed the majority of our capitalist society, suddenly not only had the housing market bubble burst, but so too had the televangelist market (and that theoretical coup attempt).  What I believe happened with the crash is that people who used to sit in church thinking they were not only going to get in heaven, but would become rich while here on earth too if they just tithed every week...found that they had just entered hell and were not going to become least not any time soon.

This made a LOT of church folk angry (and rightly so!)  The trust people put into ministry leaders is sacred, and to have it betrayed is blasphemous.  In the ensuing months after the crash, ministry after ministry began being scrutinized even more closely by parishioners themselves, as the faithful began to realize from learning about the ORU scandal, the new ministry airplanes being bought, and the Senate Finance investigation of their church leaders, that they had been had.  They had been paying 10% of their income in order to buy the miracle cure to their poverty that the televangelists gave them, drank the kool-aid, and found out it was actually laced with financial Jim Jones, only they lived.

As these ministry leaders felt the heat from their parishioners about these unmanifested "blessings" their ministry leaders began to blame the government bail outs, and the high price of gas.  And when those events all combined with the loss of John McCain to Barrack Obama, that is what really led to the up rise of the Tea Party and gave it legs upon which to stand and rouse up a group of under educated, lower middle class, beer drinkin', gun totin', home schoolin', Bible thumpin,' homo bashin,' racial slurrin', white, evangelicals, (or again, what you and I refer to as "right wing nut jobs.")  Not only had these parishioners been bamboozled by their churches, but these ministry leaders got them to believe they had been hoodwinked by their government too.

Of course what REALLY happened here was that these preachers used peoples' own greed (and gullibility) against them, so it's hard to put all the blame on the so called "prosperity preachers" who keep saying "get off the Babylonian system of finance, and get onto GAWWWDDDD's way of doing business" (which of course is code for:
"Just give me more of your money and control over your life, and as long as you continue to do everything I tell you to, you MIGHT have a chance at getting a free ride in my shiny private jet one day, or I might let you follow me around in case some of these wads of cash fall out of my pocket by accident.....but don't stand too close to me, because after all, this watch is a Rolex, and I'm scared you may steal it, which is why I have all this armed security here in church (of all places). 
Oh yeah, and while you're at it, you're gonna vote for the politicians I tell you to, you'll be paid what I say, you'll sit down when you're told, you'll shut up when you're told, and you'll learn the "social conservatives script for dummies" for use at any cocktail party wherein you may encounter a feminist, an abortionist, or militant homosexual Nazi, because those are all attackers on "the family" out to recruit your children. 
You'll be part of the "Army of GAWWDDD!"  You won't retreat--you'll reload!  You'll march Onward Christian Soldier and take up arms and we'll use you to take this country back (from freedom loving Americans...and that BLACK man!) and install a New World Order ( by WHITE women, Jews, fags, blacks, hispanics or asians allowed....after all, THAT's what our Founding Fathers envisioned!). 
You'll believe what I tell you the Bible says, and you won't read it for yourself (because you'll realize I've lied about the gays and the women). 
You won't question me, my motives, or my means.  I'll be rich, and you'll be poor, but since it won't turn you on if I actually say it, I'll just lie and tell you that you'll be rich too if you'll just keep tithing. 
You'll home school your children so they'll stay as ignorant and gullible as you are, and they won't become infected by all that human secularism, intelligence, enlightenment, thinking for themselves, science, truth, facts, fairness, democracy, justice, freedom, liberty, pluralism, tolerance, or equality.  You'll be counted among the "faithful" and I'll be:
Your Own.....Personal.....Jesus.......
....and you'll be a member in good standing In The Church of the Poison Mind. 
We'll never tell you all this face to face, but a militant homosexual Nazi like that faggot fudge packin' Brian Anthony Bowen just might so don't pay him no mind, because he's just a conspiracy theorist, left wing LIBERAL, trying to approve a RADICAL homosexualistical agenda who thinks there weren't any dinosaurs on Noah's Ark and that the earth is BILLIONS of years old!  Plus, he's a facist!  You just can't believe anything he says.  After all, let God be true and every man a liar (except me of course, because I'm a pastor...and a cosigner on Jesus' very own checking account!)
Yes, brother, just keep payin' your tithe, and everything's gonna be alright!  Hail Mary, Amen, and His Truth Is Marching On!  GLORY!"
(Don't you just love the "Family of God"?) 

I mean between Depeche Mode, Boy George, and Kenneth Copeland, I just don't know WHO to believe anymore!  But right now, my money is on Boy George....(and Jesus, of course).

What does all that have to do with the Democrats and their betrayal of the trust that gays put in them to work on ENDA and DOMA?  I answer that question in the next article:

 "This Ain't Your Father's GOP" (February 15, 2011)


Brian Anthony Bowen
Member of the Worldwide Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community
Music Producer, "The Gemini Enterprise: Stellar Trance"
Blogger, "The Gemini Gayzette"
Author of upcoming new book, "The Bed Keeper:  A Biblical Case FOR Gay Marriage"


Friday, February 11, 2011

GOProud: "Houston, We Have a Problem!"

Please re tweet or email this article to your friends and family, or email your thoughts to GOProud directly.

If you are a reporter or blogger, feel free to republish this article as is, or make it your own.


Greetings Friends!

Houston, we have a problem!!

As you may know, CPAC started this week, and before they even got going, they changed leaders.  The new leader expressed dismay over GOProud's recent public comments in the media regarding some of the groups that boycotted CPAC, and hinted that GOProud may not be invited back next year.  But as Chairman Barron has said repeatedly, "we never sought to exclude anyone from CPAC and we didn't start this war, but don't expect us to not fight back" (my paraphrase).

Being from Houston (and quoting from Joan Crawford's fighting words), I would add:

"Don't FUCK with us fellas!  This ain't our first time at the rodeo!  We've fought worse monsters than you for YEARS and we know how to win the hard way!"

(pardon my French, but that's what the lady said!)

After all, didn't Donald Trump tell all the attendees at CPAC that we have to be interested in WINNING?....Why yes!  Yes he did!  So too must we then.

The folks who boycotted CPAC are the ones we are all familiar with:  Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, and others KNOWN for their bigotry and homophobic remarks.  They are the ones who are finding it difficult to continue to bash gays in order to pander to Social Conservative voters as long as GOProud is present at CPAC, and they want GOProud out....YESTERDAY, if possible!
Like the entire country, the entire gay community is pretty sharply divided between Democrats and Republicans at this point, with most of us leaning Democrat.  Many of us are still bruising from some of GOProud Chairman Chris R Barron's recent remarks regarding what he calls "the gay left."  There's also a lot of misinformation floating around about where GOProud stands on the issues.  Many die hard Democrat gays are saying that GOProud opposes gay marriage.  That's not exactly true.  They are for repealing DOMA because that is a federal statute, and they believe marriage should be left up to the states to decide, and as Chairman Barron said on The Mitchell Report, hopefully at the state level, and not by judges.  GOProud has NEVER indicated that they simply oppose gay marriage, as many gay Democrats would have us believe.

Some gay Democrats have failed to research GOProud's record and are actually saying that they oppose the repeal of DADT.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  You can research Chris R Barron on YouTube and find a video that shows Chris defending DADT's repeal, as well as their website showing their most recent public statements against Pawlenty's attempts to defund the DADT repeal.

Many gay Democrats have fallen victim to the Republican anti-gay rhetoric over the years, and the failure on the part of gays to let the past stay in the past...and KEEP it there.  I understand your pain.  I understand the insults hurled at us over the years leave permanent wounds.  And I understand that setting those wounds aside isn't an easy thing to do, but I strongly caution against allowing them to blind us to the missteps of the Democrats, in light of their recent majority being squandered without so much as a whisper regarding ENDA nor DOMA, nor to the newest threat we face if CPAC successfully bars GOProud's continued attendance at future CPAC events.

Many gay Democrats have sharply criticized GOProud for not supporting ENDA, and honestly, I can't speak as to why they oppose it.
EDITED 2/11/11 7:34am CST to add:  Liz Mair, Member of GOProud's Advisory Board Tweets: ENDA stance is based on opposition to govt mandates, regs etc...esp in view of the fact that the private sector is well ahead of the curve re: fair treatment of gay folks in hiring etc.  END EDIT  
But the larger point is that we voted the Democrats into office, they had a 2 year opportunity to repeal DOMA and pass ENDA and failed to even bring either issue to the floor.  Say what you will about Republicans, but what good does it do to elect Democrats AND give them the majority in both Houses of Congress AND the Presidency....if all they're going to do is piss it all away, and renege on the promises they made to our community?  I'll provide more details on that in later blogs, but right now, we have something of an emergency on our hands.

CPAC only lasts through today, February 12.  We have only 16 hours to ensure that at least GOProud is invited back to CPAC next year.  That opportunity will only come if the gay community gets behind them and supports their attendance (whether we agree with all their policies or not).  We'll have an entire year then to debate where they do or should stand on individual issues. 

But for now, I ask for all of us to unite behind GOProud's attendance.  If CPAC is successful in booting them from next year's CPAC, it will be an attack on all gays, and a threat to an exponential growth in our political power, (and not just for the ones who identify as Republican or fiscally conservative, but Democrats, Libertarians, and Independents too).  It will be a lost opportunity and painful setback to the entire Equality movement.

Here's the thing:

Whether we like it or not, if CPAC bans GOProud, it's still an attack on ALL gays (and they know it).  If we support GOProud's presence (even if we don't support all their policies) that can only mean that BOTH parties begin vying for our vote (and they know it).  Many old school CPAC attendees want to keep the status quo when it comes to exclusion of gays in the Republican Party.  They want to continue to rely on the homophobic rants in order to get their voters to the polls (since they rarely have any solid solutions that are exciting enough to get folks off the couch).  Likewise, the Democrats would love to continue in the status quo because it helps them continue to win elections by considering the gay vote a "given".  But we've seen what happened when they had it.  They had a majority in both houses of Congress and the Presidency for 2 years, and we all watched as they pissed it away, and did NOTHING to pass ENDA and/or repealed DOMA. Why didn't they?  Why aren't you angry at their betrayal of our trust?  We voted them in and they did nothing!  Yet so many Democratic gays pooh pooh GOProud, simply because they aren't carrying the banner either.  Folks, that is NOT going to get us where we all want to go.

To be blunt, if we just let Democrats keep screwing us like that, they will just assume they can continue to, and we'll have only ourselves and disunity to thank for it.  At least if Republicans think we MIGHT vote for them, they'll at least try to make sure we do, but only if we stand behind GOProud this week.  If they think we MIGHT vote for them, at the VERY LEAST, they'll knock off the homophobic rhetoric from their campaigns.  If we don't show CPAC that we support GOProud's attendance (and that we may be looking for a new Party to support in 2012), CPAC will never take GOProud seriously, which means they'll never take GAYS seriously. I don't like it, but that's politics.  I just hope you think about it.  I'm on our side, so don't get me wrong, but we have to look at this strategically, not ideologically.

When CPAC sees the gay community begin to unite, it will send a POWERFUL message that threatens their own candidates' political aspirations.  If they refuse GOProud's attendance next year, they can be certain it will only force us to vote Democrat in the next election.  Further, if they keep GOProud next year, they'll see we are serious about their participation, and they will see for themselves that the gay community may just indeed be looking for another party....and I BET YOU they don't do ANYthing to alienate us, and I BET YOU they'll be strongly urging GOProud to attend again next year, and the next and the next.

But it depends on us and how we react to this golden opportunity to increase our political power within BOTH parties.

We have a LOT of work to do today to pull this off.  I hope you'll join us in whatever fashion you deem appropriate.  But one thing is for sure, a show of ambiguity or apathy on our part will send a message to the Republican Party that we are just fine with the status quo, and we don't really want to be part of the process within the Republican Party, and that we are more than willing to keep nursing our wounds, and holding onto our grudges, and keep voting for Democrats so they can continue to do nothing for us once they are elected.  As angry as we may be about past Republican led bigotry and hate speech, is that really the political legacy we want to pass on to the next generation of gay Americans?

The choice is ours.  I'm going to be tweeting this article to members of Congress and anyone else I can find on Twitter that is in leadership positions of CPAC attendees.  As I do, I hope you'll tweet, and retweet, and email these tweets, and contact any press people you know, and anything else we can think of to get the message across that the gay community expects CPAC's leadership AND attendees to continue to welcome GOProud....and we expect them to do so NOW! 

I hope that EVERYONE who is gay and/or supports Equality who is attending CPAC this week will stand as Andrew Brietbart delivers his scheduled speech to CPAC (9:00am EST).  Let them see how many of us there are....including those of us who are not part of GOProud's contingency.  I can't think of anything that would have a greater visual impact for both attendees and the media than for a mass of gay men and women to stand up in the middle of CPAC and (respectfully, politely, but FIRMLY) say (visually, not verbally): 

"We're here!  We're queer!  Get used to it!"

(and as Joan Crawford would say),

"Thank you, let's get to work!"

There's no time to waste with partisan or issue arguments right now.  But leave a comment and I promise that I will answer all your questions after we are done with our little blitz.

God bless you, no matter what you decide, but as they say,

"Let us do SOMEthing, lest we do nothing!"

We've got 0 hours....and the clock is ticking....

Brian Anthony Bowen
Member of the Worldwide Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community
Music Producer, "The Gemini Enterprise: Stellar Trance"
Blogger, "The Gemini Gayzette"
Author of upcoming new book, "The Bed Keeper:  A Biblical Case FOR Gay Marriage"

(edited text to reflect elapsed time since original post) bab2.12.11 8.45pm cst 


Next Week's Articles:
"Democrats: Betrayal of Trust"
"Purging the Theocrats"
"This Ain't Your Father's GOP"

Sunday, February 6, 2011

GOProud, Gays, and The New World Order

Please re tweet or email this article to your friends and family, or email your thoughts to GOProud directly.

If you are a reporter or blogger, feel free to republish this article as is, or make it your own.


Greetings Friends,

Today, I'm hoping to convince the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community to take a moment and imagine a New World Order, spearheaded by the those of us who don't fit into the traditional liberal Democrat voting demographic, and even by a few of us who currently do.  While it is difficult to ignore or underestimate the progress towards full gay Equality the Democratic Party has brought us so far, (such as greater protections against hate crimes, and the repeal of DADT), there is yet more to be gained for our community--MUCH more!

As a lifelong socially liberal and fiscally conservative Democrat, I'm the first to admit my skepticism when it comes to gay people who claim to identify more with a conservative political agenda than a liberal one.  In my mind, surely there must be some secret, closed-door boot-licking involved in order for a gay person to fit into conservative circles in this country.  Certainly, the only reason the right would be interested in bringing gays into the fold is for sheer political expedience (not to mention the greater disposable income most gays have compared to our straight counterparts, which the Republican Party must be thirsty for).....right? 

Well, honestly before last week I certainly thought so.  But thanks to a very well considered and thought-provoking article by Liz Mair, GOProud's new addition to their Advisory Board, I realize that I (and many traditionally Democratic voting gays) may be missing a larger opportunity to secure more political power for the gay community than any of us ever imagined would be possible in our lifetimes.

Specifically, I encourage all of us to imagine a New World Order where both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party finally begin COMPETING  for the gay vote, instead of just assuming it will go to Democrats.  Far too many times, we have seen Democratic candidates pander to the gay community with all sorts of promises, only to fall short on delivering on those promises with the typical response of "well that's not a legislative priority right now."  Certainly during the first year of President Obama's Administration, the 111th Congress did not view DADT nor marriage equality as high priorities, though they did finally get DADT repealed during his second year.  With the economy in disarray, it seemed to me that indeed the economy was far more important than the repeal of DADT or DOMA or the passage of ENDA.  Although like many gays, I was then disappointed to see much less legislative work being focused on the economy, in favor of it being shifted towards working on health care reform which has left a bad taste in all Americans' mouths and even less money in our wallets. 

I said at the time that the Democrats were only focusing on health care in order to divert media attention away from the economy that had left so many Americans witnessing their retirement accounts shrink, their stock values plummet, their homes being foreclosed on, their jobs lost, and huge government bail outs for AIG and Wall Street under President Bush, and then the automotive industry under President Obama.  Two years later, it appears I was right, and not only has Congress given us a health care bill that forces Americans to make unconstitutional free market investments even against our will, we are still experiencing more than 9% unemployment, even though the stock market does seem to be regaining its footing.

We cannot deny the 111th Congress got a lot of work done, but all Americans (even the President of the United States) has questioned if it resulted in policies that actually benefit the American people.  While the repeal of DADT is undeniably a giant leap forward for Equality for the gay community, I think it would be foolhardy to believe that it was solely the work of one Democratic President that made it happen for us.  If we are to truly give credit where credit is due, I think we can all agree that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is the man we owe our deepest gratitude to, and since he has served under both Republican and Democratic Presidents, we can hardly chalk it up to being a solely Democratic-led issue.  Going further, the military chiefs and yea, even the very soldiers we will soon serve with, are the ones who helped repeal DADT, by affirming the dedicated and hard working gay service men and women already serving with them. If you ask me, I'd tell you that THEY are the true heroes in ensuring the repeal of DADT, and not the Democratic Party.
EDITED 02/09/2011 to add:  Trusted radio host, Michelangelo Signorile examines the DADT repeal even more forensically in this article in the Advocate Magazine, and provides a valuable breakdown of events leading up to the its eventual repeal.  (A MUST READ).      END OF EDIT.
While many Democrats are happy to take the credit for DADT's repeal, and most gays believe they deserve it, I just caution against giving the wrong folks credit in this case.  And as an aside, let us not forget that when Bill Clinton was campaigning for President, he vowed to make it legal for gays to serve openly in the military, only to back down and settle on a "compromise" that has since proven less than desirable for gays, the military or the country, to the point that it was eventually repealed. 

However, we do have the Democrats to thank for improving hate crimes legislation for gay people, but also for those of other nationalities, ethnicities, religions, and gender identities, so it can hardly be considered a strictly Democratic piece of legislation designed only to protect the gay community.  It, like many of the proposals GOProud includes in its legislative agenda, applies to ALL Americans, and not just a select few.

Does this mean I've suddenly become a conservative or Republican?  Hardly.  Although the words "liberal" and "conservative" can be quite vague when it comes to politics.  One can be socially liberal and fiscally conservative and so neither term would accurately describe someone like myself.  One can be religiously conservative and still not accurately describe a group like GOProud, just as CPAC can be socially conservative and still not accurately describe a group like GOProud.  GOProud is however, FISCALLY conservative, and in my view, THAT is the best kind of conservative out there, whether they are gay or straight, or Democrat or Republican.

But what if the gay community had both Democrats AND Republicans vying for our vote, where even Republicans began developing platforms specifically designed to appeal to our votes?  Imagine a country where Democrats could no longer assume the gay community will vote for them, and (since neither could the Republican Party), social conservatives began to stop with the homophobic rants in the public discourse which come from assuming we're not going to vote for them?  What if Democrats could no longer half-ass their way to getting legislation passed that actually benefits the gay community (so long as it doesn't cost them politically) as in the case of the original DADT legislation?  What if Republicans could no longer afford to *not* advance an agenda that included legislative proposals that targeted and benefited the gay community?  What if Democrats could no longer get a pass by telling gays to "just wait a little longer" on marriage equality or the repeal of DOMA or the implementation of ENDA while they just sat on those issues in order to get our votes come the next election?  What if Democrats had another vision competing for the gay vote? 

Impossible you say? 

Honestly, up until about a month ago I would agree, but with the inclusion of GOProud in CPAC for the second year in a row, it seems to me they have made enough headway demonstrating to Republicans that they are "conservative enough" for CPAC that they are going to be keeping their place at the conservative table secured.  And now that they have, I think it's important that gays take a closer look at what they are offering us, like tax equity for domestic partners regarding health insurance.

Going further, let's imagine now that GOProud is able to move forward an agenda that becomes adopted by the greater Republican Party at large, that doesn't include gay marriage and maybe not even ENDA, and yet still gives them the power to destroy the political tool of homophobia so many Republicans now use to pander to their conservative constituents (especially the religious right)?

But what would such a policy agenda look like, and how would it appeal to the broader gay community?  I look forward to some of those answers emerging during the conversation I hope this article will start amongst gay voters.  I also hope they will be explored in increasing detail as GOProud continues to hone its message to the gay community at large regarding the specifics of their political agenda.  But some of these questions we can answer on our own, and at least imagine a reality where GOProud supports improved health care legislation (which all gays need), lower and fairer taxes (which all gays need), and more limits on the growth of the Federal Government (which all gays need).  Some may ask, "well if that's all they're offering gays, then why is GOProud even trying to consider itself a gay group?"  I've asked the same question myself, and the conclusion I continue to return to is that they consider gay Americans as Americans first...and honestly, so do I.

Some have asked, "does GOProud support gay marriage?"  Their publicly stated position is that they support states' rights on the question of marriage.  Some gays feel like this isn't making GOProud a "gay enough" group to support, and perhaps so.  But that doesn't mean it doesn't make them SMART (and who ever accused gays of being stupid?)  As we all witness the marriage issue now churning through the court system, I think we can all look down the road and see that eventually the US Supreme Court will be deciding the issue, just as they did for revoking state sodomy laws, and state prohibitions on interracial marriage.  If that's the case, why should GOProud waste any energy on the matter--especially in an environment that has made it clear they are not budging on the issue?  We have to pick our fights in life, and so does GOProud.  I don't personally think that an issue that isn't going to be decided by Conservatives anyway, is one that a conservative group like GOProud should waste their time, energy and resources on.

Some have asked, "does GOProud support ENDA?"  This is one of those questions that GOProud will have to answer.  I honestly don't know.  It could be they haven't taken a position, or that they are developing a position based on where ENDA is heading legislatively.  I can't speak for them on that point, but I can say that it would seem to me that just as most discrimination based questions go to the courts, then ENDA too will most likely end up at the US Supreme Court at some point, and if so, again, why should GOProud waste time and energy on it?  But again, they'll have to speak to that directly.

So what does that leave for GOProud to take to conservatives and the Republican Party for gays?  The answer to that question is simple:  Policies that they take to conservatives and the Republican Party for ALL Americans, but that also make a point of *not* excluding gays.

While that answer may seem simplistic, again, I encourage each of us to take a look down the road past gay marriage, past DADT, and past ENDA....what's left for the gay community to fight for once those hurdles are crossed?  A better question is what does the Democratic Party have to offer gays at that point?  I think both parties are going to have to soon begin seriously tackling lower taxes (including married gays), strong family-friendly legislation (that includes gay parents and partners), education for our children (including those adopted by gays), funding retirement benefits for the elderly (including elderly gays and their surviving spouse), and maintaining our strong national defense (which can only be strengthened by the inclusion of gays under the DADT repeal) and yes, a health care policy that actually makes sense for ALL Americans (including gays, many of whom deal with HIV and AIDS treatments and medications).  

These will be the same policies that the Republican Party at some point after DOMA and ENDA are settled will have to begin focusing on even for gays as well.  The advantage we have as a gay community at this very moment in regards to GOProud's participation in CPAC though, is the head start they are giving us in regards to ensuring the Republican Party understand two things;

1. that there is an opportunity after DOMA and ENDA to attract gay voters with less "gay specific" legislative initiatives which gays just happen to support simply because they are good for ALL Americans, and,

2. that if they want to lead this country, they are going to need the gay vote to win, which means getting it back from the Democrats by earning it, starting THIS WEEK at CPAC.

And what do the Democrats need to learn by GOProud's attendance at CPAC?  Frankly, I believe that if they hope to maintain the gay vote, they are either going to have to get on the stick and get moving on repealing DOMA and ENDA legislatively, or stand to lose the loyalty of the gay community that they have all but forsaken by sitting on their hands for the last 2 years when they had every opportunity to fully deliver on them with a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress and the Presidency.

I think most gays agree that it was disappointing to see the Democrats squander their most recent 2 year opportunity to move on the gay issues they have been promising to get working on for us since 1993, and even earlier.  The 111th Congress with its Democratic majority has squandered valuable time and energy on a health care bill that most Americans are displeased with.  And Democrats by and large appear to be hoping to continue to string along the gay community with DOMA and ENDA during the next Presidential cycle.  After all, if they get to working TOO fast on those issues, they'll be resolved and then they'll have to deliver on "non gay" issues that will still attract gay voters if they want to continue to get our votes.  The lesson I believe (at least the smart) Democrats will learn is that they'll no longer be able to take gays and our votes for granted.  They, like the Republican Party, will have to begin actually EARNING our votes by coming up with better ideas and legislative policy agendas than the competition.

The way I see it, regardless of gay Americans' first impressions of GOProud today, it's important for gays to at least consider the vision being described herein that dares imagine the first time in American history gays are being given a choice, and in America, choice ALWAYS equals POWER.  GOProud is in a position to now begin bringing considerable political pressure to bear on both conservative and liberal Democrats to either FINALLY deliver on the promises they have made to the gay community for the past 20+ years, or be prepared to forfeit to the Republican Party the largest voting block shift in American history since Reconstruction. 

At the same time, they will now have considerable power to continue to rid the Republican Party of its homophobia (which has already begun with the boycott of a few socially focused conservative groups declining to attend CPAC) and begin wielding a positive force for change within Republican circles.  I believe that if they play their cards right, and the gay community gets behind their effort, Republicans will take note, and GOProud will for the first time deliver to the gay community the power necessary for us to begin dictating to BOTH parties what our legislative agenda should look like if they want our votes, instead of just taking the "dictation" (pun fully intended) that the Democratic Party has thus far read off for us.

I don't know about you, but as a gay man, I just got a little drunk from our new found power that GOProud is in a position to give us....and I'm a Democrat....

....(at least right now).

Brian Anthony Bowen
Member of the Worldwide Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community
Music Producer, "The Gemini Enterprise: Stellar Trance"
Blogger, "The Gemini Gayzette"
Author of upcoming new book, "The Bed Keeper:  A Biblical Case FOR Gay Marriage"