Thursday, February 3, 2011

GOProud: Painting With Forgiveness

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!

THANK YOU for everyone who has responded to my humble pleas to spread the word that the gay left is not going to sit back and be used as a punching bag for ANYone to advance politically, not even if they are gay.  You helped ensure that my biggest fear in this week's GOProud controversy didn't pass unnoticed by the gay community at large, or without serious unforeseen repercussions being considered, and hopefully avoided. 


We have asked for Chris R Barron, Chairman of the Board of GOProud to either apologize or resign for his tweet that read "the Gay Left = The American Taliban."  He has done neither, and I don't expect him to, because it would cost too much political clout for him right now.  I think we all understand that.  I am certain he has followed along and has most likely many times along the way regretted that particular choice of words.  I am certain that he realizes how petty and powerless his message was and how it only shot himself in the foot in his attempts to offer gays an alternative political agenda for those dissatisfied with the advances that overwhelmingly have been attained (so far) almost exclusively through the Democratic Party.

I'm certain he now realizes that there are also conservative gay Democrats, and Centrist gay Libertarians, and many Gay Independents who would be more than happy to get behind him and catch the vision he has cast for GOProud to move Conservative Republican politics away from bashing gays and towards advancing gays, even while embracing and remaining true to many foundational Republican values.  He has a lot of good ideas.  They need to be considered by all gays.  It's just unfortunate that his temper got the best of him and he made a mistake, and perhaps inadvertently alienated a vast swath of gays who would otherwise be supportive of what he's trying to do.  It would be difficult to believe he saw the reaction he received coming, or that he wouldn't have done everything he could to avoid it if he had it all to do over again.

My concern was that it seemed Chris R Barron had bought into the notion that in order to make Conservative Republican gays feel confident they had made a good bet by voting Republican, that he had to follow suit with the typical Republican (and even Tea Party) political vitriol against the vast majority of the gay community.  I hope we all understand that in Chris' mind, "it's just politics."  I knew that when I called him on his comments, and I know it now.  I don't think that Chris literally considers ANY gay people as a worldwide group of armed, dangerous and violent enemies of America--indeed enemies of the whole concept of peace--such as the Taliban.  It is clear to anyone who read the articles that he was "going for effect."  And he got it.

But was it the one he was hoping for?  I doubt it.  He had folks on the left shouting for his head while folks on the right were sucking up to him with their (not so) valiant efforts at coming to his defense and drawing fire away from a leader.  I'm sure that as long as he's been in politics, he knows a suck up when he sees one.  He knows that's just how things are in politics today.  But I hope he remembers that his stated purpose of departing the Log Cabin Republicans and starting GOProud was to change how things are done in politics today.  Unfortunately, his revolution is also an evolution....and evolution takes time, meaning that things will appear to stay the same for a long time, because change takes time.  But I'm also certain he's eager to redouble his efforts now and get on with it.

To make it really interesting (and who would ever accuse gays of *not* being interesting?) Lt. Dan Choi met with Mr. Barron this week to discuss attending CPAC himself.  Twitter was alit with folks on both sides of the aisle attempting to convince Dan to go, and the other side attempting to convince Dan to not go to CPAC.  I was one who was encouraging him to go to see for himself.  It seems that he has now decided he will, and in an interview with trusted radio host, Michelangelo Signorile, Lt. Dan Choi confirms he plans to attend CPAC with an open and independent mind, and committed to "reporting back."

So my concerns that the mainstream gay press was not covering the concerns of Mr. Barrons' offensive Tweet have been alleviated.  As always, the gay community "is on it."  Lt. Dan Choi and Michelagnelo engaged in a VERY candid and forthright conversation and had no problem confronting Mr. Barron's tweet head on.  I encourage you to take a listen to the interview. (less than 10 minutes).

After listening to it myself, I felt a great burden lift from my shoulders, and decided that provided we have no further ill considered comments from Chris R Barron, I am considering the "American Taliban" issue officially "over."  When I came to Twitter, it was with the intent of engaging in the power of the Internet to meet new people, and maybe promote my new CD and upcoming new book.  I had no idea it would lead to my participation (in whatever limited fashion) to this week's controversy regarding GOProud.  And I had no idea that people I had never met (but always admired) would be the very people who would help me "get over it."

One of those people was Kirstie Alley, who tweeted
Even if you've screwed something up can make up the damage and continue on. Forgiveness is an art form. Let's paint with it.


And who of us HAVEN'T royally screwed up from time to time?  I think what Chris R Barron said was a royal screw up.  But I also have come to realize that my point has been made.  I have been heard.  The gay community is not turning a blind eye to the incident.  That's all I ever hoped for, and life (I must say) is good.

So now what?

Well, at the risk of appearing like I'm flip flopping or being paid off by GOProud, I'm going to go out on a limb and say to the entire gay community: 


That doesn't necessarily mean give them money (though I'm sure they could use it), but it does mean that I encourage all of us to think of GOProud as something new "FOR" the gay community, and not a new enemy "AGAINST" the gay community.  Are gay conservatives an oxymoron to most of us?  Of course!  Does that mean they don't (or shouldn't) exist in a free democracy?  ABSOLUTELY NOT!   I'm a socially liberal, fiscally conservative gay Democrat AND a Christian waiting to engage in sexual expression until after I can get legally married.  So I understand oxymoron!  :)

However, having said that, let me go on to add that conversely, that also doesn't mean that GOProud should attempt to set itself apart by pointing to their differences with the gay left, but rather stand on their own, show their OWN colors, and demonstrate how they are different....simply by being them, and by being true to their ideals....WITHOUT the vitriol and assumption-laced rants and articles regarding the gay left that assume we hate the fact that "a few gay people have wondered off the liberal plantation......" mmmmmkay?

It works both ways.  As with many things in life where conflict exists, good things can often emerge from it.  As far as I'm concerned this issue with GOProud is behind us.  We have had it out, made our voices heard and given us ALL something to think about.  But honestly, with only 6 days left until GOProud goes to CPAC, they hardly need the distractions being caused by the current discussion.  Executive Director, Jimmy LaSalvia and Chairman Barron need to be rested up, fired up, (and yes,) MANNED UP to make their participation in CPAC the success they envision it to be....just not at the expense of the gay community....and I think they realize that now more than ever.

I think we can all agree that there are plenty of Democrat-led policy issues and legislation that needs to be carefully examined, and perhaps re-examined, to ensure that they are policies that are good for America, not the least of which is health care.  As a gay man with HIV, I can tell you that health care is an important issue to most gay folks for a variety of reasons, regardless of our political affiliations.  Even President Obama acknowledged that there were flaws that could be improved upon during his State of the Union Address.  One of the strongest platforms of the Republican and (dare I say it?) --even the Tea Party-- has been lower and fairer taxes for all Americans, and more accountability, transparency and legitimacy when it comes to collecting money from hard working Americans to fund an obviously bloated Federal government.  These are issues that ALL gay Americans can agree on because we are all Americans first, gay second.

GOProud champions these issues.  They are enough to keep them busy for the next 2 years at least.  And honestly, if ALL politicos from both sides of the aisle would spend more time focusing on the reasons they stand on the side of the aisle they do in the first place, it seems to me they would have less time to devote to explaining why they aren't on the other side, which sadly, is how the political conversations seem to be going at the moment in America.

I look forward to GOProud moving beyond this week's controversy, and I look forward to Lt. Dan Choi reporting on his experience at CPAC as an objective observer.  And I look forward to doing what I can to ensure that the gay community does not become divided over politics just because the vast majority of Americans are.  We come in EVERY shade of the Rainbow.  Granted, right now most of us are blue.  But there would be no rainbow without the Red....and let's not forget the Green....and the Lavender! (right, ladies?)

I close by encouraging all gay people to put aside our differences and encouraging GOProud to join us as allies.  The gay left is not the enemy.  Failed economic policies and faulty legislation (from BOTH parties) are.  At the end of the day, I think we can all agree that if it had not been for the advances of Equality for gay Americans being championed by the Democratic party thus far, there is no way GOProud would ever have even been invited to participate in CPAC in the first place.   But now that they have been, let's not any of us forget where we came from.  Let us not be afraid to show our true colors.  And let us not be afraid to stand together where we can find common ground, and standing our ground when we cannot.  We are after all, Americans, and that's what Americans do.

Once again, I encourage us to take Kirstie Alley's words to heart:
Even if you've screwed something up can make up the damage and continue on. Forgiveness is an art form. Let's paint with it.
To Chris, (that is) To Chairman Barron, let me say directly that for now, I realize you don't need this distraction, and instead need to be focused on your mission and purpose for going to CPAC.  (Give 'em hell!)

I will be sending you emails from time to time to the GOProud website.  I hope you'll take my words therein to heart, even if you never publicly disclose them.  There are questions the gay community has about GOProud.  We have legitimate concerns over who funds, represents and backs GOProud. We need direct answers.  We need transparency.  We need to be acquainted with who GOProud's Board members and donors are, and we need to be assured that they are indeed our allies.  Most importantly, we need you to understand that anyone involved in GOProud must be willing to be held accountable for responsibly representing the gay community with their public statements.  Anything less will be confronted and addressed.  I think we all know that we all know that now....and that's a good thing!  But I have nothing to bring to your attention (at least at this point) that can't wait until AFTER you have attended CPAC.  After all, we have to keep our eye on the ball.

For now, I'm standing down so that I can stand behind you, Sir.  After all, you are my fellow American, and my Brother in the Worldwide Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community.   

May God bless the gay community,

May God bless GOPRoud,

And may God bless the United States of America

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"

1 comment:

  1. "waiting to engage in sexual expression until after I can get legally married"

    Such a sad statement that anyone feels the need to wait. Remember that day may never come in your lifetime! None of us know if we have another tomorrow. Live for today!