Reasonably Ascertainable Reality

Thoughts and musings on current events and other random occurrences.

Location: South Jersey, United States

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Being forced out of the closet

I'll go on record, not that its a big leap for me, as being against the forceable outing of gays, either in public or private life. Whether Senator Larry Craig is gay is his own business. Its wrong, and many people on the blogosphere, right and left, are rightly condemning it.

However, as Glenn Greenwald notes in a devastating post, the Republicans lost their right to outrage a long, long time ago. Private sexual activities have no place in the public arena, and they didn't 10 years ago either.

Environmental Republican also thinks its a disgusting tactic and notes how the 'donks will do anything to win seats in this election'. Ah, one blogger equals the whole Democratic Party. Pretty impressive for a blogger I've never heard of, but ok. Of course, the demonization of gays by the entire Christian right wing (Dobson, Perkins etc), that doesn't reflect on the Republican party they vote and campaign for though right? Republicans are the 'big tent' party, the party of inclusion. Yeah, except when it can get them votes.


Blogger Dave Justus said...

When the response of pretty much every democrat I have seen is, at best, yes this is wrong but Republicans are worse so it is ok, as this post pretty much does, it becomes more easy to accept the notion that 'donks will do anything to win an election.

3:57 PM  
Blogger Katinula said...

my point isn't republicans are worse, its that republicans do it and then condemn others who it as well. You can't condemn behavior in others that you yourself use.
Still don't understand how one blogger = 'donks', but then again, that never matters. An obscure commentator at Daily Kos = 'donks' so at least this person has their own blog.

10:17 PM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

It is just as inaccurate to say that Republicans do this as it is to day 'Donks' do this.

Some Republicans do this. Some Republicans don't. Some Republicans condemn it, some don't. At the worst, you could claim that individual Republicans who engage in this sort of behavior are hypocritical if they also condemn it. Of course some cases may be different.

For example, I unreservedly condemn outing Larry Craig. However, I don't condemn 'outing' Foley after his inappropriate behavior. Some of the things with Clinton can fall into that second category as well. Legal and consensual activities should certainly be kept private. Illegal or nonconsensual ones don't deserve that veil.

9:00 AM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

As an aside, you blog was much more interesting when it contained more than what Glenn Greenwald thought about something.

9:01 AM  
Blogger Katinula said...

I wasn't aware that Mark Foley was "outed". Didnt he himself admit to being gay before someone else revealed it?
Its funny how you criticize me for "all republicans do that" or "all donks do this" when you said it was easier to believe "all donks do this". If you disagree with the notion that the Republican party platform demonizes gays, thats one thing, however as a party, in their platform, I believe they do. I believe they use people's bias towards gays in order to get votes, on a party wide platform. There are a few that are outspoken who disagree with this (Guiliana for example) however for the most part, they either actively participate or quietly accept the votes. I'm not saying Dem's don't do the same thing with different interest groups/demographics, but my point is, when you demonize others as a party, denigrate and criticize others behavior, and you turn out to be doing what you are criticizing, someone is going to call you on it. That is not a defense. I don't think anything (sexual orientation, religion, etc) personal should be brought into it, but when you do, don't criticize others for doing the same.
As an aside, Glenn Greenwald, and for that matter Andrew Sullivan, are, for the time being, my most widely read blogs that I read several times a day. Why? Because the most important issues for me at this time are tremendous power grab of the executive branch and the torture/detention/interrogation/intelligence issues in this country. Both of those blogs post on these topics if once, if not many, times a day. Thats why you are seeing them both so often. I think both of their sites, and others of course, are fair minded in representing the views of the other side and also have helped enlighten my views and steadied my doubts on those issues. I guess i could post everday from a different example of what 'rethugs will do just to get votes', but I personally am not interested and don't really think it matters much.

8:42 PM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

The first time I ever heard about Foley was in connection to this scandal, my understanding is that his being gay, while widely known by insiders, wasn't publicised. Regardless, I think you can see my point on that.

I think that there is a difference in an argument that says 'all of x does this' than an argument that says 'this common behavior makes it easier to believe that all of x does this.'

Demonizes gays is a pretty strong word. Does opposition to gay marriage equal demonizing gays? I don't think so. If it does, the both parties have done that. Recall that John Kerry and George Bush had identical views on that subject in 2004. A lot of people doubted Kerry's sincerity in what he was saying I think, but that is worse in my opinion, rather than better.

Gays want changes in how our society percieves and deals with them. I support most of those changes, although not all of the tactics used to achieve them. Conservatives, by definition, are suspicious of change and don't want to do it to fast. I don't know that that makes them anti-gay, precisely, although obviously there is disagreement on the political issues here.

Granted, there is a substantial minority of Republicans who are simply bigots.

Still, I would probably accept that any gay republican who argued for say, making gay sex a crime, is a hypocrit, and outing that person would have direct relevance. I do think though that a person can be gay, but still think that gay marriage is not particularly important, or that hate crime legislation is a bad idea and not be a hipocrit.

Character does matter, and hipocracy can speak to that character. Hippocracy though is a charge that is often thrown around without any real backup, usually with false analogies. For example, you are against hate crimes legislation, therefore you want to demonize gays and since you are gay yourself you are a self-hating gay. That doesn't necessarily track.

More to the point though, I don't think that the 'outing' campaign is designed to expose hippocracy. I think it is designed to use anti-gay feeling that do amoung some in the Republican party as a means of hurting Republicans and promoting Democrat chances. It is a means of using people bias to win political power.

If, in the process, they actually cause more anti-gay bias, as, it seems to me, they are likely to do, it is an acceptable trade off it seems. In particular, an outing campaign at the time of the Foley scandal seems designed to feed the pernicious myth that all gays are pedophiles. That is a dangerous bias to stir up and add too.

There is precious little condemnation of this on the left. Most, like you and Greenwald seem focused on explaining why this tactic isn't so bad (or in other cases actually advocating it), rather than explaining why it shouldn't be done.

11:33 AM  
Blogger Katinula said...

First of all, Foley being gay wasn't public knowledge, but when this scandal came about, he admitted he was. He was not outed. Second, neither myself, or Greenwald as far as I can tell, ever said "outing" wasn't that bad or anything like that. The simple point is that when the GOP condenms a tactic they themselves use with vigor, it rings hollow and their outrage isn't about outing, its about having their tactics turned against them. Lastly, I don't think 'demonize' is too strong a word at all. There are measures on the ballot in states like VA that are not only anti-gay marriage but include provisions striking any right from gay couples. Yes, I think that is demonizing a part of society. and I think it is used very strategically to gain votes for the GOP. Its no suprise that the GOP doesn't advance those ballot initiatives in more liberal states. If you think 'demonize' is too harsh a word, you aren't listening to people in the Republican party who are in power. I by no means extend that to all republicans, but as a party, yes, I'm sorry, they demonize gays.

10:45 PM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

Focusing on how bad the Republicans are, by saying that their outrage is hippocracy takes away from any condemnation you may express at this tactic.

I don't see how you can't see that. Obviously, the outing is less outragoues to you than the hippocracy. If that is how you feel, fine, but people will judge you on that.

I am aware of the vote in VA. I am unaware what rigths are being taken away from gays. Perhaps you could elaborate on that.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Katinula said...

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. Because I don't see how pointing out hypocrisy makes any statement at all regarding the tactic. "A" is bad. "B" is bad as well. Me saying "B" is bad does not make my opinion on "A" any less relavent.
For more on the VA initiative, see Here:

"The portion of the Virginia amendment in question states: "This Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance or effects of marriage. Nor shall this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions create or recognize another union, partnership or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage."

4:58 PM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

Other than the 'right to Marriage' which is hardly a defined right, what right is being taken away?

I certainly disagree with the VA law, and I would vote against it, but it isn't exactly saying round up the gays and put them in concentration camps either.

8:44 AM  
Blogger Katinula said...

No, what its saying is that not only can gay couples not marry, they can not have any other partnership which confers upon them the rights of marriages. It bars civil unions, domestic partnerships, any and all attempts by these couples to have legal rights that heterosexual couples enjoy. So its not just saying 'no marriage'. Its saying "no rights at all".

3:17 PM  

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