Tag Archives: conservatism

Best Quote of the Week – May 8, 2020

A first edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” that was auctioned in 2013. The Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District in Alaska removed the book and others because of sexual references and other language that the district viewed as inappropriate for teenage readers.

“Of course it can. All great literature makes us uncomfortable, because it addresses what makes us fully human. That includes our worst traits, like hatred of those who are different from us. So if your goal is to shield kids from discomfort, you’re going to have to censor a lot of really good books.”

Jonathan Zimmerman, education and history professor at the University of Pennsylvania, on the ubiquitous hypocrisy of liberals who want to ban books using racial slurs from grade and high school curriculums, yet remain silent about the banishment of other books by equally well-known authors with equally controversial subjects and verbiage.

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Truth Amid the Obstruction


No time is right for a health pandemic, but COVID-19 couldn’t have arisen at a more inconvenient period for Americans: at the start of the 2020 presidential election race.  Things had been proceeding somewhat normally until March, when concerns about the “novel coronavirus” began altering the social landscape.  When I saw that this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo had been postponed – possibly to next year – I knew our world had been capsized by this invisible biological menace.  Viruses, like facts, always have a way of sneaking into our lives and making us rethink everything we’ve ever learned.  Facts, however, are good things.  But, while a crisis of any kind can bring out the best humanity has to offer, it can also bring out the worst.

Right now political conservatives in the U.S. are trying to finagle the COVID-19 miasma into an obstructionist nightmare for the voting populace.  Last week thousands of voters in Wisconsin were forced to leave their homes and venture out to designated polling places to cast their votes for a candidate in the Democratic primary.  On April 6, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, refused to allow an extension of absentee voting in Wisconsin; thus, forcing the primary to go on as planned on April 7.  On April 2, a federal judge had ruled that absentee voting can be extended.  But unsurprisingly, the Republican National Committee appealed the ruling, which landed on the docket of the High Court.

In her dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote that “the court’s order, I fear, will result in massive disenfranchisement.”  She went on: “Because gathering at the polling place now poses dire health risks, an unprecedented number of Wisconsin voters – at the encouragement of public officials – have turned to voting absentee.  About one million more voters have requested absentee ballots in this election than in 2016.  Accommodating the surge of absentee ballot requests has heavily burdened election officials, resulting in a severe backlog of ballots requested but not promptly mailed to voters.”

Political conservatives don’t like it when people they consider insignificant actually have the audacity to practice their right to vote.  For a good part of American history, they’ve done just about everything they could – including intimidation and violence – to stifle voting rights; which, they’ve obviously forgotten, is one of the fundamentals of a democratic society.  The right to vote is clearly mentioned in the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution!  Then again, they may not necessarily forget about it, as they just ignore it.  And they always seem to skip over to focus attention on the 2nd Amendment, which addresses firearms.

Conservatives established and enforced such obstructionist tactics as “grandfather clauses”, literacy tests, and poll taxes.  Voting advocates had to fight for confidential voting.  Early feminists had to do the same to get the 19th Amendment ratified.  When President Lyndon Johnson signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act into law, he conceded that he and his fellow Democrats had probably handed the South to the Republican Party.  And he was right!  Slowly, but surely, over the ensuing decade, many White southerners began switching to the GOP.  A number of well-known U.S. politicians, such as Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms, also changed their allegiances to the Republican Party.

The election of Barack Obama solidified in the minds of many conservatives the horrors of expanded voting.  They then launched a number of efforts – both at the national and state levels – to ensure that would never happen again.  A slew of voter identification rules were suddenly enacted.

The COVID-19 scourge has prompted calls across the nation for expanded absentee voting, such as mail-ins, which has been rebuffed by conservatives who holler voter fraud could result.  This week Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton opined that fear of catching the virus does not qualify voters to vote by mail

But State Judge Tim Sulak ruled that Texans afraid of catching COVID-19 should be allowed to vote by mail during the pandemic, using the state’s disability clause in the state’s election code, and said he will issue a temporary injunction.  The Texas Democratic Party and several had filed a lawsuit over concerns that voters in this July’s elections, including the primary runoffs, could come in contact with infected people when voting in person.

“Based on the plain language of the relevant statutory text, fear of contracting COVID-19 unaccompanied by a qualifying sickness or physical condition does not constitute a disability under the Election Code,” Deputy Attorney General Ryan M. Vassar wrote in a letter to Fort Worth State Rep. Stephanie Klick, a fellow Republican.

And, of course, Paxton was “disappointed” that Sulak had “ignored the plain text of the Texas election code to allow perfectly healthy voters to take advantage of special protections made available to Texans with actual illness or disabilities.”

The voter fraud claim is the default mantra of right-wing politicians every time they enact legislation that impacts the voting process.  Texas Republicans have long opposed the expansion of mail-in voting.  In 2017 the GOP-dominated state legislature stiffened penalties for election fraud.

“Our state is better off when more Texans participate in our democracy,” said Gilberto Hinojosa, chair of the Texas Democratic Party.  “Voting by mail is safe, secure and accessible.  It allows more voters to participate in our democracy, and it’s a common sense way to run an election, especially during a public health crisis.”

Like the Texas Innocence Project, you know the Texas Democratic Party has their work cut out for them!

Currently, residents over age 65, military members, those who will be away from their residence during voting and people with disabilities can request mail-in ballots.  Democrats argue that a disability, defined as a “sickness or physical condition that prevents the voter from appearing at the polling place on election day without a likelihood of needing personal assistance or of injuring voters’ health,” covers all Texas voters under the age of 65, including those who are afraid to catch the COVID-19 virus.

In his letter to Klick, Vassar naturally disagreed, stating that fears of catching the virus is neither a sickness nor a physical condition, but an emotional reaction to the pandemic is not “sufficient to meet the definition of disability”.

It’s ironic that Vassar regards concerns of contracting COVID-19 as emotional.  Throughout Obama’s presidency, conservatives screamed that his administration would ban all firearms, abandon Israel, and force churches to conduct same-sex weddings.  None of that happened.  It never has and most likely it never will.  Yet, liberals are always justifiably concerned that voter suppression is a real possibility when conservatives are elected to office.  Justifiably concerned because many state legislatures, such as Texas, actually have moved to enact legislation to combat the ubiquitous pandemic of voter fraud.

During Black civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s, news cameras captured horrific scenes of police physically assaulting individuals or using water hoses to attack groups of African-Americans.  I’ve seen some of that footage – startling black-and-white images of mostly peaceful citizens wanting to vote or be able to enter a restaurant and have a meal.  We don’t see that now.  Instead, we see elected officials use the power of their position to suppress voting.  Firearms have metamorphosed into pens – but they pose no less of a risk.

While I have my own doubts about the effectiveness of the voting process – the fraud-ridden elections of George W. Bush and Donald Trump being the most recent examples – people in any truly democratic society have the right to cast a ballot.  And eventually, the obstructionist tactics of those elected (not ordained) politicians will reveal the truth behind their dubious motives.

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Worst Quote of the Week – March 20, 2020

“They’ve redefined family for the first time in a federal – in a piece of federal legislation, to include committed relationships.  The problem with that is it’s really hard to define a committed relationship, and it’s really hard to define anything related to that.”

Rep. Andy Biggs, on a radio program produced by the conservative Christian group Family Research Council.

Biggs was one of 40 lawmakers who voted against the coronavirus stimulus bill, said he did so in part because the legislation included paid sick leave benefits for domestic partnerships.

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Worst Quote of the Week – March 13, 2020

“The Left is doing everything they can to blow COVID-19 and the fluctuating economy out of proportion.”

– Right-wing political activist Ed Martin, in an email earlier this week to his followers on why he believes the COVID-19 fiasco is having such a negative effect on the U.S. economy.

An attorney and politician from Missouri, Martin now runs the Phyllis Schlafly Eagles, a group founded by the late Phyllis Schlafly in 1972 in response to the then-growing women’s and gay rights movements.

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Still Can’t Get into the Dance!

“I checked my watch. Yep, it was 2020. We were supposed to have flying cars by now. Instead, gay Republicans can’t even get a booth at their own convention.”

Marco Roberts, secretary of the Texas Log Cabin Republicans, lamenting how the Texas Republican Party has – once again – refused to grant the Texas LCR (an openly GLBT group) a booth at this year’s state convention.

Damnit!  They paid for their tickets, but they still can’t get in through those steel doors!  They wear the red, white and blue; display their guns; mock affirmative action; and say they hate immigrants.  But, the ballroom guards just won’t let them get beyond the entrance threshold.  What’s a queer Republican have to do to get noticed in the state of Texas?

Apparently, nothing.  Once again, the Texas GOP has locked out their smidgen of homosexual brethren; refusing to acknowledge they even exist, much less grant them any speaking privileges.  As the Texas Republican Party continues along its rightward path, that’s not surprising.  Recently they rejected – yet again – the Log Cabin Republicans’ request for a booth at the state convention, denouncing the group as “perverted”.  LCR is a political organization that advocates equality for the queer community; essentially a political home for conservative gays and lesbians.  They admire Ronald Reagan and oppose the usual “liberal agenda”: big government, taxes, affirmative action, abortion, Mexicans, Muslims and Bill Clinton.  One aspect of the liberal agenda they can’t bring themselves to oppose is…well, themselves!  Homos, queers, fags, dikes…you know – perverted folks.  It’s the oddest of all symbiotic relationships.  From the national level on down, the Republican Party has not hidden its animosity towards the queer community.  They despise homosexuals more than agnostics and uppity (meaning educated) Latinos and Negroes.

Conservative queers often mirror the general conservative population: mostly White and male.  I’ve known a few conservative queers – emphasis on “few”.  Literally just one woman and a handful of men.  Queer conservatives are a little like snow leopards – rare and practically endangered.  The major difference of course is that snow leopards are stunningly beautiful and more deserving of their niche in the world.

Two queer conservatives I knew had been good friends of mine nearly 20 years ago.  One was Jewish and a native Texan; the other was Native American from Arkansas and an Army veteran with cheek bones high enough to set Jell-O shots.  Together they owned a chain of men’s clothing stores throughout Texas and were, therefore, staunchly pro-business.  They eagerly supported Republican Party ideology of low business taxes and few regulations.  They didn’t care very much about the environment and – more astonishingly – they didn’t worry how fellow conservatives viewed them.  The Jewish guy literally told me that one day!  “I don’t really care how they look at me,” he stated nonchalantly.  He and his partner were more concerned about the overall welfare of the nation; they stood alongside the party’s general message without hesitation or regret.  Their business acumen was so intense that the Jewish guy once dismissed my unemployment status around 2002 in that “you only represent about 6% of the population.”  In an interview with the “Dallas Voice” several years later, the Jewish guy openly declared his opposition to diversity in the workplace; admitting he believed businesses should have the right NOT to hire people of a certain race, ethnicity or religion simply because they didn’t like the people within that group.  I noticed he didn’t include sexuality in that group of undesirables.  I remember thinking, ‘How could someone hate themselves THAT much?’

Indeed, how could anyone with at least half a brain and some semblance of a conscious willingly accept the bigoted philosophy of others among them?  Of course, some Republicans didn’t mind if queers loiter among them; as long as they kept quiet and vocalize their support for the party’s agenda.  After all, there were some Native Americans in the ranks of the U.S. Army and Jews among the Nazi guard.  My two aforementioned friends noted change often comes from within.   But, I realized after listening to them, so does support.

Among the many items on the Texas GOP agenda, one in particular has gained national notoriety: support of “reparative therapy” for gays and lesbians.  Reparative or conversion therapy is a concerted psychological attempt to change someone’s sexuality from homosexual to heterosexual.  (There’s no such thing as reverse therapy, unless you count visiting a gay bar.)   Doctors, clerics and various others have tried to “cure” queer people of their “affliction” for centuries, usually through religious means.  But, in its present form, conversion therapy has existed since the 1960s.  Early attempts often used electroshock therapy; the same kind previously used on the mentally ill.  And, of course, queer folks have always been considered mentally ill by many in both the general population and the medical community.  Some in both camps still hold that assessment.  But, contemporary reparative therapy is generally more psychological in its approach, with a good dose of theological rigor thrown into the cocktail.

Response to the inclusion of conversion therapy has been met with the usual vitriol from gay rights groups and medical professionals.  No concrete proof exists that such methods actually succeed, even though there are plenty of people willing to testify otherwise.  If anything, the process can be deadly.  People who undergo such treatments usually don’t notice a change in their same-gender attractions and – feeling like utter failures – sometimes hurt themselves, often fatally.  I don’t think it bothers the likes of Texas Governor Greg Abbott or Senator Ted Cruz that a depressed queer kills themselves.  To them, that’s one less degenerate off the streets.

That the Texas GOP should include this mess in their agenda shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with the party, or with the antagonism queer folks feel when confronted by them.  But, what of gay Republicans?  How exactly do they regard this mess?  Well, for starters, Log Cain Republicans has officially denounced the reparative therapy.  In that regard, they’re in line with the general queer community.

LCR’s battle with their Republican brethren in Texas is not new.  They’ve tried unsuccessfully to become part of the mainstream Republican dialogue.  In 1996, when Bob Dole ran for president on the Republican ticket, the national GOP created ruckus within its own ranks when it initially refused to accept a $1,000 donation from LCR.  Then, it changed course and asked LCR to resubmit the money, which LCR did.  But, responding to internal pressure, the GOP returned the donation.  After the very public squabble, LCR officially declared itself neutral in that year’s presidential campaign.  They damn well couldn’t support incumbent Bill Clinton.  That would – as one LCR official declared – “undermine our credibility.”  But, it still couldn’t bring itself to support Dole.  It was left holding that $1,000 check and its support, like a teenage boy left holding a pair of tickets and box of Trojans outside the prom venue.  And, it’s been that way ever since.

Change may come from within a particular group, but at what point do you finally get it that some folks within that group just won’t change?  Steven Hotze, the leader of an anti-LGBTQ religious organization and Republican kingmaker, sent emails to board members decrying the “immoral and perverted sexual proclivities” of gay people.

State Sen. Rob Hall (R) accused the group’s members of promoting “unnatural sex.”  Speaking of Log Cabin Republicans, he added, “They don’t have the basic belief in the God of the Bible that we are founded on.  I could not find anywhere on their website an expression of their faith in God like you will find on a Republican website.”

Not to be defeated or deterred, a representative from LCR tried to remake the vitriolic rhetoric by saying the number of people who spoke in support of accepting the group’s money to buy booth space was encouraging.  Relatively speaking, it was a huge win.

Yes, a win for the party at a state and even a national level.  But when will the queers in the trenches finally get it that they’re really not wanted?  When will they understand that, no matter how much they try, they still won’t be allowed into the dance hall?

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Tweet of the Week – February 7, 2020

“Suddenly, in the span of ten minutes on Sunday, they became concerned about the welfare of women and girls.  I wonder if they were thinking of women and girls three years ago when they voted for the guy who said, ‘I did try and fuck her.  She was married.  I moved on her very heavily.  I moved on her like a bitch.’”

John Pavlovitz, author and Christian pastor, regarding conservative uproar over the Superbowl half-time show by Jennifer Lopez and Shakira.

The right-wing hypocrisy over the performance is glaring.  Many of the people who condemned former President Bill Clinton for his sexual indiscretions have amazingly ignored the even more egregious actions of Donald Trump.  I follow Pavlovitz’s site, “Stuff That Needs to Be Said,” which has a definite liberal take on modern American life.

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Worst Quote of the Week – August 16, 2019

“What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled those people out that were products of rape and incest?  Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?  Considering all the wars and all the rapes and pillages taken place and whatever happened to culture after society?  I know I can’t certify that I’m not a part of a product of that.”

U.S. Congressman Steve King at the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale, Iowa, on August 14; defending his position of not allowing exceptions for rape and incest in anti-abortion legislation he tried to pass in Congress.

This is what happens when people attend a family reunion to meet their ideal mate.

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