September 24, 2024

My two cents on outing of public officials

First, it was Republican Representative Ed Shrock. Now, it looks like Republican Representative from California David Dreier is the next closeted homo to be wrenched out of his hypocritical closet, half dressed, without his makeup. Of course, BlogActive was the first to break the story, and unlike the Schrock case this one has gained traction. Not only did liberal news blog Raw Story pick it up, but it was then in turn reported in the L.A. Weekly.

Some people out there take issue with the outing of public officials. So let me just erase any moral ambiguities that might be cobwebbing up your brains. If you have been elected by the people to legislate on their behalf, and you choose to become involved in supporting legislation that targets the very personal structures of peoples' lives, and that legislation seeks to reconstruct or limit behaviors or penalize or fail to protect peoples' private lifestyle choices, AND YOU YOURSELF ENJOY THE LIFESTYLE WHICH THE POLICY ATTACKS, THEN YOUR HYPOCRISY DESERVES TO BE EXPOSED, AND YOU DESERVE A RED HOT POKER UP YOUR ASS. There is scant claim to privacy of a policy maker here when that policy maker is legislating the privacy of his constituency.

Consider David Dreier. Much has been made about the evidence as to his sexuality, which, let's face it, is of the 'where there's smoke' kind. Accoring to the author of the L.A. Weekly article, part of the evidence includes a Member of Congress who has observed Dreier in gay behavior and is 100% "sure,"...that Dreier is gay. Ummm, "gay behavior"? What the fuck is that? According to Wonkette,

Dreier represents a very conservative district, and has repeatedly taken anti-gay positions -- and not just your standard Federal Marriage Amendment-type stuff. According to the Weekly, he even voted against "the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program designed to give shelter to the impoverished sick, and against funding for the federal ADAP program that furnishes the poor with the AIDS meds they need to stay alive."

Motherfucker, like most Republicans, has no decency, and on top of that, obviously identifies most with the elite bastions of white male privilege and power than with other gays and lesbians who, without access to those bastions, find it difficult to carve out a life for themselves. [As an aside, this raises interesting questions about identification that would be more pertinent if policy that affected lives hung in the balance. For example, what is at work when homosexuals do not identify as gay? Or consider other aspects of their character to be more important?]

BlogActive has a new target, the Director and Chief Financial Officer of the Republican National Committee. This is a bit of a gray area. Sure, the RNC has an anti-gay platform, but the CFO really doesn't have a say in that. Personal morals might compel a gay man to quit the RNC (like they might compel a gay person to identify with a party that better supports gay rights), but it certainly wouldn't have any affect on the RNC's platform in general, just like 'outing' every single gay Republican would have little effect on the party. Plus, I bet the job pays a shitload of money, and that's important to some. In the end, I'd have to say that outing this guy isn't the right thing to do. I'd most likely puke on him if we ever met, but publicly outing him doesn't really serve a purpose.

Here ends the lesson of the day.

Posted by jason at 12:30 PM | Comments (2)

September 22, 2024

Grandma's House

Grandma died about eight years ago, and now the dilapitated house she lived in for fifty years or so is being torn down. The house sits on my parents' property, just across the driveway. My mom and brother have stripped it out, leaving just the roughly-hewn planks that formed its frame. The volunteer fire department will be by at some point to burn it down in a training exercise. It was basically falling apart.

When I was growing up, the house was wrapped in white siding, with purple clematis growing up the front, almost covering the big kitchen window by August. Grandma and I had tea parties out on the stoop when I was a little kid. She made the best vegetable soups, boiled dinners, baked apples, and Christmas cookies. She had a back room that was moldy and musty and filled with Harlequin romance novels and toadstools. In her kitchen was a placard that said "food should be cooked with butter and love," which was one of the first things I was able to read. She had lived a long life, a controversial life. Her first husband was a hard-drinking steam shovel operator up the shore, and Grandma spent the weeks he was away up in Silver Bay or Beaver Bay cavorting with men in Duluth. Many of her children (before my mom, the youngest, was born) spent parts of their childhoods in orphanages. She had a second husband, and something about that percipitated my mom and my grandma escaping to Madison, to work for rich sororities. Eventually, she returned to the little white house and the mossy yard cut precariously out of the woods.

By the time I came around, she was white and small, plump and gentle. She let me win at card games, gave me back rubs and told me stories about black bears and seeing Tarzan for a nickel back in the teens. She wore this white sweater I used to love picking the fuzz balls off of. Her house always smelled of old lady powder. Her long, wide davenport always smelled faintly of mold. She grew up in Northern Wisconsin. Her parents had immigrated from Quebec, and spoke French around her, though she was forbidden from learning it. She was a staunch Quebec separatist.

She taught me how to stay. Operations, a colostomy, then reversed, years in a wheelchair into her 90s, still in that house, still on her own. Old Christmas candies preserved like amber in crystal orbs. Playing solitaire into the wee hours of the morning, unable to sleep. Subsisting on simple pleasures like trick-or-treaters, Christmas carolers, butter brickle ice cream.

She died at the age of 96, when I was 18, in 1997. I had just graduated from highschool. She was wearing a pink blouse when the last photo of us together was taken. The house remained empty for years. My mom and my sister, both superstitious, were convinced that they could feel her presence in that house. Now it's been stripped, the holes and bare boards look profane. The house has become a cadaver. It's almost as though an injustice is being done to the psychic afterimage of her presence. How can you separate one from the other? Both require it's match. Removing her from the house undermined its foundations, and it sunk into the ground. Removing it from the earth frightens me, as though in doing so the last traces of her are also erased.

I took some photos of what's left, trying in vain to preserve the final fragments.

Posted by jason at 07:29 AM | Comments (1)