mad in pursuit journal

DISPATCHED FROM THE CROSSROADS, AT THE intersection OF politics & subculture

Gay Republicans (Things That Make You Go "Huh?")

Watching: "Angels In America" in which Al Pacino place the infamous Roy Cohn, a right-wing Washington-New York power broker, who slept with men but denied he was gay and who denied he had AIDS but managed to get copious supplies of scarce AZT.

Observing: Gay Congressional staffers coming forward to testify about the Mark Foley scandal. Noting the irony of gay men working overtime for lawmakers hellbent on denying gay rights and snuggling up to religious leaders who preach damnation for homosexuality.

On the one hand, I get it that being gay shouldn't dictate your politics. Andrew Sullivan is a fine example of a religious man who believes in small government and fiscal conservatism. A classic Goldwater Republican might think they will "work from within" around the whole tolerance thing.

Others have suggested that being Republican is a form of being straight, an antidote against an uncomfortable self-image. Self-loathing gays? Maybe.

Watching the Roy Cohn character in "Angels" provides some insight. Cohn himself said: "I don't want to know what the law is, I want to know who the judge is." The corridors of power are linked through networks of people. Affinity groups. "I'll do you a favor because you're... my kind of guy... We understand personal loyalty that goes beyond formal organization..." Gay Republicans. Irish Catholics. Harvard graduates. Sports fans. Gamblers. For decades Rochester power networks were dominated by men who went to the same Catholic high school. I suspect that the more covert the alliance, the stronger the network — a gay Republican on Capitol Hill understands loyalty. "The code" is undoubtedly very clear (which may be why gays were the only ones raising the alarm about Mark Foley, though they all kept it within the bounds of party loyalty).

I'm saying "guy" because I think this is a phenomenon that a lot of women don't get. Hence, the glass ceiling. Odd, because women are naturally communal, but we also get obsessed with fairness. In general, women are about passing on mainstream societal norms to children — they are less about subcultures. Tell me if I'm wrong.

Anyway, I go back to my assertion that men are insecure creatures, yet must look strong, competitive, independent. They can't talk about "their issues." They can't reveal themselves. They simply rise to power in the slipstream of their natural affinity group, understanding that loyalty is mostly about keeping your mouth shut and giving a promotion to someone just like yourself.

10.29.06

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