Monday, June 6, 2005

Pitts Goes West

Leonard Pitts, Jr. gets in a few good swats at Spokane Mayor Jim West:

West, who in the privacy of the gay chat room referred to social conservatives as “sex Nazis,” seemed at pains to burnish his conservative bona fides. “I’m not a closet liberal pretending to be a conservative,” he insisted. “I’m a conservative. And what’s wrong with somebody who has what’s called an alternative lifestyle or an alternative sexual orientation being a conservative?”

Well, golly.

Me, I’ve always thought being a gay social conservative was not unlike being a black Klansman. Even if you could get away with it, why in the world would you want to?

I’m sure Mary Cheney is holding on Line 2, but the point stands. It eludes me how anyone can support a political philosophy that is defined in large part by its open hostility toward people like oneself.

I suspect West belongs to that school of conservative thought which holds that being gay isn’t the problem; “flaunting” it is. The reasoning, such as it is, always breaks down when you try to get them to define “flaunting.” Does it mean the flamboyant character Jack from Will and Grace, whose gayness is evident at 50 paces? Or does it mean, well . . . Will from Will and Grace, whose sexuality you don’t know until or unless you first get to know him?

Trick question. Social conservatives draw no such distinction. For them, even a modest indication of gayness is a nuclear attack upon “family values.” When they say “flaunting,” what they really mean is “existing.”


Maybe now some of us will stop pretending the conservative-approved model of being gay makes any sense. I mean, granted, West didn’t flaunt his sexuality. But his hypocrisy is something else entirely.

Perhaps if society didn’t place such a stigma on being gay in the first place we wouldn’t have to suffer the insufferables like Mayor West. But then, who would the bigots have to pick on?