Monday, November 5, 2007

When All Else Fails…

The Kentucky governor’s race ends tomorrow with incumbent Republican Ernie Fletcher behind Democrat Steve Beshear by double digits, so desperation has set in to the point that Pat Boone, the squeaky-clean 1950’s crooner and evangelical Christian, has recorded a robo-call to the electorate warning against — wait for it — gays taking over Kentucky if scandal-plagued Fletcher isn’t re-elected.

Down to the last two days before voting booths open, Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher urged supporters to disregard polls that show him behind, while his running mate referred to the Democratic candidates as “San Francisco treats.”

Several Republicans — including the entertainer, Pat Boone — criticized Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Beshear and his running mate Daniel Mongiardo this weekend for being endorsed of the Committee for Fairness and Individual Rights, a group that advocates equal treatment of gays and lesbians.

Boone, the singer and descendent of Daniel Boone, recorded a phone message for the Kentucky Republican Party that asked voters whether they “want a governor who’d like Kentucky to be another San Francisco.” Those calls went out to tens of thousands of homes Friday.

Then, last night, Fletcher’s lieutenant governor candidate Robbie Rudolph echoed that to a crowd of more than 200 GOP faithful in Lexington. “Do you want a couple of San Francisco treats or do you want a governor?” he asked.

Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, called it Rudolph’s “Rice-a-Roni speech” — referring to its famous jingle.

Beshear’s campaign dismissed it as a last minute ploy “to divert voter attention from the issues of honesty and integrity in state government.”

“Apparently the Fletcher camp has hit the panic button,” said Vicki Glass.

In a way it’s kind of flattering to be a part of a group that can hold such power over the electorate that the mere suggestion that voting for a candidate will empower us to determine how things will get done by the new governor of Kentucky. I’m guessing that the number of gay people in Kentucky is probably the same number proportionally as it is everywhere else in the country — roughly ten percent of the population — yet we have such power. Wow.

You would think, however, if we really had that much power, then issues that are really important to us, such as equality in health benefits, inheritance, property ownership, adoption, and freedom from discrimination in employment or accomodation — you can still get fired for being gay and landlords can refuse to rent to same-sex couples — would all be relics of the past. But they’re not, and the fact that the gay community is still fair game for discrimination and fearmongering shows that true equality and fair play awaits us.

I also think the Republicans in Kentucky flatter themselves when they get freaked out that the state will be overrun by the LGBT community. I’ve been to Kentucky many times, it’s a beautiful state in a lot of places, and there are a lot of nice people there as well, but when you think of places that could be the next Gaytopia, the Bluegrass State doesn’t immediately spring to mind. Besides, even if we did all move there, all we’d be looking for is a nice place to live and work and just go about our lives like everybody else, just like they do in Lexington, Louisville, Harlan, Henderson, Frankfort, Paducah, and San Francisco.

(HT to TPM.)