Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It’s His Choice

Several blogs are reporting that John McCain’s chief of staff, Mark Buse, is gay. That has raised some howls on both sides of the issue; some see it as a sell-out by a gay man to the party and political philosophy that as a matter of record seeks to oppress him, and on the other side, an “odious leftist character assassination” by “gutter trash.”

Frankly, I don’t think it’s a big deal — or a scandal — that there are gay staffers on Capitol Hill. If my anecdotal knowledge means anything, it would be an event if there weren’t gays and lesbians working in the offices of Democrats and Republicans, and have been for time out of mind. The ironic fact that Mr. Buse works for a senator and a presidential candidate who has voted against equal rights for gays and lesbians over the years and who selected a vice presidential running mate who is a member of a church that actively works to “convert” gays and lesbians to heterosexuality makes it interesting news, but then again, there are a lot of gays and lesbians who don’t see their lives and their political leanings through the lens of their sexual orientation or what the Republican party has done to keep them from attaining the full rights and responsibilities that they are owed by the simple fact that they are citizens of the United States. That is their choice. I disagree with it vehemently, but that’s my choice, too.

Mr. Buse may not view his sexual orientation as the guiding force in his life, which, in the abstract, is the way it should be. Being gay isn’t the most important aspect of my life, and I have attacked the gay-bashers time and time again for their obsession with rooting out those who promote the “radical homosexual agenda” where there is none, unless you count living your life as a citizen with all the rights and responsibilities — including marriage to the one you love — as being the core of the agenda. If so, then guilty as charged. I have other priorities in my life that transcend my being gay. However, supporting political candidates who have actively worked against my interests is not one of them, regardless of how I may feel about them personally, even if our friendship goes back before the time they were in office or ran for president. I also have had to work with and work for men and women who have been, shall we say, uneducated in their understanding of what being gay is all about. I have tried, with some success, to show them by my work and my everyday interaction that being gay is no different than being anything else that sets one person apart from another, whether it’s racial or being left-handed. I’ll give Mr. Buse the benefit of the doubt and let him live his life as he sees fit; after all, he’s the one who has to live with it.

As for the right-wing screeching,

So puerile and childish, the aim is to destroy a man just because he works for John McCain…

The assumption is that being gay is something to be ashamed of and that the outing of Mr. Buse is “vicious.” To the JammieWearingFool, perhaps, but as far as I’m concerned, there’s no shame in being gay, so how is this character assassination? Well, to a wingnut, being gay is tantamount to devil worship, so it seems that Mr. Buse has a lot more to worry about from his friends on the right than he does from anyone else. They’re the ones who are humiliating Mr. Buse, not us.