Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Strange Bedfellows

Why is Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) co-writing an op ed for The Advocate? Sen. Coburn, who is also a physician, is arguably the most homophobic member of the Senate. He is trying to convince the LGBT community that “government-run” healthcare would be bad for the community. His reason is because he believes it would mean rationing of HIV treatments.

Like he cares. Dr. Coburn’s record on LGBT issues is very clear.

During his Senate campaign, for example, Coburn told voters, “The gay community has infiltrated the very centers of power in every area across this country, and they wield extreme power…. That agenda is the greatest threat to our freedom that we face today. Why do you think we see the rationalization for abortion and multiple sexual partners? That’s a gay agenda.”

Around the same time, Coburn said “rampant lesbianism” forced schools to change their bathroom policies in southeast Oklahoma. As he explained it, school officials will “only let one girl go to the bathroom” at a time. Coburn urged voters, “Think about that issue. How is it that that’s happened to us?”

And, of course, it was Coburn’s chief of staff who recently declared that all pornography to “homosexual pornography.” [sic]

No to minimize the HIV/AIDS issue, but there are a lot of other healthcare concerns that the LGBT community has beyond it, such as family healthcare — we do have families, you know; long-term care for the elderly — we’re not all young hunks; and just plain affordable healthcare — we don’t all have tons of disposable income. In other words, healthcare for the LGBT community is not a whole lot different than it is for everyone else.

So why would Dr. Coburn take an interest in the healthcare of a group of citizens he loathes? It’s pretty simple, actually, when you think about it. He, like a lot of evangelical Christians, has taken up an interest in AIDS in Africa. On the surface that’s a noble endeavor; the disease has been ravaging the continent. But it’s also tied with the evangelical missionary concept; get AIDS treatment to people in Africa and at the same time do a lot of proselytizing. He’s also in the market to sell a lot of AIDS drugs in places where they desperately need it on behalf of the pharmaceutical firms that have been his supporters throughout his years in the Senate. A public option would force the drug companies to actually compete, and they certainly don’t want to do that.

Dr. Coburn’s “concern” about the LGBT community is patently cynical. What I don’t understand is why The Advocate is going along with it.