Dear Gay Dude(s),

Just wanted to let you know that I support you, man.

Looking back over the past year, I thought Arnold Schwarzenegger's response to the gay marriage topic was reasonable: it's currently against the law, so don't do it until it's legal (although, admittedly, the California resolution making it illegal in the first place is incredibly disturbing and should have had more national attention and elicited more powerful and ongoing protest then it did; not from the gay community, but from the liberal community at large). Some might call it a coward’s viewpoint, but for a man being backed by conservative money, it’s a smart, accurate, non-offensive view. And his public (but off-the-stump) comments that he actually wouldn’t mind gay marriage would seem to make him braver than many Democrat politicians.

Arnold’s stand is exactly the stand that Bush should have taken. Bush’s administration had taken great care to quietly cater to the growing (and mind-boggling) “gay conservative movement”, even hiring some gays, despite the conflict that this posed with the Christian Right. Personally, I saw it as simply more Republican lip-service-only pandering to special-interest groups, just as Bush occasionally pretends to care about the Latin community--“let’s bring in the gay and Latino vote! They’re suckers!”

However, admittedly, the Bush administration did a better job of hiring racial minorities and women to important positions (and some gays as well, from what I understand, although their positions are obviously not in the center of the limelight) than the Clinton administration (Clinton signed the “Defense of Marriage Act, let’s not forget). So perhaps their viewpoints were not as close-minded as I suspected, I thought. I didn’t really believe it, because I could smell the stink of evil from a mile away -- but it’s interesting to see the Republicans actually hiring minorities and even pushing for minority Supreme Court justices, while the Democrats can’t seem to attract/appoint the liberal equivalent of a Condoleeza Rice, Clarence Thomas, or Colin Powell well. Where are the hypocrites here? Who are the true reformists?

If Bush had been smart, he would have kept this approach -- the Arnold approach -- of trying to appeal to as wide of a voter base as possible, of slowly building up a conservative following for the Republican party even among traditional Democratic groups such as the Latinos, gays, blacks, Jews, etc. All he had to do was follow the traditional conservative belief in “state’s rights”, and claim that while he personally believed that marriage was between a man and a woman, it was up to the states to decide. If he had done this, even the Christian Right would have had little room to scold him, since they’re typically passionate about state’s rights. And he would have forced Kerry into a tough corner, Kerry’s soft and nebulous stand would have become marginalize and co-opted.

Instead, Bush has made himself out to look like a Constitution-changing zealot. Combine this with the rising deficit (which is upsetting conservative budget hawks), the Patriot Act (which is upsetting conservatives and Libertarians who are anti-big government and extremely pro-privacy), the WMD/Iraq/Afghanistan fiascos, the horrible economy, the tax cuts that have had negligible effect on just about everyone but the rich, and the polarizing effect Bush seems to have on issues such as gay marriage, the Middle East, the environment, the United Nations, etc. . . . well, hopefully the population of the U.S.A. is finally waking up to the fact that Bush (and, more especially, the Republican arch-conservatives, ex-Nixonites, war hawks, corporate lobbyists, and Evangelicals managing and funding Bush) are a severe danger to our free society.

My only problem is swallowing my disdain for Kerry long enough to vote for him, instead of voting for someone like Nader again. I voted Perot in 1996 as a protest vote, and Nader in 2000 because I actually believed him. But this time I might put down a vote for Kerry, simply because he’s “not that bad.” Just a regular, old, boring, pandering politician.

And yet, this is a razor’s edge we tread on, where we find ourselves forced choosing between a military-industrial-complex reactionary war-hawk and a professed Christian, war hero, rich moderate career politician who not only can’t bring himself to say (outright) that he supports gay marriage, but also is widely known to have accepted more money from lobbyists than almost any other Senator. We call these CHOICES?

I sincerely hope that the new generation offers up stronger political candidates -- politicians of vision, honesty, and acceptance. So, far, though, I’m troubled by what I see.

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