Where are the new generation of Rosie O’Donnells?
Gays that are fearless, not parsing words, not playing nice. I mean, we all love Ellen, but don’t we all know more Ellens than Rosies?
My best friend is a self-declared big mouth like Rosie. Well he was, ’cause you know what else they have in common? They both had heart attacks.
That’s a game changer, all right. Both were much more fun pre-heart attack.
While I’ve been an “Ellen” in many ways most of my life (so my “Rosie” keeps telling me), after turning 50, I’m sorry, the clocks a ticking and I haven’t got time to play nice. I think my friend and I are switching personalities. Yeah, our very own version of Freaky Friday.
When’s the last time you heard Rosie say something controversial? You might recall the Donald Trump vs Rosie fight but that one was boring and personal.
And my own Rosie? He actually voted conservative in our last election! When he told me I almost fainted. And when I discuss things that are going on south of the border today, he practically yawns. I miss the man he used to be, just as I miss Rosie. God what fun we had!
For example, remember the late American evangelical fundamentalist Southern Baptist pastor, televangelist, and conservative political commentator Jerry Falwell? Yeah, him: the agent of intolerance and the founder of the anti-gay industry who regularly demonized and dehumanized gays and fought against gay rights. Falwell had something in common with Rosie. Both were a couple of the most polarizing figures of our generation, and both had the knack for making sensational headlines. As well, both had fame, wealth and critics.
Within hours of Falwell’s death in ’07, Democrats (and not just the targets of his homophobic propaganda) came out swinging. Immediately the far right criticized their collective insensitivity.
“Can’t these people respect the feelings of Falwell’s family?” the far right cried.
On her then-gig, the talk show The View, O’Donnell reacted to his death, saying something to the effect of, “To his family it’s sad but, whatever.”
That may have appeared crass but how can we forget the kind of example the Reverend himself set? Just two days after thousands died on 9-11, Falwell essentially blamed feminists, gays and liberals for bringing on the terrorist attacks, stating, “you helped this happen.”
Tell that to the mother of Mark Bingham, 31, a gay passenger on United Airlines Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania. Her hero son helped to thwart the plane’s hijackers. Or David Charlebois, the co-pilot of American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon. Charlebois was openly gay, and a member of the National Gay Pilots Association. He is survived by Tom Hay, his partner of almost 13 years. Or New York Fire Department Catholic chaplain Father Mychal Judge who was among the openly gay people known dead at the World Trade Center. Judge, 68, was killed while ministering to a fallen firefighter at Ground Zero.
Instead of showing sympathy, Jerry Falwell said, “Homosexuality is Satan’s diabolical attack upon the family that will not only have a corrupting influence upon our next generation, but it will also bring down the wrath of God upon America.”
Even Matt Foreman, executive director of National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, extended condolences to those close to Falwell, but added: “Unfortunately, we will always remember him as a founder and leader of America’s anti-gay industry, someone who exacerbated the nation’s appalling response to the onslaught of the AIDS epidemic, someone who demonized and vilified us for political gain and someone who used religion to divide rather than unite our nation.”
I am a gay person who did not “rejoice” at Jerry Falwell’s passing. It’s sad to see someone die knowing their “compassion” and resources were not extended to all of their fellowman, but rather to just a chosen few. What a waste.
I know some think that is ancient history. Hardly.
How many current examples do you need?
Let’s see. There’s the Chick-fill-A controversy.
What started it? In published interviews back in July, Dan Cathy, the company president, invited the controversy, claiming “Guilty as Charged” as he proudly declared, “We are very much supportive of the family—the biblical definition of the family unit … we are married to our first wives.”
That got all the Rosies’ feathers all ruffled. Using social media, supporters of same-sex marriage called for a ‘Kiss-In’ boycott at the company’s restaurants. But Chick-fil-A released its own statement, that the company has a history of applying biblically-based principles to its business, such as keeping its stores closed on Sundays. The policy does not extend to stoning sinners, as they also reminded us that “the Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect—regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”
The shit really hit the fan when the boycotters found out Cathy’s company promiscuously used high-profit margins from the sale of all his slaughtered “chikns” to further anti-gay causes, funding such notorious groups as Exodus International and Focus on the Family. “So what’s the problem, gosh darn it?” cried Cathy.
That took the Rosies’ squawking into overdrive and rightly so. But what amazes me now is wondering where are these Rosies of America concerning the more immediate potential game changer, the Romney/Ryan ticket. Why the relative silence?
For example, The Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) is a LGBT organization of gays and lesbians that works within the Republican Party to advocate equal rights for all Americans. LCR acts under the mission statement: “We stand for the proposition that all of us are created equal—worthy of the same rights to freedom, liberty, and equality.” The group has been criticized by Republicans for failing to promote Republican principles. Considering the fact that such homosexual-oriented topics such as “Corporate Diversity,” “Family Fairness” and “Sexual Orientation a Choice?” were included at their national symposium, it’s no wonder Republicans were up in arms. Notwithstanding, it’s “nice” those topics were included in anything having to do with Republicans but does that sound like messages advocated by the Romney/Ryan ticket? Why aren’t these Log Cabin Republican gays up an arms about that?
Well, let’s look at Romney a little closer. On “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Romney told the Des Moines Register’s editorial board when asked how he felt about gays openly serving in the military: “That’s already occurred and I’m not planning on reversing that at this stage.”
“At this stage”… hmm.
And regarding the “Defense of Marriage Act,” Romney said at the same meeting, “The actions that I take as president depends on part on the state of play in Washington, the people that are there and what options exist.”
We know what that means, or do we? While he currently describes his social convictions depending on the prevailing winds of his party, we know that as Governor, on November 18, 2003, he reacted to the Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling that same-sex marriage is protected in the Massachusetts Constitution with these words, “I agree with 3,000 years of recorded history. I disagree with the Supreme Court of Massachusetts. Marriage is an institution between a man and a woman.”
And what of his Vice-Presidential nominee Paul Ryan? His record on gay rights is more egregious. Not only did he support a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and vote against the repeal of the military’s discriminatory don’t-ask, don’t-tell policy, in 2009, a decade after Matthew Shepard was murdered for being gay, Ryan voted against a bill named after Mr. Shepard that expands the federal hate crimes act to include brutality based on sexual orientation.
Where are the gays that are fearless, not parsing words, not playing nice with a record like that?
It’s even worse. Despite their joint record, just yesterday, October 23, 2012, the Log Cabin Gays and Lesbians endorsed Mitt Romney, acknowledging that he did not support them on many LGBT issues, but claimed that they were putting America first.
I’m with Rosie. Whatever.
On The Huffington Post: Log Cabin Republicans’ Mitt Romney Endorsement Prompts Los Angeles Couple To End Membership
This was previously published on The Huffington Post.
Image credit: Guillaume Paumier/Flickr