You can’t make homophobic jokes and be a Progressive.

Lindsey GrahamI have real, enormous, and numerous issues with Senator Lindsey Graham. Indeed, my first tweet of the day was to call him an asshole. Because he is. An asshole.

Also a dick.

Douchnozzle.

Douchcanoe.

Human sack of effluvium and fucknuttery.

And what have you.

But here’s the thing: If I, or any other Progressive in this country, want to take issue with any of Graham’s hateful and cruel policy positions — that’s what we should do.

We should argue the value of not holding up important Presidential nominations for the sake of personal glory; we should argue that President Obama’s plans for immigration reform are an important step forward; we should work to turn the tide of public opinion against the gun lobby; we should make clear the advantages of Obamacare; we should clarify just what it means to oppose the Violence Against Women Act; and we should lobby aggressively for the right of women everywhere to bodily autonomy (links to all these issues in the list of insults, above).

What we should not do is make puerile jokes about the fact that Lindsey Graham “looks/seems gay.”

For the record, I have come around to believing that when conservative politicians and anti-LGBT activists are, in fact, in the closet, it’s an important political act to out them publicly. I understand the arguments against such actions, and I have genuine compassion for the people who have been so outed — but if you have spent your days and your power dehumanizing your fellow Americans, your fellow Americans have a right to know how much you’re lying. Given the imbalance of power, our right to know outweighs your right to privacy.

But that is not the same thing — by any stretch of the imagination — as making jokes that traffic in America’s widely-held homophobia.

It’s not Progressive to belittle and/or dehumanize anyone, period. It is, thus, Not Progressive to belittle and/or dehumanize LGBTQ Americans — and when we mock Lindsey Graham or any other person in a position of political and social influence (Marcus Bachman comes to mind) for appearing to be that which they loathe, we’re agreeing that calling them gay is an insult. We’re agreeing that there is a way to “look” or “act” gay, and that these things are laughable.

Now, I’m not going to presume to judge the gay community on this. If you’re a member of the LGBTQ community and you want to mock Lindsey Graham, go on with it. That’s your community and your struggle and you folks have to decide for yourselves what the limits are within your own community (to the extent that consensus can be reached, and as a Jew, let me say: Good luck with that).

But straight Progressive America? Step off. If you cannot find a way to mock Lindsey Graham’s heartless version of “conservativism” without resorting to humanity’s centuries’-long abuse of gay folks? Then you’ll just have to work against his agenda without eliciting the lulz.

Because you can be a Progressive, or you be that assclown who mocks teh gayz. You can’t be both.

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14 Comments

  1. As someone in the LGBTQ community, I’d rather not see us mocking people for fitting a stereotype, either. It encourages the straights, and the last thing we need is to selectively support what boils down to a homophobic joke.

    • As I said – I’ll leave that in your hands! I’m sure you’ll all come to a happily agreed on conclusion at your next LGBTQ convention – just like we Jews do at ours every year…. (I pity the poor LGBTQ Jews…!)

      • Neocortex

         /  February 11, 2013

        I pity the poor LGBTQ Jews…!

        Haha, you should have heard the conversation about Israel and pinkwashing at the Creating Change Jewish Caucus this year (Creating Change is the annual conference of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and attracts around 3500 people). It could have been a lot worse – it helps a little when everyone in the room is a liberal/progressive/left-wing activist, and it also helped that it was a small group so nobody had to be overly loud and aggressive to get a word in edgewise – but it was still, er, vigorous.

        OTOH, I started that conversation (including explaining pinkwashing to the half of the group that was unfamiliar with that term), so, uh, mea culpa.

  2. I’ve been bothered by this, myself, and I’m glad you’ve taken to call out our Liberal/Progressive coterie on what is, when you boil it down, hypocrisy. We cannot espouse righteously on being a more open, inclusive group than those of Conservative bent when we are just as wont to spin off and foment the continued use of epithets based on ethnicity, race, and culture.

    In that vein, I also aver that using such designations as “redneck,” “wing nut,” et. al. belong in the same category. We do ourselves no favors and we cannot claim to be trying to bridge gaps and start dialogues when we denigrate those we need to communicate with.

    • I think these latter slurs are lesser issues, but you’re absolutely right – belittling people is not the way to go if the goal is healing the world.

    • If I may aver as well… there are sometimes people that I have no interest in communicating with.

      • And that’s fine. There are plenty of Conservatives who — it is clear — have no interest in discussion. It’s their way or the highway. But they are the minority & those who are amenable to discussing things are less likely to do so if we treat the more recalcitrant members of their group so cavalierly. We are judged on more than one level.

  3. veryslowwriter

     /  February 11, 2013

    He was dubbed Huckleberry Closetcase by Charlie Pierce (Esquire) and it fits him to a tee.

    • Sorry, it’s not even ok when the sainted Charlie does it, and believe me, I very much <3 the sainted Charlie.

  4. Darth Thulhu

     /  February 11, 2013

    Thank you for this.

    The reflexive, sarcastic, bitter venom and “humor” thrown around at people like this is disheartening to hear from people who claim to be superior to Anne Coulter’s muck-slinging. And while the Senators from South Carolina and Idaho have certainly opened themselves up to massive public scrutiny, these kinds of mockeries are exactly as offensive as every single “look how black’n’ignorant the President is” “joke” of Obama shining shoes or picking cotton.

    Thanks again.

  5. Agree. Completely. It’s amazing how few people “get it.”

  6. CitizenE

     /  February 12, 2013

    I have no idea about Lindsay Graham’s personality, whether or not he is a body part from the nether regions, nor a repository for fluids requiring a good hosing–he might be a great guy one on one, a true friend, a jolly companion, but I do find him an often supercilious and narcissistic politician with a penchant for petty vengeance against others in his profession with whom he has disagreements. I don’t like his politics, albeit unlike some politicians I do find his misplaced political megalomania less reprehensible than than of his sidekick, John McCain.

  7. corkingiron

     /  February 12, 2013

    “Douchecanoe”? OK – that makes no sense. So why does it seem so appropriate?

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