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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Oh, lawsy, another Facebook debate I've triggered

My friend Steve Newton has kindly cited me- and an article I circulated- on Facebook:

A number of my well-intentioned friends have suggested that the Trump Regime is not anti-LGBTQ due to (a) the lack of specific rhetoric to that effect during the campaign, and (b) to old stories suggesting gay employees have been fairly well-treated in Trump companies. What they miss is the fact that almost everyone in Trump's putative cabinet has an anti-LGBTQ history, and that faggot-haters in the GOP Freedom Caucus are gearing up to strip virtually all protections for these Americans out of law and regulation. Protections for transgender students in American public schools? On the list to be eliminated. Guarantees of equal access to healthcare? On the list to be eliminated.

My good friend of over forty years, Lindsay Thompson, has been chronicling this effort (along with the fascinating train wreck that is currently North Carolina politics) for years. He's often darkly pessimistic. I think that's because he's rarely been wrong.
His responders’ posts frequently remind me of a line from the movie Laura, in which Detective McPherson tells the eponymous heroine (and fill me with sympathy for Steve):

I must say, for a charming, intelligent girl, you certainly surrounded yourself with a remarkable collection of dopes.

Which brings me to the line of discussion Professor Newton has engendered.

One commenter- Gordon Smith- says, of Steve’s reposting of an article I cited,

Although his hard ass law and order mantra concerns me in regard to the constitution, I don't necessarily agree with your premise about the LGBT night terrors.

As is universally the case with those straining to seem to- possibly- a position he does not, personally, in fact, hold, Mr Smith hedges without elaboration of when, of it, he might, necessarily agree, while reading me out of his vision of the endangered Constitution.

“Night Terrors” is one of those quaint, rather show-offy-but-dismissive terms employed by the more cheeseparing wanna-be-thought-intellectuals (If he was a true, highbrow, First Things Anglo-Catholic homophobe, he would use their preferred antiquity and reference “homosexualist night terrors.”

In analyzing Mr Smith’s comment I assume- rebuttably- that he is a smart man who chooses his words and meanings carefully. He will, therefore, embrace the Mayo Clinic’s definition of the term-

Sleep terrors are episodes of screaming, intense fear and flailing while still asleep. Also known as night terrors, sleep terrors often are paired with sleepwalking. Like sleepwalking, sleep terrors are considered a parasomnia — an undesired occurrence during sleep.

Although sleep terrors are more common in children, they can also affect adults. A sleep terror episode usually lasts from seconds to a few minutes, but they may last longer.

Sleep terrors are relatively rare, affecting only a small percentage of children — often between ages 4 and 12 — and a smaller percentage of adults. However frightening, sleep terrors aren't usually a cause for concern. Most children outgrow sleep terrors by their teenage years.

-as an accurate representation of exactly what he meant: that my citation of the anti-LGBT US House Freedom Caucus’ wish list as a concern is something I should have outgrown half a century ago.

I am a North Carolina native. I have been following Congressman Mark Meadows- front man for the Freedom Caucus- since the earth cooled. This gives me certain observational advantages not overly valued in the Bizarro Facebook commenter’s world.

But I digress (relevant to this discussion is Mark Twain’s comment, “Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself”).

In the end, such cavils are bootless. Matthew 7:16 reminds us ye shall know men by the company they keep. Mr Trump has said one thing positive about LGBT Americans: that they should be free from fear of execution by illegal immigrant radical Islamic extremists. That is all. He held up an LGBT flag for ten seconds at a rally with all the enthusiasm on his face of a man who has popped a Tic tac, grabbed a pussy, and discovered the woman attached to it was not a ten.

Otherwise, all one can say is he will tolerate famous LGBT people. He had lunch with George Takei before telling him to fuck off on gay rights. He said Caitlyn Jenner can pee in his bathrooms, but only there, as he supported HB2 after he opposed it.

He wished Elton John well when he married David Furnish. Elton John probably has more money than Mr Trump. That is what earns Mr Trump’s tolerance. In Mr Trump’s coming America, the watchwords will be those of a famous New Yorker cartoon by J.B. Handelsman:

Elton John has infinitely exacting tastes. He pocketed a large donative to croon at Rush Limbaugh’s fourth wedding but rejected the hire of the Trump Inaugural. From that alone we can infer that Mr Trump’s hands-offness on LGBT rights tells he is simply willing to subcontract the wet work to his appointees, and those who know him best know his worst.

Of the people he has named to office- starting with his vice president- only Rex Tillerson has anything pro-LGBT on his record: he supported a plan- then carried out by former Defense Secretary Bob Gates- to stop expelling gay Scouts, leaders and troops. Southern Baptist and LDS sponsored troops, which make up the majority of the much-shrunken, straight-sex-predator-coddling BSA, remain free to hate away.

Mr Tillerson spent his entire working life with Exxon, which bullied down shareholder resolutions calling for LGBT employment equality for decades, and stripped them of Mobil employees once that company was locked in Exxon's tractor beam. Exxon insists it had no need for such fripperies because it was a pure meritocracy that nevertheless never promoted a gay man to the top ranks of management, ever. They only relaxed their policies when they realized, last year, that they were losing top talent they could still never promote to the highest ranks of management after granting them indulgences like permission to march in a pride parade this year. Did Mr Tillerson bring up oppression of his Russian LGBT employees in his many chats with Mr Putin? But as Mark Twain says, I repeat myself.

Of the rest- the Sessionses, Prices, Carsons, Perrys, Haleys- even down to K.T. McFarlane, a Fifth Avenue hausfrau elevated to Deputy National Security Advisor, who outed and condemned her brother, dying of AIDS, to prove her conservative bona fides in a Republican primary to run against Senator Hillary Clinton- their records, their comments, and their votes speak for what they will do in office under a president who offered Governor Kasich the chance to be head of everything else but living in the White House and Making America Great Again.

While beebling and bloviating in public, Mr Trump has assured hundreds of evangelicals- assembled in cattle-call style at Trump Tower and offered them the chance to swim in a cistern of shit-a la The Magic Christian- to gain further face time with I, II Corinthians, that the bar is open and they can order their fill of LGBT screwdrivers.

For their promises of endless, God-ordained pulpit-fluffing, he has promised them carte-blanche in the Congress and the legislatures and the Courts. Thus we see a conference committee pulling a major religious discrimination rider out of the national defense reauthorization act- which would have garnered a presidential veto- knowing that the reintroduced First Amendment Defense Act will more than cover all American evangelical Christianists’ hate needs.

Thus we see Judiciary Committee chair Senator Grassley (who has not held a non-government job since 1962, contra all GOP orthodoxies), expediting the confirmation of the celebrity anti-gay Jeff Sessions (whose friend and ally, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, has called for the summary execution of the gays) as Attorney General on Day 1, to give him a head start on opposing LGBT rights in the legal challenges to North Carolina's HB2- at the same time he says holding a hearing on a vacant Supreme Court seat will take too much him and cost too much money.

Chris Rowe, another of Professor Newton’s interlocutors, says,

The "Protected Groups" fraud that spewing from this administration has colored anyone or any speech that is not in agreement with those groups as evil, homophobic or any of the plethora of labels son commonly launched by the left. What is ignored by the same is the very essence of much of the preferential regulatory nonsense giving special treatment to a group of people smack of the very prejudice they proclaim the right or conservatives are guilty of.

I always look for people like Mr Rowe to follow up with explanations of how they are entitled to the regulatory excesses of the Bill of Rights, which has messed with the imposition and enforcement of authoritarian laws for over two hundred years, and he begrudges others the transitory quality of a few court decisions and executive orders.

I should know better. God gave him his rights. I have to tug the forelock to see if he- God, Mr Rowe , or the two in conference- is in the mood to grant me the boon of semi-equality.

Mr Patrick Wahl says many things, many ill-considered.

Pari passu, he says General Michael Flynn once appeared to support marriage equality, and that the gay Italian designers Dolce & Gabbana don’t.

General Flynn thought a lot of things before be thought he’d get a job from Mr Trump. He was the only 2016 Republican convention speaker to trash LGBT rights, though. His son, who was on the Trump transition team, apparently for Moron Outreach, got fired for tweeting stuff you won’t even hear on the last hour of Coast to Coast AM. Now he feeds his stories to his dad, who inspired a North Carolina loon to drive to DC and shoot up a pizza joint because the Flynns said Hillary Clinton runs a child sex ring in the basement.

Whether he wanted to stop it, or get in on it, remains unresolved.

As for Dolce & Gabbana, they make their living with one foot in the political and media world controlled by the Italian Trump, Silvio Berlusconi- currently benched from politics by troubles ranging from tax evasion to sex with minors- and the other in the real world of global commerce. Their subsequent apology proves profits trump principles for the two old queens every single day.

And 12% of American LGBT voters went to the polls in 2016 to call for an early Thanksgiving on their civil rights next year.

Life is short. Stupid is forever.

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