There goes the neighborhood
(Photo by Sean Bugg)
My neighborhood these past two weeks has become an incessant reminder of why this is the most depressing point of the election season, as political signs have spread like bamboo through the front yards of Falls Church. As much as I have enjoyed having a vote that ”counts” on the federal level since moving from D.C. to Virginia, the downside is that public space becomes all political, all the time.
I suppose I should just be thankful I don’t live in Ohio.
The reason it’s depressing when I drive through my own streets is that I can’t help engaging in my own internal judgments: a little ”Yay!” when a new Obama sign crops up, another ”Boo, hiss!” when a Romney sign appears. For a much longer time than in 2008, my neighbors’ lawns had stayed slogan free. Then a handful of Romney signs went up, triggering an Obama placard retaliation. It’s obviously more of a battle out here in 2012.
My own neighborhood of small, single-family homes and a true ethnic diversity apparently tilts Obama, but more Romney signs than I expected have cropped up. And as a middle-aged man living here in an interracial gay marriage I can’t help but take it personally that some of my neighbors support a presidential candidate who not only believes that the Constitution should be amended to cement a second-class citizenship for me and my husband, but also believes that the decision of whether I receive the ”benefit” of visiting my husband in the hospital should be left to the Virginia State Legislature.
That would be the same Legislature that voted to stick ultrasound wands into women’s vaginas against their will if they dared consider an abortion. I’m not holding my breath on the chances that my homosexual visitation benefits would be honored.
On the plus side, I guess, the Romney signs allow me to pare down my Christmas cookie list for this holiday season.
Worse has been the spectacle of gay Republican groups twisting themselves into pretzels to justify endorsing a presidential candidate who goes beyond just support for a federal marriage amendment that would disintegrate every legal same-sex marriage already performed in this country. As Metro Weekly political reporter Justin Snow reminds us in his report on the Log Cabin Republicans endorsement this week, Romney signed the National Organization for Marriage pledge, which included forcing a referendum on marriage equality in the District, appointing anti-gay federal judges and creating a panel on ”religious freedom” to address the imaginary assault on Christians in the United States.
Log Cabin points out in its ”qualified” endorsement that ”Mitt Romney is not Rick Santorum, and Paul Ryan is not Michele Bachmann,” which is setting the bar rather low when it comes to these sorts of things. Log Cabin also says Romney’s support for a constitutional amendment is an “empty promise made to a vocal but shrinking constituency. … In our judgment, the NOM pledge is ultimately merely symbolic and thus should not be the basis of a decision to withhold an endorsement.”
In other words, trust Mitt Romney because he’s lying.
This isn’t particularly soaring rhetoric, much less compelling logic. But I get it. A not insignificant portion of gay people are more interested in lowering their own income taxes than they are in securing equal treatment of LGBT people under tax laws. Some gay people prefer a president who would return us to torture and pre-emptive war over a president who finally got DADT repealed. Some gay people would align themselves with social conservatives who consider us diseased patients in need of reparative therapy rather than vote for a party that has opened itself to all LGBT people.
In a democracy, this minority of gays has the perfect right to do so. The depressing thing is, if they get their way it’s the rest of us who’ll have to pay the price.