Metro Weekly

Why So Serious?

Political idealism is a great principle but when faced with Ken Cuccinelli vs. Terry McAuliffe, realism takes precedence

I take my politics seriously, because politics is a means to an end, how we decide the structure of our society and best provide for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That’s why I don’t often read Politico, which covers politics as an end unto itself. I would compare it to sports journalism and its endless fascination with numbers that indicate who’s winning and who’s losing, but that’s disrespectful to the sports journalists who spend a surprising amount of time on why people play in addition to how they win.

Obviously, I’m on a bit of a high horse here. But I have tried to live by this idea that politics should be less about party and polls than policy and people. So during Virginia’s last gubernatorial election cycle I took one look at Terry McAuliffe on the Democratic primary ballot and immediately voted for ”anyone else.”

Which means I voted for Creigh Deeds and we all know how that turned out: a Pat Robertson-educated governor, Bob McDonnell, once a presidential prospect for his ability to deflect concerns over his retrograde beliefs about gays and women, but now more accurately known as Gov. Grifter.

And as part of that Republican victory over an inept Democratic field, we also got Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, aka The Cooch, who immediately went on a campaign against anything that could be perceived as being nice to LGBT folks, from blocking partner benefits for gay employees of state universities to his quixotic quest to resuscitate Virginia’s unconstitutional sodomy law.

Cuccinelli claims that his sodomy law efforts are about protecting children from sexual assault, even though as a member of the state Legislature he voted against a modification to the law that would have done exactly that. So not only is Cuccinelli a fire-breathing Christianist who wants to impose his religious beliefs on everyone else, he’s also a damn liar.

So now here we are in 2013 and Cuccinelli is running for governor, grabbing the nomination when his Republican supporters managed to cancel a primary election in favor of a convention where the party’s most radically right wing members nominated not only The Cooch, but people even crazier than him for lieutenant governor and attorney general.

Virginia Democrats, terrified of Cuccinelli and chastened by the Deeds disaster, took another look at McAuliffe and said, ”Okay, fine! You can have the nomination this time.” Luckily, Virginia’s electronic voting system makes it easier to cast your ballot while holding your nose.

This is not the state of affairs I’d hoped for.

But while idealism is a necessary component of making our society a better place for everyone, there comes a time when you have to suck it up and say hello to realism. Cuccinelli and the entire Republican ticket are a danger not only to LGBT Virginians, but any Virginian who has different religious beliefs, who has compassion for the less fortunate, or who simply has a vagina.

In short, elections have consequences. And the consequences of The Cooch taking up residence in the governor’s mansion are frightening to me. My idealism recoils at the thought of voting for a blatant political operative who is the distillation of everything that makes a Politico fan quiver with delight, but realism is here to slap me in the face. Come the election, I’ll be checking the box for every Democratic candidate because the degeneracy of the state’s Republican Party leaves me no choice.

My vote won’t be a means to achieve a positive end. It’ll be my only chance to block a disaster. It’s not the idealistic approach I’d prefer, but with the specter of Cuccinelli looming over my life, I have to accept fear as my motivation.

Sean Bugg is the co-publisher of Metro Weekly. He can be reached at and followed on Twitter at @seanbugg.

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