MR
20.07.09
Obama and the New Gay Civility
by Susie Day

Recently gay rights groups became seriously miffed when our new President's own Justice Department released a legal brief upholding the Defense of Marriage Act by likening same-sex marriage to pedophilia and incest.  "What about our civil rights?" we huffed.

This is a President, after all, whose life was profoundly shaped and guided by the civil rights movement.  He once wrote, as he began his political ascent, that he "favor[ed] same sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages."

So we bought the "Hope" and "Change" presidential campaign, crafted, as it was, by nostalgic movers and shakers to subliminally evoke the civil rights movement.  Gay rights groups and their liberal allies invested millions.  And, just after the election, we were rewarded by a vast sense of power and uplift -- sort of like being swept skyward in a magnificent, cosmic collision between Martin Luther King and the Nike Swoosh.

It is thanks to our newly acquired state of stupefied achievement that most gay people have not behaved rudely in the wake of presidential slights like the DOMA brief.  Left with a gnawing sense of abandonment, we comfort ourselves with thoughts of Michelle Obama's arms, and leave the expression of "outrage" to professional gay activists.  We refrain from "sit-ins," "picketing," or "protests."  Such behavior, you see, is an embarrassing reminder of ridiculous, bygone endeavors, such as the . . . uh . . . civil rights movement.

Now that times have changed, what we need is a Code of Conduct to reflect our political maturity.  To wit:

DON'T: throw gin bottles at the TV and scream, "WHY CAN'T I FILE A JOINT TAX RETURN?" while viewing our President's speeches.  Apart from annoying married heterosexuals in the room, this is totally passé, and interferes with our President's First Amendment right to donate your individual tax dollars to Goldman Sachs.

DO: dress in clothes that tastefully conform to the sex role accorded you at birth.  This means, ladies: no jockstraps; gents: no hoopskirts.  Red ribbon and rainbow flag pins should be neatly pinned to lapels, not through nipples.  When in doubt as to your costume, consult your local genitalia.  Persons of the gyno persuasion should wear a slimming dress or smart, "Rachel Maddow" slacks, while those of the you-know-what persuasion should don a dark suit with pants reaching well below the knee.  Telling the world you want to marry someone of the same sex is one thing, but you'll look like a REAL pervert if the world can't tell which sex that is.

DON'T: tease the radical "queers."  These people enjoy making themselves unhappy and want to pull you into their negative vortex with their silly marching and chanting.  Remember how they followed President Reagan around in the 1980s, chanting, "Racist-Sexist-Anti-Gay-Ronald-Reagan-Go-Away"?  For pity's sake, if they really wanted Reagan to "Go Away," they wouldn't have gone to a place where they knew he would be, would they?  Given their illogic and volatility, it is best not to point and laugh while they protest, as their little faces get red and they have seizures and pass out, then are carried off by cops, who do god knows what with them, thus hastening their inevitable, dinosaur-like extinction.  On second thought: go ahead and tease them.

NEVER: question our President about issues that are not specifically gay-related.  After all, what do you know about U.S. foreign policy?  Maybe Afghanistan likes being bombed!  Remember, if it's not your problem, it doesn't really exist.  Vive our difference!

DO: jump to your feet and cheer like a Hun witnessing a human sacrifice when our President begins a speech with rote chumminess like, "Michelle and I . . . ."  In fact, cheer after anything our President says that is not blatantly against gay rights.  Nothing impresses a president like adoration, which will remind him not to send us to camps and legally hold us under "prolonged detention."  (Note to movement: send President wee note, thanking him for not holding us under prolonged detention.)

DON'T: perform the gaucherie of attempting to start a third political party.  This is the height of ingratitude, and has been done to death.  Homosexuals have the potential to be just as sleazy and compromising as any heterosexual in the Democratic Party -- let's use it!  Besides, insiders say the DOMA brief isn't as bad as it could have been, and other insiders who are close to anonymous sources assure us the President has our best interests at heart.

DO: go online!  A life devoted to email and blogging makes you feel you're changing the world, when in reality, your existence becomes more solitary and interiorized than ever!  It's fun to have a gay website -- you may get thousands of "hits" -- but you'll never get beaten up!  LOL!  And, IMO, with no meetings to go to, pesky human interaction can be cut to a minimum.  :)

DON'T: stop taking pride in your identity!  Now that gay rights are indefinitely postponed, maybe you can work on "coming out" as a mammal.

DO: forgive our President for breaking promises and spurning us and our friends.  After all, politics is politics, and he does what he does in order to survive.  And so do we, honey.  So do we.

:P  :P  :P 


Susie Day is Assistant Editor of Monthly Review.
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