Fear of Queer

Don’t overreach with the equality nonsense, girlfriend.



Funny thing about Pete Buttigieg. People, especially Young People, don’t like him. I mean they really don’t like him.

The just-hatched harpies of the intolerant left speak of Pete’s falling fortunes as though they occurred in a vacuum and based solely on his merits, but one look at Elizabeth Warren’s nose-dive suggests that this race will not be rewarding the most-deserving, the hardest working or the most intelligent; the US electorate is too packed up in demographic boxes — elites, millennials, boomers, the black vote, educated white women, evangelicals — each one with contradictory demands and tastes, contemptuous of all the others, and self-serving to perfection.

And we know, because they’ve told us, that there are decisions being made by oligarchs and enemies, agendas over which the candidates have no control.

In fact Warren has stated that she was told on entering the race that there were “two tracks: a progressive one with Sanders and a moderate one with Biden, and there was no room for anyone else.” This doesn’t encourage me to look on her or Pete’s or anyone’s dropping out as necessarily reflecting on either their ideas or their management of their campaign.

So the characterizing of Pete as incompetent is not insightful or true, just convenient. Whether or not any candidate has been able to resonate with any particular demographic or minority, this is an undecipherable mix of media attention and spin, whatever Putin’s henchmen are doing at the troll farm, personal charisma and zeitgeist.

Proof that Sanders can be just as polarizing and shouty as Trump? Sander-nistas, with that authentic authoritarian distrust of high-falutin’ book learnin’ and shifty elitism, (probably because the intelligentsia are intelligentsia enough to see through your propaganda) disdain Pete’s Harvard degree, polylinguistic talents (they say he can tie a shoelace with his tongue, yes, I’m kidding but made ya look!) and “flowery language.”

Me, I tend to get all hot and bothered for a man with intelligence, education and a grown-up’s vocabulary, call me old-fashioned. But I suppose it was inevitable that aw-shucks, proletarian hand-painted folksy would be the order of the day when Bernie’s in the ascent. Honestly. They sound like the devil-children of the Politburo practising their critiques of “formalism” in case an American Shostakovich or Akhmatova starts tormenting the rosy-cheeked proles with clashy chords or words of three syllables.

He was reviled, not least by the narrow-minded gatekeepers of the gay community, for fundraising for the poor alongside the Salvation Army during the holidays, as though it was more important to make a sulky point than to help the disadvantaged; he was called a hypocrite and corporate shill for wine cellar fundraising, in a country where a billion dollars is considered a reasonable target for a campaign.

These are embarrassingly empty criticisms, desperate deployments of fluff from die-hard Sanders supporters who are willing to tank the election rather than not get their way (they said so).

So let’s talk “vapid,” one of the mysterious criticisms aimed at Pete. Nothing there? Let’s have a look at his platform (from Vox):

Quadrupling the earned income tax credit for single adults

A $15-an-hour minimum wage

Affordable, universal full-day child care and pre-K for all children from infancy to age 5”

A path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants

A Medicare buy-in open to all meant to “create a natural glide-path to Medicare for All”

A cap on all student loan payments as a share of income, forgiven in full after 20 years

But that’s not all. Buttigieg has devoted attention to big structural problems that afflict our democracy, and has proposed solutions that are genuinely radical.

DC/Puerto Rico statehood, banning gerrymandering, ending the Electoral College, and ending the filibuster

Expanding and reforming the Supreme Court to curb partisan rulings

Sectoral union bargaining where agreements apply to whole industries, not just individual companies

A carbon tax rebated to taxpayers in cash, plus a quadrupling of research and development funding for clean energy

This was the platform of a “moderate” only in comparison to Sanders’ and Warren’s.

I know that universal health care is the key concern this time round. I understand — I’m a Canadian who enjoys this benefit, and I agree that if the US can crack this one, which surely it must, it will be a radical change not only for the uninsured but in the American “anti-socialist” mindset.

Buttigieg’s plan for “Medicare for all who want it” was a workable compromise and a way forward for this radical change. The reality is that both a Warren and a Sanders presidency would likely involve some form of deal-making resulting in this very compromise. Warren’s gone, but, in the event of Sanders ending up in the Oval Office, watch what happens to M4A.

If you’re going to do a hatchet job, at least address his policies, instead of relying on fatuous ad hominem attacks. If Pete’s stock went down, it wasn’t due to his personality, his platform or his electability, least of all due to a spectacularly well-run campaign in which he went from unknown to serious contender.

In many ways Pete, youthful, charismatic, liberal to the core but reading as “centrist,” would have been just the right person for the job, where he would have been positioned to achieve many of the left’s goals without frightening the horses either before or after election.

Yet—from the youth Bernie demographic, revulsion which, despite my initial reluctance to do so, I finally read the right way: The usual Bernie hagiography with a swirl of blatant homophobia, all the nastier for the “I just can’t put my finger on it” faux-naif pose, and all the more insidious for their covert style, in the manner of my mother saying, “He’s one of those…”

Thus he was called “droid-like,” “inhuman,” “weird,” “vacant,” obsessed with the Presidency from an early age, as though the fantasies of a young boy were somehow sinister and pathological (didn’t Hillary want to be an astronaut?).

Isn’t that supposed to be “the American Dream,” that you can aim high, and through hard work, and possessing the right talents for the job, achieve your dream? Not if you’re queer, apparently. We’re just too inexplicably icky.

Underlying all of the negative descriptions I read online about Pete — an odor of smelling salts, a nudge and a wink, a grimace of distaste, a hold your nose disgust that the writers’ attempts at arguments did not even acknowledge, let alone explain, and, significantly, always the wish that he’d “go away” or disappear for good, hinting at a visceral reaction akin to nausea.

Because they couldn’t just come right out and say it, could they? Not without losing that wokeness badge. They had to hint and hope we get the message.

Oh, we get the message, honey. We get it. Because “just go away,” “don’t ask, don’t tell,” “save the children,” “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” they all come from the same place and have one goal: To patronize, nullify, infantilize, humiliate, emasculate; to make gay men invisible again.

To make all of us queer folk — “just go away.”

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