As I have been collecting notes for a large post outlining my major areas of disagreement with Andrew Sullivan, I read his latest column in the Advocate, which, despite one sentence, shows that Andrew still retains the iconoclastic voice that gained him respect in conservative circles — and among other thinking people. But, it’s his choice to include that sentence which helps explain why so few conservatives take him seriously any more. (To be sure, if it turns out that the Advocate editors added that sentence without his say-so, I might develop (once again) a more favorable opinion of that columnist and blogger.)
First, I’m amused that the Advocate continues to call Andrew’s column “Against the Current,” something which applies more to Andrew’s opinions for the better part of the Clinton era and the first three years of the Bush Administration (when (the viewpoints of some conservative bloggers notwithstanding) he really did take positions at odds with those of the gay establishment) than it does to his writings of late. While Andrew may (as in the case of this column) write about things that other prominent gay writers fail to address, for the past two years (well, the past two years, one month and six days to be precise), he has been at pains to swim with the gay current, albeit (given the quality of his prose) with a much stronger stroke.
as gay people in the richest and most powerful country on earth, we owe our brothers and sisters facing terror and violence abroad more than passing concern. We owe them solidarity and attention and help—now more than at any time in the recent past. Our biggest organizations are, as so often, useless. We need to demand they do more. We are in a global war against fundamentalist religious terror. We are rightly alarmed by the rise of the American religious right. But compared to the Muslim religious right, empowered by weaponry and state violence, the American evangelicals are milquetoast.
Exactly. It is unfortunate that it is iconoclastic for a gay person to say as much, but as Andrew rightly puts it, “the gay movement seems [instead] stuck in petty domestic loathing of Bush.”
It is how Andrew follows that sentence which helps show why many serious conservatives no longer take him seriously as a critic of the president (or his Administration). He writes, “There’s plenty to loathe.” (Emphasis added.) Had Andrew changed just one word, “loathe,” to “criticize,” I would see this piece as a sign that Andrew was returning to his pre-02/24 self, a responsible, iconoclastic voice. But, his choice to include this one word is line with his over-the-top rhetoric since the President came out in support of the Federal Marriage Amendment. It’s one thing to disagree with the president, it’s another to join the unhinged radicals in hating him.
These past two years, my problem with Andrew has not been so much his ideas as his manner of expressing them. It’s too bad he has joined those he once derided in loathing the president because as this column shows, he still has something valuable to contribute to the debate. The more he demonizes the president, however, the less seriously those on the right will take him.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com