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Of Hurricanes and Bushes

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 8:33 pm - June 12, 2006.
Filed under: Bush-hatred,Katrina Disaster,National Politics

The media is in a tizzy as Alberto, the first tropical storm of the season, heads toward Florida’s Gulf Coast. Perhaps they expect this disaster to be another Katrina which, they believe, will demonstrate the president’s incompetence.

Former President Clinton has even joined the chorus hyperventilating over the hurricane, using the occasion of Alberto’s approach to tell a Florida audience that “Republican environmental policies will lead to more severe storms.” That Democrat is just recycling his erstwhile Vice President’s junk science. The latest report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found “no significant trends” indicating changes “in tropical and extra-tropical storm intensity and frequency . . . over the 20th century.” Like the gay left, it seems Clinton would rather attack Republicans than deal in facts.

Indeed, it is not clear the media had a similar motive in its coverage last summer of the Katrina Disaster; “virtually all of the gripping stories from Katrina were untrue.” While the MSM focused on failures in the recovery (inevitable in any disaster, particularly one of Katrina’s magnitude hitting a major American city), they failed to report the amazing work that the National and Coast Guards had done (before the media developed their Katrina narrative) and were doing (even as the MSM kept repeating its anti-Bush mantras).

To be sure, the president and his appointees made their share of mistakes. But, if he is as incompetent as his adversaries and their MSM allies contend, how come we didn’t see a similar failure when other hurricanes, many of greater magnitude than Katrina, hit? Perhaps that’s because “when natural disasters strike, it is the primary responsibility of state and local governments — not the federal government — to respond.” And the governors of other states (and not just the Republican ones) proved themselves better prepared than Louisiana’s Democratic Governor Kathleen Blanco.

Floridians should be grateful today for two things: first, it looks like Alberto will make landfall far from the population centers of the state’s Gulf Coast and second, the president’s younger brother Jeb is the Governor of the Sunshine State. He has proven himself a master of emergency preparedness:

Bush, after handling eight hurricanes and four tropical storms in 14 months in 2004 and 2005, has become the undisputed national leader in emergency management. Imagine if he had been governor of Louisiana when Katrina hit last summer. Does anyone doubt that the recovery would have gone far, far better with Bush in charge?

The younger Bush is now “regularly consulted by governors on how to handle natural disasters and emergencies.” My guess is that Louisiana’s Governor was not one of those governors who sought their Florida counterpart’s advice.

We now know that the media exaggerated the horrors after Katrina while downplaying the failures of local and state officials in order to craft a story of the president’s incompetence. There is no doubt the president (and his team) made a number of mistakes; his public relations effort was particularly ham-handed. But, his mistakes were not nearly as grave as the media’s narrative suggests.

It’s just too bad his brother wasn’t running things in New Orleans when Katrina hit. We may remember the name of that storm. But, only those who experienced the storms which hit either Florida coast during Jeb’s term remember their names. All Americans should be grateful that the younger Bush is chief executive of the state where the first tropical storm is expected to make landfall this season. Unlike Halle Berry, we may not be able to control the forces of nature, but some leaders know how to manage a response to nature’s fury.

Let’s hope other governors watch and learn.

-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest):

Perhaps I Repeat Myself (on Gay Leaders’ Failure to Debate Gay Marriage) — But it is a Rather Significant Point

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 7:11 pm - June 12, 2006.
Filed under: Bush-hatred,Gay America,Gay Marriage,Gay Politics

In a nasty comment, a frequent critic of this blog made a somewhat valid point, that I seem to be making the same point over and over (and over) again when I fault the gay leadership for being more eager to attack the president and the congressional GOP leadership for advocating a constitutional amendment (defining marriage) than to actually debate the issue. Indeed, in the very post to which he attaches his comment, I wrote, “As I’ve said before . . . ,” acknowledging that I was aware I’d made the point in prior posts.

This is not, as my reader contents, a “relatively minor point.” It is a rather significant one as it gets to the heart of what our gay advocacy groups should be doing.

In their very rhetoric last week, however, they focused on attacking the sponsors of the amendment, not promoting our (i.e., gay and lesbian) issues. (Even the ostensibly Republican organization joined the anti-Bush chorus.) In the debate on a constitutional amendment defining marriage, they made it clear that they stood with the far left whose priority is not issue-driven, but animosity-driven — demonizing President George W. Bush and the GOP.

What else explains the failure of all the leading gay groups (save Log Cabin) to note that this is the one issue on which the Vice President has publicly distanced himself from the president?

I believe a public debate on this issue would not only promote state recognition of same-sex unions (no matter what they’re called), but would also further understanding of same-sex relationships. As I indicated in my last post, I had a tough time coming out because I did not then find, either in my experience or my reading (about gay culture), examples of long-term monogamous gay couples. My gay peers (and a few gays senior to me) told me to have sex, play safe and not worry about emotional connection because it wasn’t possible anyway.

A debate on marriage would make it very clear how commonplace is the type of gay relationships I so longed for in my youth — and still seek today. The failure of the gay groups to speak out is not a minor point. It gets to the heart of how we talk about ourselves. And the more I think of the behavior of gay groups last week, the more outraged I become.

I’m not alone. Other gay bloggers (e.g, Chris Crain, Stephen Miller, The Malcontent’s Robbie, Andrew Sullivan) representing a variety of different political viewpoints, have faulted gay groups for their unwillingness to debate gay marriage.

In the most recent debate on the issue, gay groups have ignored their basic responsibility — to promote a positive image of gay people to the American people. They would rather spend their time painting a negative picture of President Bush and the GOP.

-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest):

X-Men: The Last Stand and the “Cure”

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 3:40 am - June 12, 2006.
Filed under: Gay America,Literature & Ideas,Movies/Film & TV

Just returned from seeing X-Men: The Last Stand. While I enjoyed the flick, I found it the worst of the three X-Men movies. Unlike the other two, it introduced a fascinating issue, but never really explored its meaning.

And this issue is one which should concern gay people. In the flick, Warren Worthington (Michael Murphy) develops a serum which will cure mutants of their difference. Some mutants choose to take it. Others do not.

Those who take the cure do so because they’re tired of being different. They just want to fit in and lead normal lives. I know the feeling. When I first came out, I met no other gay people like myself. Not a single one who believed that romance was possible. Those living the type of life I imagined for myself were all heterosexual, in long-term relationships with someone of the opposite sex.

Perhaps, I thought, if I could just redirect my sexual/emotional longings toward women, I could find what they found and live a happy life. I wrote to Dr. Charles Socarides, “the psychiatrist famous for insisting that homosexuality was a treatable illness” who recommended a colleague in Washington, D.C. where I was then living. The irony is that while that therapist did not “cure” me (indeed, I was on my way to one of my last sessions with him when I read the words which sprung the closet door), he did help me deal with my parents’ divorce. (I had previously pretended it hadn’t affected me.)

Since reading Carl Jung’s words on that subway platform, I’ve learned that that “unusual powers” did indeed come to me when I learned to take things, including my own feelings, “as they are, and not as I wanted them to be.” Today, even if someone developed a “cure” for homosexuality, I doubt I would take it. (I even outlined a short story to this end.)

What I have since learned is that we best find happiness in this world not by fitting into the herd, but by being true to ourselves. It seems that I gained so many of the strengths I now have by coming to terms with this aspect of myself which differentiates me from the norm. I doubt I would be as good a writer as I am if I were not gay, doubt I would have conceived the ideas and stories that I have had I not seen the world from the perspective of this difference.

It’s too bad this latest X-Men film didn’t fully address the important issue that its very story raises. Indeed, this one didn’t go as deeply into the power (and difficulty) of the mutants’ difference as did the previous two films. Maybe that’s because, unlike those two films, this one didn’t have a gay director.

-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest):