Back in the early 1990s when I was coming out, a friend who had come out about the same time as I used to go to gay bars alone every weekend. He never really had a good time and never succeeded in finding a boy friend there. Despite his lack of success at these establishments, he kept returning, once telling me he did so, not because he enjoyed it but because he couldn’t think of any other way of meeting guys.
All of us, including yours truly, have repeated similar behaviors — continuing to do the one thing in the hopes it would achieve a certain objective, even as experience has taught us otherwise.
As my friend continually returned to gay bars in the hope of there finding a boyfriend so too do various pundits and world leaders demand we return to the United Nations (UN) to stop the current hostilities in the Middle East. And this despite the fact that in recent years, the United Nations has been ineffective in promoting peace, stopping violence and ending mass murder, particularly in the past few decades — and especially in the Middle East.
Perhaps the reason UN Secretary General Kofi Annan didn’t mention Security Council Resolution 1559 in his address last week to the Council was that that resolution, by calling for “the disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias,” was supposed to have prevented the current hostilities from taking place. But, because the UN failed to enforce this resolution, Hezbollah, a militia operating in Lebanon, remained armed and was thus more easily able to violate Israel’s border and instigate this war.
Since the United Nations failed to enforce its own resolution, Israel, whose very existence is threatened by this terrorist militia, has had to act on its own to disarm it — and so help fulfill the UN’s mandate.
Just as Israel recognizes the failure of the United Nations to provide a solution to the threat of this terror organization, so has my friend learned of the failure of gay bars to serve as meeting places for a potential partner. He has long since stopped going there as he once did.
Despite the many failures of the United Nations, all too many pundits and world leaders have not been able to learn from experience. And while the UN has proven a grave disappointment to those who believe in the lofty ideals of its founding, those who don’t see gay bars as the ideal locale to meet a boyfriend, but instead as places for gay people to hang out with their friends, realize that these places aren’t so bad after all and aren’t nearly as disappointed. At least we can find a positive aspect to these imperfect establishments.
Shorn of our idealistic expectations of gay bars, we find them to be pleasant places to have a good time. But, without our idealistic vision of the United Nations, it is nothing more than an ineffective institution whose officials put their own delusions of superiority on display while exacerbating the problems of the world. Gay bars may have their faults and may provide environments spurring some individuals to bad behavior, but they also provide an environment where responsible individuals can enjoy themselves.
And in that sense, gay bars succeed far more frequently than does the United Nations.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com
UPDATE: To answer some of my critics, please note that France favors returned to the UN: “France has said a multinational force should be placed under United Nations authority.” (Via Captain’s Quarter’s).