When I used to read Andrew Sullivan’s blog with great regularity, I would find that while I didn’t always agree with him, when I did agree with him, it sometimes seemed that he nearly perfectly expressed my own thoughts. Just today when linked to his post on outing (via Ann Althouse, via Instapundit), I discovered the old Andrew Sullivan whose blog I once very much enjoyed.
Andrew doesn’t mince words when taking issue with what he calls the “outing crusade:”
The fact that their motives might be good is no excuse. Everybody on a witchhunt believes their motives are good. But the toxins such a witchhunt exposes, the cruelty it requires, and the fanaticism of its adherents are always dangerous to civilized discourse. What you’re seeing right now is an alliance of the intolerant: the intolerant on the gay left and the intolerant on the religious right. The victims are gay people – flawed, fallible, even pathetic gay people. But they are still people. And they deserve better.
While I’m not so sure there’s an alliance between the intolerant gay left and the intolerant social conservatives, I do think that the intolerant gay left is trying to use the intolerance of those social conservatives to split the GOP.
I agree with Ann that this tactic will likely backfire, that “these creepy, gleeful efforts at outing will only make social conservatives more conservative, and they will continue to look to the Republican party to serve their needs.” Jonah Goldberg (also via Instapundit) agrees: “The sort of scorched earth attack liberals have mounted in the wake of Foley is creating precedents I guarantee will haunt them in unexpected ways in years to come.“
That there are those on the left who would attempt to play into the prejudices of the most anti-gay forces in our society in order to help defeat the GOP shows that they are more interested in advancing their own partisan agenda than in respecting the private lives — and personal choices — of individual gay men and women. For them, it’s all politics. (I’ve said this before. As have countless others.) While they may express noble sentiments about helping gay people, they could care less about gay individuals who happen to be Republican.
I can no longer count how many times those on the left have wondered how I could support a political party which has contempt for gay people. And yet while I don’t always agree with my party — or the attitudes of some of its members — I have never encountered the level of hate or vitriol that those involved in the outing campaign have directed against closeted gay Republicans.
On the one side, certain social conservatives criticize gay people in general. On the other, certain voices on the left, many of them gay, show no regard for the private lives of individual gay people. And demonize those with a political agenda at odds with their own.
It’s time to call these angry voices for what they are. I’m glad that Andrew has taken on those who would compromise the lives of individual gay men and lesbians to further their partisan agenda.