When I moved from the Washington, D.C-area to Southern California in 1999, I resolved to give up activist politics. Tired of being labeled “that gay Republican,” I wanted people to see me as more than a seemingly discordant mix of sexuality and conservatism and instead recognize my diverse passions, to treat me as a complex individual rather than dismiss me as an apparent oxymoron.
While, from time to time, I did share my political views on a friend’s listserv, in my first years in LA, I, by and large, steered clear of politics. At one point though, I almost did come out of my political closet. When, in the spring of 2000, the then-leader of Log Cabin threw a hissy fit, attacking publicly the twelve gay Republicans who met with George W. Bush, the then-presumptive Republican presidential nominee, I castigated him in an Op-Ed, “Of Babies and Bath Water.” That leader soon changed course. I withdrew my piece before it was published.
My public silence then continued until 2004, indeed, many of my friends in that period had no clue about my political leanings.
That changed when some blog (I think it was Instapundit, but it may have been Polipundit which I then read regularly) linked a blogger who was telling Log Cabin to shove it for failing to endorse President Bush’s reelection. So much did I agree with the post that I wrote the blogger and was delighted (and honored) to receive Bruce’s response (though he did not then identify himself by name). Soon we were exchanging e-mails and Instant Messages. Before long, he invited me to join the blog.
The rest is history.
I’ve now been blogging for over three and one-half years and have, by my estimate, written well over one thousand posts. As I was preparing to attend Log Cabin’s San Diego “Convention,” I realized I may not have penned (metaphorically speaking) a single one of those (on a great variety of topics not limited to politics) were it not for Log Cabin.
I started blogging largely because I believed that in the 2004 campaign, Log Cabin did not speak for gay Republicans, even as the media made it seem they did. As if all (or a great majority of) gay Republicans were refraining from supporting Bush, with many voting against him. Log Cabin’s then-political director claimed gay support for the then-GOP nominee would be “in the single digits.”
I wanted to join the then-anonymous GayPatriot in challenging that notion, contending that there were gay Republicans who did not define ourselves by our sexuality and who considered a great variety of issues when casting our votes.
Given the stakes of that election (as well as this one) I assumed most gay Republicans held national security as the paramount issue and feared the consequences should John Kerry win the White House. Yes, we were disappointed with President Bush on many levels, with some of us feeling betrayed when he backed the Federal Marriage Amendment. (I myself couldn’t sleep for two nights after he made his announcement.)
Despite the president’s flaws, we thought he had done a passable job on most other issues, showing extraordinary leadership in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and foresight in his broad policies to respond to the increasing threat of Islamofascism. Exits polls that year proved that most gay Republicans side with us. Log Cabin’s was wrong; an overwhelming majority of gay Republicans stuck with our party’s standard bearer. His gay support wasn’t in the single digits, but nearly identical to his tally four years previously.
Despite its failure to speak for gay Republicans in the 2004 election, Log Cabin retains its media megaphone. While there are now a number of gay conservative media outlets (all blogs), Log Cabin is the only gay group calling itself Republican with ready access to the media and an office in our nation’s capital. Their message is more readily amplified than ours — even now.
But, given that the organization doesn’t always speak for gay Republicans, blogging has provided a forum for our once-silent majority.
Without this medium, gay Republicans disgruntled with Log Cabin’s direction would be dependent on the good will of editors of the gay press to publish our pieces (as I was in 2000). The mainstream media (for a great variety of reasons, some legitimate) has little interest in the opinions of gay conservatives who support Republican leaders (even when they disagree with them on occasion).
If weren’t for Log Cabin, I still may well have become a blogger, but would likely not have recognized the real power–and meaning–of this medium. It provides a forum for those representing political viewpoints of which media elite are not necessarily aware or with which they do not readily sympathize — or which they simply refuse to understand.
The growth of this medium makes it more difficult for groups with a media megaphone to claim that they speak for their entire constituency.
While my sense this year is that Log Cabin will endorse John McCain for president (more on that in a subsequent post), this year it would be more difficult for their non-endorsement to have the impact it might once have had. For with the record of 2004 and the presence of this blog– and others like it, we gay conservatives can better get our message out. And show the real diversity of gay Americans, even of gay Republicans.
– B. Daniel Blatt (GayPatriotWest@aol.com)