As a Jew, I shudder every time I see Bernie Madoff on the news.Â Even though most of the people whom he bilked were also Jewish, I fear some people may attribute his misdeeds to his faith, even though his professional actions violated so many tenets of Jewish ethics.Â He is not only a bad man, but also a bad Jew.
Similarly, as a gay man, I cringe when I see such people as Barney Frank take the public stage.Â There is no doubt that Mr. Frank is a very, very bright man who perhaps comes up with more clever quips than any of his congressional colleagues, yet he is also a vicious partisan with a very fixed vision of the world.Â He rarely admits his mistakes.
Watching him join what Michelle Malkin has called The Kabuki Theater of AIG Outrage, grandstanding over executive bonuses at the troubled company while silent on worse outrages at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, I wonder how the American people see his hypocrisy.Â And if they do take note of it, will their unfavorable opinion of him translate into a negative opinion of gay people, given that he is the most prominent openly gay politician in America.
Having read some of my posts on the Massachusetts Congressman, Blogger Bill Jacobson asked me to consider whether “Barney Frank is bad for gays.”Â In offering his thoughts on the matter, Jacobson notes how Frank’s political prescriptions are reminiscent of “political witch hunts” which cheapen public discourse.
In sum, I think he is.Â While most gay activists focus on the prominence of this openly gay man as the chair of an important House committee, I see instead a man ever eager to engage in partisan warfare and always ready to blame his ideological adversaries for whatever problems face the nation.Â If people identify gay people with Frank, they will see us a group who fails to take responsibility for our actions and instead continually blames others.
It would be nice if he showed some class and admitted his own mistakes, particularly taking responsibility for his repeated assertions that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were the picture of financial health and so didn’t need further regulation.Â It would be nice if a gay man could show that gay people, just like all Americans, often admit –and frequently learn from — their mistakes.
Instead, Frank plays the old politics that Barack Obama so successfully ran against in last fall’s campaign, a notion he repeated last night (on Jay Leno) of “trying to break . . a pattern in Washington where everybody is always looking for somebody else to blame.”
Always looking for some conservative or Republican to blame, Frank plays to the inaccurate stereotype of the irresponsible gay man unwilling to take responsibility for his own actions.Â Â And that is why, I believe, he’s bad for gays.Â Yes, there are irresponsible gay men, but a good number of us, probably a considerable majority, do take responsibility for our actions.
Would it that Barney Frank were one of them.
UPDATE:Â It seems that even gay liberals agree with me.Â Last night at synagogue, was talking with a stylish young man to learn that he was a political junkie.Â When I mentioned my blog, we discovered a difference of poltical opinion, with him falling to the left.Â One thing we do agree on in Barney Frank (well, and on the fashion sense (or lack thereof) of Dianne Feinstein, Margaret Thatcher and Hillary Clinton).
This left-leaning gay man say that the Massachusetts Congressman “bugs” him.Â He’s pompous and needs to “tone down” his ego.