Friday, September 7, 2012

In My Own Words.... Confessions of a Centrist


"In My Own Words" is a feature of the GCV blog. We encourage community members to submit personal essays, event recaps, etc. The views expr3ssed in the “In My Own Words…” reflect only the opinions of the author.

If you have something you would like to submit to "In My Own Words…" please send it to info@gaycentralvalley.org



In My Own Words.... Confessions of a Centrist

By Cameron Kelley


WARNING: I am not a liberal gay democrat, who spouts off party lines, or repeats the new clever one liner from Bill Maher.

Conversely, I am also not a conservative gay republican, who spouts off the latest of the religious right, or one liner from Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh. I am somewhere in the middle; out there in limbo without an ideological home.

I am what I often hesitantly refer to as a free-thinking, independent, centrist-loving moderate. I believe, as in most situations, the truth can most often be found, lounging in the middle.

However, that is not a hospitable place for me to have landed on the political/ideological sphere. I find myself shunned by both sides. The worst of it often comes from my own community.

Many gay friends, and strangers for that matter, have been put off by me and my opinions. I assure you my opinions are well thought out, and were arrived at after much research and soul searching, and internal conflict. This is how most important decisions ought to be made. 

Sadly in my view, there is at least one thing that both conservatives and liberals share. They both have a fondness for choosing a political ideology, often with less reflection than should be required, and then treating it with a wild eyed and fanatical devotion, much like a fan of an NFL team. Another area of undeserved and odd devotion, but I digress. 

Both sides watch the process and cheer on their team no matter what is said or done by the team or teammates. All they know is that they are for the Democrats and by god, everything they say or do is a new fact, frontier or rallying cry. Certainly no critical thought is needed to digest the information and form an independent thought, right? This is scary stuff ladies and gentlemen.

The gay community seems to have come around and become the mirror image of what I have witnessed from the conservative movements. It saddens me, because I am orphaned and feel quite alone with my ideology and by extension, my place or relevance in this community.

Recently I was told by several of my fellow gays that they could never vote for someone that was against marriage equality. I chuckled. Okay, I actually laughed heartily and at their expense. I did this unapologetically. They asked what I found so funny. I replied by asking them who they voted for in 2008. Without fail, they said they had enthusiastically voted for Barack Obama in 2008. I informed them that in fact, they enthusiastically had voted for someone who was not for marriage equality, and that in fact, this would be the first election that they had put into practice their unwillingness to vote for anyone who was anti- marriage equality. 

  
Obama campaigned as a candidate who believed marriage was to be between a man and a woman. 

When I pointed this out to them, they responded with equal parts disgust, and ambivalence. This fact was either lost on them, or it didn’t matter. 

I proceeded to ask them their positions on cap and trade, free markets, health care, the Federal Reserve, debt ceilings, foreign policy, their thoughts on uprisings throughout the Arab world, and the performance of the dollar against foreign currency. I received a response that felt like a kick to the groin. The first was that they didn’t care, and simply trusted the democrats to lead the way.

Now I am not suggesting that anyone go out and vote for either candidate. I don’t have enough faith in either one to promote or suggest either. What I will say is that too many of the gay community’s membership look no further than the gay issue and vote that way. I strongly believe a majority of gays would vote a communist into office, so long as they were pro- gay rights.

If you want to vote for Barack Obama, I say do it. Be proud of your decision. What I am asking…no, what I am begging you to do, is to know why you are casting that vote. I would suggest that there are issues that are even more important than gay rights. Know those issues. Know a candidate’s position on those issues.
 
For instance, I am stuck. I tend to be fiscally more conservative, and socially very liberal. I find appealing things about each candidate. But however I end up voting, I promise you I know who and what I am voting for.

We have been taken for granted for long enough as a voting bloc. That is because our votes and our dollars kept pouring in even when our interests were ignored. It is our very ignorance as a community that produced those results.

I hope everyone will join me in being a more educated voter, and thereby becoming an even more productive citizen.


"In My Own Words" is a feature of the GCV blog. We encourage community members to submit personal essays, event recaps, etc. The views expr3ssed in the “In My Own Words…” reflect only the opinions of the author.

If you have something you would like to submit to "In My Own Words…" please send it to info@gaycentralvalley.org


1 comment:

  1. Very well said and written. It's extremely refreshing to read an article who's author isn't biased or skewed to one side of the issue.

    ReplyDelete

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