National Commentary

Nick Benton’s Gay Science No. 90: Karl Rove’s Pitch for The Gay Movement

Echoing the case I made last week about the consequences of the national cultural shift since the 1970s away from productive and generous notions of the individual to selfish self-interested ones, a powerful new film documentary “Regeneration,” narrated and co-produced by actor Ryan Gosling, has just been released, available in limited theater release but on On-Demand and i-Tunes.

Regeneration” tells about the systematic institutional and media-engineered creation of the “Me” generation that has, as a result, effectively “tuned out” wider social realities in favor of self-centered consumerism. This has led to unprecedented encroachments on democratic institutions (such as the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision allowing unlimited and anonymous corporate and individual campaign contributions), a steep decline in the nation’s competitiveness intellectually, and an “empathy gap,” the level of apathy and cynicism about prospects for real change that threaten the nation’s most core values.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice,” but he added, “It does not bend on its own. It bends because each of us in our own ways put our hand on that arc and bend it in the direction of justice.”

Remove those hands, abandon what Abraham Lincoln called the “better angels of our nature,” in favor of unbridled personal and corporate greed and cultural side effects, such as society’s implicit sanctioning of rude and hateful behavior, yelling and honking in traffic, insulting persons without remorse, include, as I pointed out last time, the depersonalization of humans as ravished objects of consumption, as “meat,” or not.

In this context, increasingly hollow, bought-and-paid-for democratic institutions are allowing the greatest disparity in the distribution of wealth in the nation’s history, as all the while the entire world sinks into a prolonged economic malaise, a potential new great global depression savaged by rampant poverty, war and disease.

The daunting task of reversing these trends confronts everybody, and the gay community in particular because of our considerable talent at orchestrating such reversals shown through history.

Faced with this burden, a puzzling new title has hit bookstore shelves this month, proclaiming, “Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution” (2012).

Victory? Written by attorney Linda Hirshman, her first work on LGBT matters, the book’s title suggests that, well, we’ve won. What’s to worry about now? Are we to forget that we are in the grips of one of the roughest presidential campaigns in U.S. history, the first with the prospects of billions of anonymous campaign contributions thanks to “Citizens United?”

Are we to forget that President Obama has instituted more strides toward full equality and respect for the LGBT community, more by light years, than any other president in history? Are we to forget that if he’s beaten this November, his Republican opponent Mitt Romney has promised he will reverse and repeal all of the advances that Obama has instituted? Victory already? Really?

One wonders if this notion could deter the kind of extraordinary political mobilization the gay community is being called to this summer and fall, with all that we’ve gained and hope to gain on the line.

The book by this avowedly heterosexual author panders to the gay community and has a decidedly pro-Republican slant. Notwithstanding considerable shortcomings in its history (the complete absence of reference to Randy Shilts’ devastating journalistic work about AIDS, “And the Band Played On,” being one example), it diminishes Obama’s role (saying at one point he “insults and ignores the gay community”) and elevates those of Republicans like the attorney for the gay Log Cabin Republicans by saying, “He finds his advocacy perfectly consistent with his conservative principle that every man should be treated strictly on his own merit.”

The book culminates its cited “march to victory” with the work of super-rich moguls, showing how Republican-led pro-gay organizations threw their weight around in recent elections. “Victory” in this sense implies handing off the movement to the one percent of one percent of the super-rich, who don’t care what people do in their bedrooms (for now) as long as they hand over their cash to defeating Obama.

It hints to the secretive “Political OUTgiving Conference” held in May 15-16, 2010 in Chicago that Lou Chibbaro reported in the May 27, 2010 Washington Blade entitled, “Rare Peek Behind Closed Doors of Secret Gay Donor Confab.” Key organizers of the conference were Patrick Guerriero, former president of the Log Cabin Republicans, and Bill Smith, former aide to Karl Rove.

Former Bush Chief of Staff Rove now heads the largest post-“Citizens United” so-called “Super-PAC,” American Crossroads, and invented the new strategy of gathering monied interests in secret conferences to raise the unlimited amounts they’re now allowed to give.

In fact, the May 2010 gay mogul meeting was closely akin to the one held in Utah for Romney just last weekend. Apparently, this constitutes “victory” in Linda Hirshman’s eyes.

To be continued.