Commentary, National Commentary

Editor’s Column: Putin Claims Gay Love is Leading to World War

“Gay Liberation” was certainly a big deal in many ways for me, for us, back in the day, in the late 1960s and early 1970s when the famous “Stonewall Riots” happened in the Greenwich Village of New York City in the context of  raucous civil rights and women’s liberation activism of that time, too.

But who seriously thought then that we were laying the groundwork for World War 3? Who thought that loving would lead to war?

It is indeed fascinating that the movement I’ve most aligned with for all these years has now been tagged the No. 1 threat to cause the next world war by no less than Vladimir Putin. It is now his single most important excuse for putting humanity on a path to a potential, and very real, next World War.

That’s what Putin has claimed repeatedly in his recent months’ rhetorical diatribes justifying his military invasion and ongoing pulverization of Ukraine. To some seasoned diplomats and wisened observers, the invasion of Ukraine last February will someday be remembered by any still living as the first big blow, akin to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Serbia in 1914, that set the process in motion for a global conflagration over the next few years. (I’m told that Netflix’s new German remake of the 1930 movie version of the World War I epic “All Quiet on the Western Front” is really good). 

Or, as Andrew Tobias quipped this week in his thoughts on this eve of the biggest election in our lifetimes, “The loss of democracy seems very abstract – until, let’s say, you have to fight World War 2 to preserve it. Easier just to vote.”

In numerous motivational speeches to his nation in the last month, Putin has cited the “degeneracy” of the West, identifying the issues of “queer” culture and gender fluidity, etc., as the most exemplary issue for him justifying his offensive in Ukraine, such offensive identified by him as a proxy (for the time being) of a more general culture war with the West in general.

No wonder Putin resonates so well with the right wing insurgents who are continuing their efforts to make an anti-democratic revolution in the U.S. They, and with the help of a Trump-led Supreme Court now in their favor, are resolved to make Putin’s hoped-for eventual conquest of the U.S. go much smoother by outlawing a lot of the things that contributed in the last 50 years to gains for civil and human rights in the U.S.

Let’s be clear, had Trump been reinstated in the White House in 2021, Putin’s military would already be halfway across Europe by now.

So now, the Europeans remain nervous that this may well yet happen. It is reported this week that Norwegians are beefing up their defenses on the 163-mile shared border with Russia.

Putin is not trying to disavow anyone of his vicious character and sociopathic lack of regard for the impact of his murderous invasion is having innocent human lives, whether the victims are those in invaded Ukraine, or even among those among his own citizens. It makes no difference to him, as when in World War 2, Stalin punished a million of his own men for desertion and killed another 160,000.

So it is indeed true that the realization of the totality of what true democracy stands for includes all in the bright and colorful array of our homo sapien species. All the names and initials for nuances of our “tribe” total up to one thing: everybody. Some argue we should all just call ourselves “queer,” but others in the movement for human rights do not apply a pejorative term to identify their cause. As it was for me in 1969, I prefer “gay.”

But when it comes to passionate speech making, Putin is surely no match for the new president of the three-million-member Human Rights Campaign. Kelley Robinson brought the Convention Center holding over 3,000 down at HRC’s National Dinner last weekend in Washington, D.C. with a strident and articulate message for equality that left noted barn burner, herself, Vice President Kamala Harris, feeling challenged to match.