The bravest among us exhaust ourselves coming out to the homo-amnesiacs, over and over again.
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An Elephant In Their Midst
by Chuck 45
OCTOBER 9, 2000. You wouldn't know it from the media coverage, but there was an elephant sucking up the oxygen in the cozy room where aspiring vice-presidents Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman conducted their recent soporific, kid-gloved debate.
I'm not talking about Dumbo here. Or about the preternaturally grey, floppy-eared, Republican Party mascot. No, the elephant was none other than the specter of Mary Cheney, Dick's openly, publicly, and lately, not only morally, but physically invisible, lesbian daughter.
The spectral elephant sat there between the two candidates, frantically curling and uncurling her massive trunk until the big question of the night came along. "Senator, sexual orientation."
The elephant trumpeted. But the two candidates, their courtly chat moderator, CNN's Bernard Shaw, and the national media, pretended she wasn't there. Cheney excelled at ignoring her. Mr. Lieberman came in a close, smiling second. Only Bernard Shaw blinked.
Symptoms? Parents hear you announce, 'I'm queer,' mutter they still love you (after throwing a tantrum or two, or a hundred), then quickly 'forget' all about it, turning you back into the living-dead, semi-empty carcass they're comfortable relating to. The bravest among us exhaust ourselves coming out to them, over and over again, ad nauseam, in an effort to recover our full humanity, and claim a second seat around the Thanksgiving table.
One wonders if Lieberman, looking and sounding like a shadow of his own feisty self, was himself being drained by Cheney's vampiric homo-amnesia, and unable to even see the beast.
Since the opening bell, it was Moderator Bernard Shaw's flinching brain that both Pachyderm and Amnesiac Dad fought tusk and fang to control. Control Bernie and you control what the viewers see. Poor Bernie's cerebellum must have been splitting. "Lookee here," kept trumpeting P, while Dad soothingly purred, "It's just a hallucination, Bernard."
Dad won. Mesmerized, Bernard asked Lieberman the fateful question originally intended for Cheney. A question that, put first to Cheney, would have revealed the Pachyderm's presence in the room to the 28 million Americans watching the dreary show on TV: "Senator, sexual orientation. Should a male who loves a male and a female who loves a female have allallthe constitutional rights enjoyed by every American citizen?"
Both Lieberman and Cheney said they would support some type of recognition of same-sex unions, short of marriage.
Lieberman waxed eloquently about the Constitution and even mentioned some gay friends of his who want to get married.
Cheney, who skipped the constitutional pieties, did not have the guts to say that gay marriage is the one issue that hits home for him. After all, it's hard to believe that the invisible Mary Cheney and her "life partner" Heather Poe, universally described as the quintessential suburban, conservative couple, would not like to get married. And even harder to believe Mary has never told Dad how she feels, if they are really the close fishing buddies the gushing press described back in July, before Mary's media purdah began.
National Mary Cheney Blackout
In its zeal to completely erase the Pachyderm from the candidates' midst, The New York Times, for example, did not even include the "gay marriage" repartee in their published excerpts of the debate, and The Washington Post, and most other major media, either referred to it in passing or completely ignored it. Most of the gay media, which seems not to grasp the dangers of letting Cheney get away with this, didn't do much better.
Dick Cheney may well down in history as the guy who propelled homo-amnesia from our parents' kitchens to the national public arena, that place in which politicians and media consort to the detriment of the rest of the nation.
As our rulers of all sizes and stripes begin to realize that political and social homophobia simply does not pay, homo-amnesia could become the tool of choice to postpone the inevitable: the day when we're seen by all, all the time, as fully human. Unless we nip it in the bud, right now, homo-amnesia could do to us what hate has been unable to do: make us accept, however temporarily, less than full human status.
There's an elephant in the room!
For one of the few analysts who did see the Pachyderm: CNN Crossfire's Bill Press in Cheney proves he's not up to the job.
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