Public Nuisance

Random commentary and senseless acts of blogging.

The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
-Ronald Reagan

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Thursday, April 10, 2003
 
Get Used To It

Calpundit has been posting about Thomas McLaughlin, a High Scholl student in Little Rock who was harassed by teachers after coming out. I'm all for shining a light on bastards who harass gay kids, but the more significant part of a story like this is that it shows the the culture wars are rather like the war in Iraq: there are still shots being fired, and there will likely be more casualties, but this war is over, whether the losing side has noticed it or not.

I went to High School in the 1970s in what must have been one of the most socially liberal schools in the country. Many of my school's white students were bussed in from a tiny town called Kensington, which is famous, to the slight degree that it is famous at all, mostly for the writing of amateur, soft core erotica. Kensington borders on Berkeley, and many of my classmates, like myself, had parents who were faculty or administration at UCB.

In this ultra-liberal environment, my school didn't have a single out gay student, out of more than 1,000. Even in the Bay Area, it was all but unthinkable for a High School student of that era to come out. Today they're coming out in Arkansas and Georgia. That's game over.

It's the business community that largely determined this. Businesses have made the entirely sensible decision that personnel actions should be based on abilities, and who employees sleep with with isn't their concern. The business of America is still, indeed more than ever, business, and when the business community reached that informal consensus this fight was over. The Christian Right, for all its vaunted power in the Republican Party, wins only minor symbolic victories when it gets no support from the corporate lobby. So they get to keep open gays out of the Armed Forces, even though gays are quietly serving, often with the knowledge of their commanders. And they get to keep laws on the books in many states that bar homosexual sex, even though no jurisdiction in the nation is actively enforcing such laws. With such concessions they can imagine that the cause is still alive, the war is still being fought. But it is over.



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