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No GOP IGB Videos?

Jim Burroway

July 29th, 2011

Dan Savage reacted to personal attacks from the National Republican Senatorial Committee over the “It Gets Better” campaign by saying that “not a single GOP elected official can bring himself or herself to make a video.” I actually found that to be very shocking. Sure, we know that things are very bleak on the national level. I can’t think of any GOP member of Congress who has participated in or made a video. But what about at the state level? Any elected GOP officials in a state legislature or executive branch? What about the county level? Mayor of a major city? Township trustee? Village council person?

Dogcatcher?

I’m sure there’s some out there. I can’t believe that there is “not a single GOP elected official” in a video. So here’s a crowd-sourcing challenge: go find them. Just three rules: 1) they have to be identified by name in the video, 2) they must have a speaking part, and 3) those holding office as a result of a nonpartisan election (i.e. their party affiliation did not appear on the ballot, as is sometimes the rule for local positions) do not qualify.

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Bernie
July 29th, 2011 | LINK

Now we know where we stand in their view.

Hunter
July 29th, 2011 | LINK

It’s symptomatic of the changing political climate in regard to acceptance of GLBT people that the NRSC and Brown have to attack Savage rather than addressing any issues. They can’t really beat on any of the anti-gay drums any more without looking like what they are, and they have nothing else to offer.

Brown’s pathetic excuse that he’s focusing on jobs is just that — pathetic, as well as patently false.

As for GOP elected officials who’ve made IGB videos, I don’t know, but the reports I’ve seen put the number either at zero or in negative numbers.

Matt
July 29th, 2011 | LINK

You never cite what the “personal attacks” against Savage are, but maybe one criticism against him that Republicans might have is that he hasn’t hesitated to use the suicides of teenagers as a way of scoring political points against opponents. Apparently, that is something you are quite willing to do as well.

Erin
July 29th, 2011 | LINK

@ Matt: “Democrat leaders agree with Dan Savage’s long history of lewd, violent and anti-Christian rhetoric. Given their press conference call today, one has to presume at this point that they do.”
This is what the snakes in the GOP had to say about their Democrat colleagues because they appeared in a PSA video encouraging gay youth to keep on trucking because suicide is the wrong answer. I don’t care who started the video or what they tried to gain for themselves. The videos have taken off, and I’ve seen some of them. They are valuable. You have national celebrities and people in high positions and important roles telling victims of bullying and harassment that they themselves faced it and life got better. LGBT supporters have every right to ask Scott Brown why he disagreed with that message, but because of other, unrelated things Savage was involved with, we get the infantile, manipulative arguing tactics from the GOP that association with him in one initiative = solid agreement with everything he ever did. This is about gay kids killing themselves, and you, Scott Brown, and the entire GOP know it. Scott Brown’s silence about it speaks volumes of what he thinks those kids are worth, and of course if we didn’t already know the Senators that spoke up for him were a bunch of lying snakes, then they certainly reassured us that they are with those statements.

Aaron Moore
July 29th, 2011 | LINK

@ Matty dear– I think all of us that comment on this blog site find the suicides of glbt teenagers to be a terrible thing. That a child would feel so trapped by their homophobic friends, family and society so as to take their own lives is something that, by golly, we just don’t like. Now, you may think that the appropriate response to these tragedies is to never discuss them again and shame anyone who does. BUT, many of us feel that they shouldn’t be treated like a dirty secret that’s been locked in the closet. You see, we feel that homophobia should be challenged in society, and particularly in the governments which claim to represent us. Now, the writers on BTB will have their own political views, but I’m happy to say that I’ve seen both republican and democrat politicians applauded and criticized on this site. The truth is that the suicides of glbt teenagers is not a partisan issue, it is a symptom of a sick society. And if Brown, or any other major figure in society decides that the issue isn’t worth all of three seconds of air time or some other momentary appearance of empathy, well then just maybe that person doesn’t deserve our support.

Matt
July 29th, 2011 | LINK

The truth is that the suicides of glbt teenagers is not a partisan issue

Then don’t get together and hold a Democratic press conference denouncing a Republican for not making a video with you. It is very simple.

This is about gay kids killing themselves, and you, Scott Brown, and the entire GOP know it.

Again, then don’t hold a Democratic press conference calling attention to the fact that a Republican didn’t participate in your video. Make your video and post it. Don’t use it as an opportunity to score political points. That is what hacks do.

Jim Burroway
July 29th, 2011 | LINK

Matt.

You are so incensed that you aren’t even reading the words that are in front of you.

Calm down.

Again, then don’t hold a Democratic press conference calling attention to the fact that a Republican didn’t participate in your video. Make your video and post it. Don’t use it as an opportunity to score political points. That is what hacks do.

It wasn’t a Democratic press conference, it was an LGBT one, with two democratic activists who are Massachusetts legislators participating. And it was held nearly a WEEK after the video was posted.

As for making a video and posting it, that is exactly what this thread is looking for. A video made by an elected Republican that has been posted. I’m sure there’s some out there and we just don’t know about it. That’s why I posted this tread asking people to help go look for one. Find it, and I’ll post it. So instead of complaining about “scoring political points,” how about finding a Republican who can reach out to those kids? As a bonus, you get to prove Savage wrong.

TampaZeke
July 29th, 2011 | LINK

Matt is straight from GayPatriot so no one should expect anything reasonable or sane from him.

TampaZeke
July 29th, 2011 | LINK

Former Minnesota State Sen. Paul Koering, a Republican with Anoka-Hennipin School District right in his back yard?

Certainly HE’S made one, right?

Nope?

Still looking…

Matt
July 29th, 2011 | LINK

Matt is straight from GayPatriot so no one should expect anything reasonable or sane from him.

GayPatriot is boring and unreadable because the dude just prints Republican party press releases practically verbatim. Everything’s party-line and predictable. Hell, if I’m not mistaken the guy describes himself as “the most reliably conservative gay blog on the internet” — in other words, you’ll never see Mr. Blatt not toe the party line! I’m not happy with the approach BTB is taking on this Massachusetts Dem delegation thing because it’s a very similar approach, only from the Dem side.

I realize that blogging requires putting out new content at a good pace. And that it’s probably difficult to resist relying on the steady stream of stuff from political party mouthpieces and from those who do their bidding, whether paid or because they’re ideological fellow-travellers. But writers who allow themselves to be used by political parties end up producing lame blogs like GayPatriot. At least I think so.

Not everything is partisan.

TampaZeke
July 29th, 2011 | LINK

Matt, the best way to make your point about Savage and how this is just an attack on Republicans is to respond to Jim Burroway’s challenge with a list of Republican elected officials who have done “It Gets Better” videos.

Jim Burroway
July 29th, 2011 | LINK

I realize that blogging requires putting out new content at a good pace. And that it’s probably difficult to resist relying on the steady stream of stuff from political party mouthpieces and from those who do their bidding, whether paid or because they’re ideological fellow-travellers. But writers who allow themselves to be used by political parties end up producing lame blogs like GayPatriot. At least I think so.

I’m glad you acknowledged that you had the timeline wrong on the six days that passed between the video being released and the teleconference discussing it. Now I would like to take through something else in the hope that you can acknowledge two more things before you continue to accuse me of “being used by political parties.”

1) I wrote that post because of the GOP attack, not because of Brown’s absence in the video. The video went up Friday, July 22. I saw it and yawned. More politicians making a video. I didn’t post it because I have decided that unless a video is groundbreaking — the first few politicians, the first few baseball teams, something of that nature — I’d rather focus more in the future on videos from ordinary folks which, I believe, are more compelling. I did notice Brown’s absence in that video — no one had to point it out to me — but decided not to comment on it. For all I knew he wasn’t invited. And to point out his absence without knowing whether he was invited would have appeared partisan, wouldn’t it?

And six days later I also read about the teleconference organized six days after the fact by an LGBT youth advocacy group in Massachuetts who, in answers to question why Brown wasn’t part of the video (was he not invited?) revealed that Brown had in fact been invited but turned them down. Interesting, sad even. And more evidence in my mind that upholding a political divide is more important than reassuring teens that it does get better. But I did not post about that either, and decided to keep that thought in my mind. The video was now six days old, and a story about Brown’s absence would have been about Brown and not the video. So still, overall, I wasn’t that interested, at least not interested enough to make any note of it.

What I did post about — and what the title that you objected to emphasized — was that the GOP’s Senatorial Campaign Committee took the opportunity to go on the attack. And they did so by trying to tie Democratic lawmakers to Dan Savage’s “lewd, violent and anti-Christian rhetoric” — a phrase that may as well have been written by the Family Research Council. (Violent? Really? How about citing an instance.) And what I found objectionable was that the GOP’s attack sought to not only defend Brown’s decision not to appear in the video, but to go further and denigrate and dismiss the entire “It Gets Better” campaign to help bullied teens by launching an attack against Dan Savage personally and, in doing so, divert attention to the very problem the project is intended to address. I found, and still find, that to be completely outrageous. I stand behind it. It was that attack that I wrote about and made the subject of the title. And in writing about it, I had to unwind the background events leading up to it.

It’s really just that simple. If it weren’t for the GOP attack, we wouldn’t be having this discussion on BTB. At least not as a result of a post from me.

And you’re right. Not everything is partisan. Unless an official arm of a political party goes on the attack. That is, I believe, the dictionary definition of partisan.

2) The purpose of this particulcar thread: Dan Savage made a remarkable and, I thought, an erroneous comment, that no elected Republican official has made a video telling gay kids to hang in there because it gets better. Not one. I thought that was an irresponsible charge because I believed it to be a false one.

I originally intended this post to be a follow-on the the previous one, and that it would feature at least one of those videos to say, see? GOP lawmakers have made videos. I really thought that in my few remaining brain cells, I had remembered someone making a video. What about former San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders? He came out strongly against Prop 8. Didn’t he make one? Nope. What about Wyoming Republican state Senator Cale Case who blasted fellow Republican lawmakers for introducing a bill to prohibit recognition of out-of-state marriages and civil union? Nope, not him either. What about Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen? Nope.

Of course, as with Scott Brown, they are not under any obligation to make a video. I chose these three because I remain convinced that if anyone would have made one, they would have. And I am also convinced that the fact that they haven’t made one is NOT any indication that they oppose anti-bullying efforts. These are solid allies of the LGBT community. It’s a lot of trouble to make a video when you have to do it yourself, and not everyone has the ability, creativity or technical wherewithal to do it. That’s why, absent an invitation from someone else to take care of all of that for you and all you have to do is show up and say a few lines, the fact that they don’t have videos out by themselves really don’t mean much.

I just chose these three names because I thought they were the more likely candidates. I’m still looking for names.

But in pointing out that the charge that not one single Republican elected official has made a video appears to hold true should raise eyebrows both within the GOP and those of us who are not a part of it. Do you not find that surprising?

I do. It’s why I’m still looking for that video. Unfortunately, I’m running out of ideas of who to google to find it. But here is my promise: If I find one, or if you or anyone else finds one, I will post it. I want to post it. It’s important that it gets recognized. It was supposed to be the original subject of this post to begin with.

Timothy Kincaid
July 29th, 2011 | LINK

Matt,

I don’t fault you for disagreeing with Jim about the way in which Massachusetts delegation’s It Gets Better video has been used as a political tactic. My views also are not in complete agreement with his.

But I very much resent your baseless insinuation that the writers at BTB “allow [ourselves] to be used by political parties” or are in any way similar to GayPatriot. Either you are not very familiar with our content or you are not very perceptive.

While our personal views do influence our writing, and should, at no time do any of us here ever write at the direction of a party or solely to seek the advancement of a political party.

And regardless of whether Massachusetts Democrats behaved cynically in this instance, that in no way diminishes the fact that I have searched and have not been able to find a single Republican elected official who has participated in this endeavor or who has taken some alternate method of encouraging gay kids not to kill themselves.

And I’m surprised. And angry.

And to suggest that this should not be discussed because it makes the Republican Party look bad… well that really would be partisan.

Timothy Kincaid
July 29th, 2011 | LINK

And this goes out to Brian Walsh, the GOP spokes-hole:

If Savage’s lewd anti-Christian comments were not an issue for the Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, then why should they matter to a political party.

Matt
July 29th, 2011 | LINK

Mr. Burroway & Mr. Kincaid,

Thanks so much for responding to me in these comments, and at length, too. I appreciate it, and that you took the time to do so when you’re busy writing a blog is really something.

I don’t think this site is anything like GayPatriot. (!) But I think there is an ever-present danger, for all of us, of slipping into passivity, of letting the powerful think for us. I mean, Orwell wasn’t just writing about Communism — he was writing about something embedded in all societies and in the human soul, something we always have to be vigilant about in our own words and writings. At least that’s how I understand it.

I myself have done a not excellent job of articulating this in my comments, and I apologize for being heated.

Thanks for engaging me on this. Have a great Friday night.

I’ll keep commenting in future. (Sorry!)

Timothy Kincaid
July 29th, 2011 | LINK

Please do keep commenting. We like a variety of perspectives.

Rob
July 30th, 2011 | LINK

That is weird. I would have thought Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who’s the most senior GOP women in the house of representatives and the only GOP in the LGBT quality caucus, would participate in the project. Despite holding conservative positions on all issues, she’s been very supportive of gay rights.

TampaZeke
July 30th, 2011 | LINK

I have to admit, I was right there with Jim in doubting Savage’s claim, but it seems that (as outrageous and unlikely as it seems) he was correct.

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