Don’t Say Gay

Missouri has never been known as the most progressive of states, and they’re not doing themselves any favors these days.  The state legislature is considering a bill that would effectively ban the discussion of homosexuality and preclude the existence of school-affiliated gay-straight alliances.  The bill is known as ‘Don’t Say Gay‘ and it’s become the focus of rather biting, rightfully, media attention, as state GOP lawmakers attempt to turn back the clock to a day where gays, presumably, didn’t speak out.  One Republican state lawmaker outed himself, somewhat laudably, but also noted that he’s not going to run for another term.

Earlier this week, Romney campaign spokesman Richard Grenell, whose portfolio included responsibilities in connection with foreign affairs, resigned after pressure from the laughably named American Family Association created the situation for Grenell.  Romney’s said nothing on the issue, and allowed Grenell to resign.  In sum, the Republican party has taken the position that they historically have on us gays, namely, that we exist, they rather we wouldn’t do so quite so vocally or visibly, and they welcome our support, as long as it’s not overt (as in working for their campaigns) and so long as we support their anti-gay agenda.

Nobody questions that the Republican party has gotten much, much more conservative over the past few decades.  From women to immigrants, gays to unions, the party has taken a sharply more adversarial position on nearly every constituent group that isn’t either predominantly white, Christian or male.  The problem for Republicans is that while this more assertive stance towards many groups will satisfy their base, that base, relative to everyone else (gays, women, Latinos, unions, etc.) is declining, and soon, if the party is to exist as a national force in politics, they’ll have to move towards the left regarding these groups.

But that’s not going to happen.  That vocal rural, fundamentalist base dominates the GOP today, more so than at any other point in its history.  The party leadership is aware of the demographic shifts that are changing the face of America, but the rank and file of primary voters aren’t, and even if they were, it wouldn’t likely change their voting patterns, as they’re convinced that what they’re doing is God’s work, and as such, are constitutionally and operationally incapable of compromise on these issues.

That spells doom for the Republican party.  Bad for them, good for everyone who isn’t in their ever-shrinking tent.  No longer can the GOP carry the moniker of the Big Tent.


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