Ann Coulter, Alan Keyes, and "family values"

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Ann Coulter, the queen of distorted diatribes, has done it again. Her latest column, "Calling the Kettle Gay," summarizes mainstream misinformation about sexual orientation and its relation to political parties. Her bons mots in this column range from liberals “lashing out” at gays (as if Gannongate is about sexual orientation rather than propaganda) to conservatives' gay children being allegedly "leered over by liberals" (as if happiness at their openness and honesty is somehow improper).

In Ann Coulter's world, liberals are guilty of a totalitarian-like "ruthless intimidation" of lesbians and gays; in the real world, however, exactly the opposite happens. Not only is it logically impossible to intimidate those who are open about their sexual orientation, but the closet itself is a social construct perpetuated by conservatives. It serves their purposes – not liberals' – to keep gays invisible and silent, because it's easier to lie about those who can’t be seen and can't talk back.

The "leering" incident to which Coulter alludes started last August, when then-candidate Alan Keyes (referred to by Coulter only as "a prominent conservative") was being interviewed at the Republican convention by writer Michelangelo Signorile. After the usual boilerplate anti-marriage nonsense ("It is in principle impossible for homosexuals to procreate. Therefore, they cannot marry."), Keyes ventured off into his opinion that homosexuality is "selfish hedonism." Signorile called him on it, in reference to an earlier exchange about Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter:

SIGNORILE: So Mary Cheney is a selfish hedonist, is that it?
KEYES: Of course she is. That goes by definition. Of course she is.

The following day, Keyes offered this example:

"…if my own daughter were a homosexual or a lesbian, I would love my daughter, but I would tell my daughter that she was in sin. And I would love her and pray for her and try to open her heart to the truth of God's intention for her life. That's what I would do."

When his daughter Maya came out as a lesbian, she had this to say:

"It was kind of strange that he said it like a hypothetical," she says. "It was really kind of unpleasant. […] They say most parents would be thrilled to have a child who doesn't smoke, have sex, do drugs, hardly drinks…does well in school, gets good grades, gets into the Ivy League…goes regularly to church, spends free time mentoring kids."

None of that was enough for Alan Keyes, despite Maya’s work last year on his failed Senatorial campaign. His response to her honesty was to kick her out of the house, stop speaking to her, and cut off support for her college expenses. Thankfully, a San Francisco-based charity called the Point Foundation offered aid for Maya's education at Brown. The foundation's director said, "Many of the students we support have been disowned by their families because they've been honest about who they are. […] Maya's situation is especially poignant because of her father's position, but it's a situation that happens every day to hundreds of kids across the country" (ibid).

Who, in this episode, truly demonstrates “family values?” Is it a man who prattles endlessly about them, or is it those who actually help people in need? “Family values” is a great slogan, but the worth of an idea isn’t how it sounds at a political rally or looks on a bumper sticker - it's how it is practiced in real life. Alan Keyes’ version of “family values” fails that test.

Dan Savage (who Coulter incorrectly said “gratuitously outed” conservatives’ gay children) notes that:

"…for gays and lesbians there's something particularly satisfying about watching a prominent antigay conservative learn that his or her own child is homosexual. It smacks of cosmic retribution: Mr. Keyes now has to choose between his antigay 'pro-family' rhetoric and a member of his own family. Sadly for Maya Keyes, her father apparently has more affection for his ideology than for his daughter."

Coulter says that "gay children of conservatives are used as liberal props," and states that "liberals use these people and then discard them," but the example of Maya Keyes proves Coulter wrong on both counts. After all, it was Maya's conservative father who discarded her when she became a political liability.

When Coulter opined that, "conservatives don't want gays to die," she again mangled the truth beyond recognition. Apparently blind to the fact that conservative extremists are the ONLY people who want gays dead, Coulter ignored an example from earlier this week: Joe Scarborough of MSNBC invited Jael Phelps (whose grandfather is the anti-gay activist Fred Phelps, of infamy) onto his show on Tuesday. She had this to say:

"The prescribed punishment for homosexuality in the Bible is death. They're worthy of death, and those people who condone that action are just as guilty."

It is a tribute to Kansas voters that Phelps resoundingly lost her bid to unseat a gay city council member, and her grandfather failed to repeal Topeka's anti-discrimination ordinance.

Prohibiting lesbians and gays from marriage, adoption, military service, and religious leadership isn't enough for these extremists. They want to be able to legally deny public accommodations, restrict employment opportunities (thanks to "Faith-Based" programs that permit discrimination), and turn the United States into some sort of "Christian Nation" where gays can be murdered like Matthew Shepard without retribution because "the Bible says so."

Ann Coulter has an undeniable talent for inflammatory one-liners, but her analyses are as inaccurate as ever.

Thanks for reading.

P.S. to Ms. Coulter: A trope is a figure of speech. There is no such thing as a "behavioral trope."

Quote of the Day:

"This is the difference between Democrats and Republicans. The GOP is the party of abandonment. They've abandoned the poor, the working class, the farming community, the elderly, disabled veterans, at-risk youth, teen mothers, and countless others. And now, through this story, we learn that they abandon their own kids if it turns out they don't meet their expectations. And they do it with shocking regularity. It goes without saying that this abandonment stands in sharp contrast to the empty rhetoric of 'family values.'"

Markos Moulitsas, "Mara Keyes and GOP Abandonment"

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on March 4, 2005 11:04 PM.

Satirical Commentary on Gannongate was the previous entry in this blog.

Ann Coulter's next book, Billionaires for Bush,, and more political pandering is the next entry in this blog.

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