by Edwin Santana
A segment from E.W. Jackson’s radio show Tuesday is a stark reminder of our not so distant past with homophobia in politics. While many act like it’s ancient history, Obergefell v. Hodges, which guaranteed the right to marry to same-sex couples, was only decided in 2015. Since then, we’ve seen a miraculous turnaround from politicians, mostly Republican, who had treated members of the LGBTQ community as second citizens. I always assumed this was a charade, and luckily we’ve got E.W. Jackson to shed some light on that.
During what is normally a hate-filled fireside chat à la Fox News, former Virginia Republican U.S. Senate candidate and Lieutenant Governor nominee E.W. Jackson — talking about Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign kickoff (in which he hugged and kissed his husband) — stated that a “normal man” would be “disgusted by the idea of two men kissing each other on the mouth.” That’s standard, if pathetic and appalling, homophobic rhetoric. But here’s where it gets even more disturbing and weird:
“I know that as much as these LGBT activists say that I want a theocracy, which I don’t because I don’t want to punish them or put them in jail for what they are doing, I want to see them converted. But I guarantee they would love to see you and me punished or put in jail. You know what, we don’t want a theocracy, but I guarantee you, they want a homo-ocracy. Yeah, they want a homo-ocracy, in which they get to dictate to everybody what you can and cannot say.”
The Trump presidency has made a lot of things in our country worse, but maybe none more so than the dialing back of the clock on issues of society and race. With Trump as president, right-wing racists, white supremacists and bigots of all kinds see a hero and someone to emulate. Trump as President and Commander In Chief has successfully barred transgender troops from enlisting in our armed services. His day-to-day actions empower an agenda of “conservatives” around the country to make “Make America Great [aka, whiter and straighter] Again.”
Pete Buttigieg, like Hillary Clinton before him, is breaking a glass ceiling and paving the way for those who may come after. After being the first woman to win a major party nomination in 2016, we now have six women running to be the Democratic nominee. If Pete Buttigieg is able to make a successful run, hopefully we will change what the “norm” is in politics and encourage more folks from the LGBTQ community to run for public office. As for E.W. Jackson, his politics and ideological views are appalling, but he’s also a dinosaur. Hopefully his views will fade away when his horrible radio show does. To help speed that along, we need folks of every color, creed, gender and sexual preference to continue to stand up and participate in our political system and we need folks of every color, creed, gender and sexual preference to stand beside them.