NOTE: This piece is currently running as an op-ed at the Washington Blade.
The witching hour is upon us. I’m not talking about Halloween, but the event that occurs just 48 hours later — Election Day. With mere days to go, the ever expanding political map has nearly 100 Democrat-held seats in play, with the Republican Party poised to retake the House of Representatives, according to most pundits and prognosticators.
To my LGBT family, sorry to say this, but “I told you so!” While some groups have said that we need to be patient with this White House and this Congress, time is quickly running out.
To my Republican brothers & sisters, it is time to start talking about what we stand for! It is no longer okay to only be “AGAINST” everything.
Weeks ago, Dr. Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics forecasted that the House would flip to the GOP after November 2. He went even further by saying that the Senate could see a 50-50 split. It is important to note that Dr. Sabato, well respected on both sides of the political aisle, has called more than 98% of the contests correctly over the decade-long life of his Crystal Ball.
Back in January I asked, “What is there to show for the progress of the LGBT movement under Democratic control?” I fear the answer to this question today is the same as it was nine months ago. Not much.
While many within our community continue to blindly mock and ridicule gay Republicans as being self-loathing, among other hollow insults, they simultaneously refuse to see that strength through diversity means just that – diversity in everything, including political thought.
This diversity in thought led conservative icon Ted Olsen to craft a conservative constitutional argument in the Prop 8 case in California. And most recently, it is the Log Cabin Republicans, who six years ago during the Bush Administration brought a suit against the military that two weeks ago halted all discharges worldwide under DADT. It is Republicans who are winning the argument for equal rights for gays and lesbians.
And while it is very true that the GOP has a dismal record on LGBT issues, Republican leaders are engaging gays and lesbians on issues where we at least have common ground. No, I’m not talking about a pundit speaking at a party in New York City this summer. I’m talking about elected GOP officials speaking directly to gay Republicans.
Last month, the chairmen of the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee spoke at the National Dinner for the Log Cabin Republicans. They did so against the request of several conservative groups asking them to withdraw.
No, their records on traditional LGBT issues aren’t stellar in the least. However, they are engaging us on issues where we can come together. While DOMA, ENDA, and DADT are at the forefront of our movement, there are other issues that we can and should talk about, such as immigration reform and taxes, just to name two.
Nationally, the outcome of this mid-term election will produce many things. It will produce heartache, malaise, and distrust. But I also hope it will produce a sense of working with both political parties. This can be done by helping to elect more gay and gay-friendly Republican candidates. There are more than a dozen endorsed by the Log Cabin Republicans. Locally, all four Republican city council candidates are gay-friendly. And two of them, Marc Morgan (Ward 1) and Tim Day (Ward 5) are gay Republicans.
Even before the holy war attacks on marriage equality during the Bush years, there weren’t many groups willing to work with the GOP on our issues. I hope the last two years of total Democratic control will show these groups that they cannot afford to make that same mistake again. We need to engage both parties, and change hearts and minds one person at a time. If we don’t, we’ll get another Democratic Speaker under a Democratic President telling us “NOT NOW!”