You may think the government shutdown and the debt ceiling debate are about money matters. And, in a way, they are. But that’s too narrow a reading of the House GOP’s motives. At heart, the kamikaze caucus that got us into this mess are at war with not just government but modern life. And homophobia is a key part of that group’s philosophy.
Oh, sure, you may think Queerty sees homophobia lurking behind every flag pin. But the facts bear it out. Consider:
The extreme right-wing House Republicans who have been calling the shots have been dubbed ”the Chik-fil-A Caucus” by the Los Angeles Times. Why? Because the group orders sandwiches from that fast food emporium to show their support for the company president’s staunch opposition to marriage equality.
All the polling from the shutdown show that the Republicans have taken a devastating hit to their popularity, with favorable numbers that are so low that some chronic diseases could run against the party and win. Yet, there is one group that is standing by the shutdown caucus: evangelical Christians. (The Tea Party is the only other group that loves the shutdown.) More specifically, some of the antigay right’s leading figures are ecstatic about the House GOP’s nihilism. For example, John Stemberger told the National Journal that shutting down the government was the right thing to do. Obamacare is objectionable enough to make this kind of a stand to show how odious it is.” Stemberger is best known to Queerty readers as the founder of OnMyHonor.net, the group formed as a “Christian values” alternative to the Boy Scouts.
The leaders of the House conservatives haven’t exactly hidden their homophobia either. Rep. Raul Labrador has introduced a bill that would protect groups that don’t want to recognize marriage equality. Rep. Steve King has a lengthy and loony record of homophobia that includes threatening to take money away from the Department of Justice for its refusal to defend DOMA. Rep. Louis Gohmert was wondered aloud how homosexuality advances the human species. Rep. Phil Gingrey wants schools to teach kids traditional gender roles as an antidote to marriage equality. The list could go on and on.
What’s at stake here isn’t Obamacare or the deficit or the debt ceiling. It’s an unshaped despair about modernity. Any one or all of the issues could have triggered the current crisis. If circumstances were right, the trigger could have been Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, or marriage equality, or restrictions on a woman’s right to choose. The right wing sees a world that is rapidly changing and they don’t like it one bit. The U.S. is becoming less white, less religious and more tolerant. The right believes it is the last fort standing to defend America. So don’t believe that money is the only issue in the current crisis. You’re right there in the thick of it too.
Photo credit: J. Sonder