3 min

As a gay man, what’s at stake in this election?

One of the many drawbacks to being a hermit is losing sight of the bigger picture. While I continue to open myself up to new experiences, I still find myself burying my head in the sand from time to time.

Lately, I have found myself addicted to a new soap opera. It is a tale of extreme power and influence, of the preposterous elite, the haves and the have-mores. It is the American presidential race.

Back in high school, I always paid more attention to the blood-soaked history lessons of our neighbours to the south than the comparably soft-core developments of our own country’s story. 

I became enthralled by the dark, cruel and romantic series of events that made up the country that has become a thorn in the planet’s side.

Given what I have read and what I see, I am profoundly grateful to be a Canuck.

The unfolding drama south of the border makes for great television viewing. Two sides, representing a strengthening divide, are waging a war of ideals. A frustrated population must make a choice between the idealistic Democrats and the fear-mongering Republicans. Who will win? Who will lead the world’s superpower into the next decade? Will change ever come?

I suppose what concerns me most about the current American political climate is the very existence of a party like the Republican one. To me, they seem so shrouded in mystery and secrecy.

When I think of a Republican, I think of the boogey man. Are they really so threatening? Or are they big softies with a bad rap from what they proclaim to be the liberal media?

Well, they did give us eight years of Bush. What a ride.

I think it was the selection of Sarah Palin as McCain’s running mate that sparked this newfound interest in politics. Before her, all the rhetoric I heard about McCain was that he was distancing himself from the Bush Administration and how he was a little more liberal in his views.

Then, the cat was let out of the proverbial bag.

All the media attention being paid to Obama was redirected to the Governor of Alaska.

She appears to be the complete antithesis of all I stand for. She belongs to the NRA, is against abortion, denies the truth of evolution, wants Creationism taught in schools, is against looking for alternative sources of energy and opposes same-sex marriage (just to pinpoint a few beliefs) 

In short, she represents everything I have come to despise about American social conservatism.

I was at the Odyssey one night, when a trio of lookers and I struck up a conversation. The three were visiting from the States and having themselves a gay old time on the other side. As usual, I felt compelled to express my sympathies for their current predicament.

Republicans have proven themselves to be the most resistant to change. Their inability to evolve with the rest of society has halted the progress of their queer population.

Although many a Democrat seems opposed to the idea of same-sex marriage, it is the Republicans who have been shacking up with the religious Right. They couldn’t agree more.

What is perhaps worse than denying human rights is offering them and then taking them away.

Gay men and women finally have the right to marry in the state of California. Even Ellen and Portia took the plunge. However, with Proposition 8, this right could be taken away.

I am reminded of the time in 2004 when San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom flipped the bird at California law and allowed queer couples to marry in his city. Hundreds flocked to the Gay Mecca only to find their licenses null and void by year’s end.

In the midst of following the election race, I was caught completely off guard by our own impending federal election. Admittedly, I hadnít been paying much attention.

I do know that Stephen Harper seems like a cuddly Care Bear compared to the soul-sucking shenanigans of McCain, Palin and their legion of scared-y cats and worrywarts.

I now have to incorporate the same zest and curiosity I have given to the south to my own government.

As a gay man, what is at stake?

Realizing I feel so much animosity toward the more conservative elements in our society and abroad, I know I need to take a closer look. I have to choose a side.

A spotlight was shone on my own ignorance lately.

I have been voicing my opinion about Harper and his Progressive Conservatives for so long. Little did I realize that they haven’t called themselves Progressive Conservatives since 2003.

Apparently, I have a lot of homework to do.

As a voter, I have difficulty seeing myself as anything but a gay man. It is my sexual orientation that seems to dictate who I would like to see as Prime Minister. I freely admit that any other policies, ideals and promises fall on deaf ears when I discover where a candidate stands on maintaining and supporting gay rights. Sexuality is just too hot a topic. 

For the next few weeks, I am going to bone up on Canadian politics. I will eat, sleep and breathe everything from the Greens and the NDPs to the Libs and… the bringers of evil… I mean, Conservatives.

It only took 30 years, but I think my infantile apathy may be a thing of the past.

Who knows? I might discover myself switching to a new side.

Who knows? I might even be a Conservative and not know it.