By Jay Hansen
(Originally published December 15th, 2011)
A week or so overdue, but I’d like to congratulate Rick Perry for his latest accomplishment. He has broken the world record for most disliked video in youtube history, shattering Rebecca Black’s Friday, which has 272,836 dislikes as of 1:19 PM December 13th, 2011. Rick Perry’s latest campaign ad, which is massively and openly bigoted towards the LGBT community, has an astounding 663,591 dislikes (at the same date and time). Damn Rick; you bring sucking to all new levels, well over doubling the dislikes of the worst song ever made. Congrats.
Shockingly, he allowed the video to be embedded. So here it is:
Oh wait, that’s not it. It’s this one below. They’re so similar I get them confused, sorry.
In the time it took me to write and publish this article the number of dislikes has grown by 18,741. My faith in humanity is somewhat restored.
Rick Perry’s such outspoken hatred of homosexuals is a reoccurring theme within the Republican Party and right-wing culture today. At the same time though, more and more conservative politicians so strongly opposed to the LGBT community are turning out to actually be homosexual, or at least bisexual, themselves (some of them some of them can be read about here). Naturally, this leads people to the assumption that the more outspoken someone is against homosexuality, the higher likelihood that he or she is actually gay. We all know that, or at least we’ve all heard it, even if jokingly, but why is that? I’m writing this article for those among us, particularly in such a red state, that don’t understand this fundamental, logical claim, so if you’re well acquainted with how it works this article is not really for you. Like this flowchart, this piece is largely for the… less intelligent among us.
Sexual suppression is a major roll, given how much the Republican Party demonizes sexuality in general, but specifically for homosexuality it’s largely an issue of projection. Projection is one of the leading defense mechanisms of our mind when faced with cognitive dissonance. When a person “projects,” he or she actually convinces him or herself that everyone else has the problem with which he or she is trying to cope. Most famously and definitively is perhaps that of Dr. Marcus Bachmann, the husband of Presidential candidate Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann. His story is largely typical of exactly what I’m talking about, so we shall use him as an abstract for all right-wingers that preach the same ideology.
While his comment likening homosexuals to barbarians is terrible, I find Dr. Bachmann’s comments on the nature of human sexuality far more revealing. Dr. Bachmann says it’s perfectly normal for adolescents to wonder about sexuality, and that there’s nothing wrong about that. More importantly though, he seems to be under the impression that it’s normal for young heterosexual men to fantasize about having sex with other men, and that even experimenting with homosexuality is perfectly normal for straight teenagers.
The problem is, for heterosexuals, it’s not. Dr. Bachmann seems to be of the opinion that heterosexuals fantasize about and experiment with homosexual relations, which simply isn’t true. If he himself is a heterosexual, then these thoughts would have never occurred to him because heterosexuals have no desire, instinct, or attraction for people of the same gender. The only way he could be of the opinion otherwise is if his own personal experience in life involved fantasizing or experimenting with homosexual behavior when he was younger, which means that Dr. Bachmann, at least to some degree, is homosexual or bisexual.
In order to justify his own homosexual fantasizes, though, Dr. Bachmann diminishes them by saying that it’s “perfectly normal” for heterosexual people to still fantasize or experiment with homosexual behavior. In other words, he projects his self-perceived flaws onto everyone else to make him feel (what in his mind is) “normal.”
Dr. Bachmann then went on past his adolescent years to live a life where homosexuality was demonized at every turn and spoken of as “abnormal,” forcing him to suppress this part of himself and live a life where he, in his terms, “chooses” not to be gay. To him, suppression of instinct or ignoring one’s sexual orientation is the equivalent to making a choice, because as he highlights in the hyperlinked video, he classifies all sexuality and human desire as sinful, which is a common preaching of the church. From the church’s perspective, then, homosexuality is a “choice” insofar that all sexuality; be it gay, straight, or otherwise, is a “choice” because they’ve been teaching people to suppress sexual urges for thousands of years, and thus, teaching them to “choose” not to have sex at all, and to only use it for the purpose of procreation. As history progressed, of course, we found out that is extremely unhealthy, denies us a vital part of the human experience, and forces us to ignore extremely important, defining elements of ourselves. Society has long since embraced this ideology for heterosexual relations, but why should it be any different for homosexual relations, given they are just as poignant, defining, and healthy as any other?
All of these influences; the church’s opposition to human desire of any type, especially homosexuality, his own suppression of his sexuality, and the increasing of tolerance in society, led Dr. Bachmann to become an avoid spokesperson against homosexuality, because he wanted to fight off what in his mind was an illness sweeping across mankind that he had “survived.” In his own mind, he’s made himself into a hero figure fighting off his natural desires through a complex system of psychological defense mechanisms.
This is exactly why we see so many of the most outspoken people against homosexuality turn out to actually be homosexual. It’s a complex maze of psychological defense mechanisms composed largely so the person in question can conform and “fit in” better into whatever society or community of which they are part. When it comes to those projecting their own homosexuality onto all of society for the sake of conformity, the community to which they are attempting to conform is almost always Christian, or otherwise deeply religious, as it is religions that are the most prominently opposed to homosexuality. This, of course, leads us to the last step in our circle, because which Party is it that defines itself on its deep convictions to religion? And which Party vehemently speaks out against homosexuality?
So when you hear a politician, religious figure, or other sort of leader speaking out against homosexuality, there’s at least a 25% chance that they’re gay. I keep that number so low because there are a great many politicians, even Republicans, that largely either don’t care or have little interest in the matter, and only side against them because the party establishment demands it. In reality, these politicians are just part of the Republican Party for the money – they could care less about sexuality. Now, if someone speaks out vehemently against homosexuality, and makes it their number one issue, such as Senator Santorum, there’s at least a 50% chance they’re gay. The other 50% that aren’t are simply people intolerant of anyone different from what they accept as normal, and would not be tolerated among civilized people for their hatred of other communities of society such as races or religions. Finally, if a politician insists that sexual orientation is a “choice,” raise a huge red flag. If a politician is powerfully insistent that sexual orientation is a choice, then that tells you he or she is making a “choice,” in his or her own mind, to be heterosexual. And as I elaborated above, if they are “choosing” to be straight, does that not imply that the “alternative” to that “choice” exists in their minds, and part of themselves?
So, Rick Perry, what does your campaign ad really tell us about you?
As a quick endnote though, I’d just like to mention that I’m well aware that sexuality is not black and white. With my word choice, I was afraid I was painting that kind of picture by using terminology such as gay vs. straight, or homosexual vs. heterosexual, but I didn’t know how else to write it given the context. Sexuality is a spectrum, so it’s very much possible that people such as Dr. Bachmann are 75% straight, 25% gay (they guy did get married to a woman and have many kids, after all). This spectrum, however, only widens the possibility that homosexual thoughts and desires have already occurred to those politicians that claim it’s a “choice” by widening the variations of human sexuality from individual to individual. Plus, making the “choice” to ignore homosexual instincts is almost certainly much easier for someone who is 75% straight than it is for someone who is only 25% straight, increasing the likelihood of politicians, and voters, simply being unable to sympathize, or put themselves in other people’s shoes, simply because they literally don’t know any better and can’t experience such an intimate part of someone else’s persona.