I wrote this piece for The Advocate earlier this week. I decided to re-post it here as my last post here for a while. I am going to do some work on this website over the next couple of months, so I am not going to generate any more content here until I unveil my new design some time this summer.

When Right vs. Left Becomes Right vs. Wrong

The recent backlash and boycotts sparked after gay New York businessmen Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass hosted a meet-and-greet for presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz reminded me of 2008, when Manhunt’s Jonathan Crutchley was condemned for contributing to Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign. I thought to myself, Times change.

I thought the boycotts and backlash against Crutchley in 2008 were extreme and wrong, based on the standards and norms of that time. Today, we are living in a different time. Today, Ted Cruz’s views, which are more extreme than McCain’s ever were, are so far outside the mainstream that they are simply considered unacceptable to most Americans.

Sen. Cruz has mapped out the most antigay extreme path to the GOP nomination possible. He sent that message by announcing his candidacy at the late Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, and he has been beating the antigay drum on the campaign trail ever since. He’s doing that because there is still a large portion of the GOP primary electorate who hold the extreme views of the past.

I spent most of my career as an openly gay conservative Republican working in the trenches of the culture wars. Before I left the GOP last year, I worked to help conservatives to evolve culturally, specifically on attitudes and issues affecting LGBT Americans. I spent more than a decade engaging in dialogue with conservatives in an effort to help them. I always tried to keep the mood of the country in perspective when advocating for engagement and coalition with antigay politicians. Now, in 2015, we are way past the tipping point of public opinion in favor of equal treatment for gay Americans.

The bottom line is that Cruz and the Republican Party have failed to evolve. Cultural evolution has always played a role in American politics. Slavery, women’s suffrage, civil rights, the sexual revolution, women’s lib, and other cultural movements have all had an impact on policy and politics. Societal standards and norms change over time. When it comes to cultural issues in politics, it’s likely that today’s deeply held belief will become tomorrow’s untenable position. Eventually, right versus left becomes right versus wrong in voters’ minds. That doesn’t happen with every issue, but it’s important to recognize it when it does. We’ve seen it over and over again — political movements that fail to evolve will ultimately be left in the past. Remember the Dixiecrats?  Continue Reading…

Nobody’s Memories

April 24, 2015

This is a BEAUTIFUL ad from PFLAG – Canada. If this doesn’t get to you, then there’s something wrong with you!

 

Book!

February 24, 2015

Having spent most of my career at the intersection of culture & politics, standing up for what’s right in the trenches of the culture wars, I can tell you that I have seen and learned a lot along the way. I’ve decided to share my experiences and thoughts about them in a book, and I’m pleased to announce that NO HOPE: Why I Left the GOP (And You Should Too) will be published in the fall by Skyhorse Publishing.

I can’t wait to share my behind-the-scenes stories, and the ugly truth I learned from my dealings with some of the biggest names in the conservative movement and the Republican Party. That ugly truth ultimately led me to leave the GOP last year. I’ll also take the opportunity to give my take on the current political landscape, and I will lay out my vision for a path forward in 2016 and beyond.

All of my gratitude and thanks go to my agent Christopher Rhodes, with the James Fitzgerald Agency, for hanging in there with me and brokering the publishing deal, and to Krishan Trotman, my editor at Skyhorse, for having the courage to take the risk to make this important project a reality. Thank you!

Now, I have to get to work to finish the book so that we can get it out in October – right smack dab in the middle of 2016 GOP presidential primary campaign. (Yes, I do have some very interesting stories about several of the candidates.)

You’ll be hearing more from me soon!

 

UPDATE! – You can now pre-order it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

Obama’s Evolution

February 11, 2015

I appeared on HuffPost Live earlier today to join in a discussion over recent revelations that President Obama was (allegedly) secretly a supporter of civil marriage for gay couples, even though he held the public position against it in the 2008 campaign.

Honestly, I can’t condemn him for taking the most politically palatable position he could at the time, one in favor of civil unions. If I condemned him for that, then I would be very very busy trying to hold many other politicians to the same standard on that issue. Not only that, we can’t forget just how fast this issue has moved. I just don’t think that we should judge the actions taken in the past by today’s cultural standards and norms.  Continue Reading…

Race (Again)

January 29, 2015

I’m speechless. Honestly, I don’t really have any comments about this heartbreaking story from my old hometown of Rapid City, South Dakota. (That’s the part of the world where I went to high school and college.)

Read this Associated Press story about an incident of ugly racial slurs and taunts directed at a group of school children from the Pine Ridge Reservation who were at a hockey game. The outing to the game was a reward for the students’ academic achievement.

RAPID CITY, S.D. — The Rapid City Police Department has identified at least one person who is accused of harassing grade-school students from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation at a minor league hockey game.

Authorities are considering filing charges in the alleged incident during a Rapid City Rush game last Saturday, according to Police Chief Karl Jegeris.

“We’re going to be looking at assault. We’re going to look at the hate crimes statutes. We will look at the child abuse statutes. And, we will look at any other relevant statutes,” Jegeris said. He did not reveal the name of the person identified.

Chaperones for the students from the American Horse K-8 school in Allen said students were subjected to racial slurs and sprayed with beer. Fifty-seven students and eight chaperones attended the game. Some parents complained to Rapid City police, and the department opened an investigation Tuesday.

Read the entire story hereContinue Reading…

Kansas

January 20, 2015

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I am very pleased to announce that I am going to be a Dole Fellow at the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas this semester. I going to be leading a once-a-week afternoon study group entitled, “All Politics is Personal: 
A Gay Conservative Looks at the Culture Wars.”

The program is not for academic credit and it’s free and open to anyone to attend. I’ll have a special guest joining the group most weeks. We’ll announce who they’ll be once I get them confirmed.

Below is the description and the schedule. –

All Politics is Personal:
A Gay Conservative Looks at the Culture Wars

All politics is personal, but not all political issues are equal. Some issues, and the political dynamics around them, deal with who we are and how we live. These cultural issues are more personal and emotional than other issues in the public square. This study group will take a look at a few of the most contentious cultural issues of our time, and how the evolution of societal standards and norms can divide us politically.

Continue Reading…

Holding Hands

January 9, 2015

Panti Bliss (aka Rory O’Neill) absolutely brings it during this recent TEDx Talk -“All the Little Things.” Panti is 45 and fed up!

Please, please watch it. It’s important.

 

Nature Walk

January 5, 2015

My brother and I started our New Year right this year. Yesterday, we hiked around in the woods on a property our dad recently bought in Kentucky. It’s just beautiful.

Here is a little bit of it to help start your week off with some calm –