Can I take 3 minutes to convert your political beliefs?

The Indiana Republican Party is holding their convention this weekend. There is a debate about whether to remove marriage being defined as a man-and-a-woman in their official platform. Last night, the report came that Speaker of the House Brian Bosma is against it. Governor Holcomb dodged it and refused to form an opinion. It’s up to the delegates, and I have no idea how they’ll vote.

But as they’re voting, literally a half mile up the street Indiana’s largest gay Pride parade and festival will be marching along.

I’ve written about Pride before. To recap: I don’t quite understand it, and I’m still not convinced it helps win over the hearts and minds of the people that have hearts and minds that need reaching. But people have fun, it does no harm to me, and best I can tell it doesn’t cost a bunch of money from public funds (parking revenue losses may be a wash with other parking revenue elsewhere, and police presence may be a regular shift of officers. I don’t know.)

I know a lot of gay people. I know a lot of Republicans. And I know a lot of Democrats. I know two gay Republicans. I know that Republicans get booed, with few small exceptions (like former Mayor Greg Ballard), and most of the people there are firmly in support of the Democrats. It’s not hard to imagine why.

But this does not align with reality. We know that about half of the population has to be conservatively-minded and half are progressive and liberal. It’s been this way forever. So how can you have that many thousands of diverse individuals at Pride and not have more than half a dozen people in favor of a narrowly defined government, cost savings, and personal freedoms?

You can’t. At least a third of the people there have some conservative ideals.

Over the years I have shifted between political parties, often voting fiercely independent in each election. But this does no one any favors because it still rewards bad behavior. There’s one party that is so hung up by civil liberties and personal freedoms they can’t help be renege on their own platform and deny them to people. This is idiotic and hypocritical.

But for the millions of gay men and women looking for a party, the Democrats are “the least bad choice” in most but not all circumstances around their personal freedoms. But what if you think charter schools might be worth looking at? What if you don’t think a government program is a solution to a problem? This is no way to live. This is no way to run a country or a state. Because then you’re tied to the baggage of the rest of the platform.

If you’re reading this and nodding slightly in agreement — regardless of our sexual orientation — consider if the Libertarian Party isn’t exactly who you are. Consider that maybe people should be free to do with their bodies as they wish, love who they choose, take part in safe, lawful events as they choose, and also we can do things in this country without it being a government program. That maybe there are some cost savings yet to be found in a few places. That maybe some government programs do more harm than good. Perhaps the solution to not every problem is an increase in taxes, but a re-alignment of taxes. That the best way to honor our veterans is to avoid sending them to more wars. And that maybe, just maybe, adults are free agents capable of deciding what’s best for them in every circumstance of their own lives. Perhaps a policy of “do no harm” is ideal.

A lot of this used to be the Republican Party, which does not seem to exist anymore. Someone once told me the reason they don’t vote Libertarian is because “Libertarians don’t win”. Well, you know what changes that, right?

Thoughts on Pride

The older I get the more I recognize the world is full of a lot of gray areas. One that evades me, however, is Pride. It exists in a, uh, much more colorful space.

June, and more specifically this weekend, is Pride, the annual event for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people to come together. So far so good.

The event is marked by a parade. So far, I’m still with you. Except this isn’t so much a parade as a borderline offensive display of people’s naughty bits.

Let’s be clear on one thing: gay pride parades are really only known in the public consciousness for men in underwear. Or men dressed as women, or women dressed as men and also possibly naked, but usually less so.

For years I have thought, “People walking around mostly naked is not helping.” It associates gay and lesbian people with lewd behavior or, worse, poor taste and a disregard for some pretty easy social norms. I have said so consistently and every year it doesn’t improve. When you have to work to get the majority – in this case, middle and upper aged white people – to think of you as an equal or at least not vote against you, this doesn’t help.

Supporters have long said Pride parades and festivals are a way to get in front of the general public, to make people more accepting by effectively becoming desensitized to the gay and lesbian community.

Except I don’t know that I’ve ever met a straight person who saw a pride parade and thought, “You know what, they’re all right. Let’s stop voting against them.”

The gay rights movement in this country has seen unparalleled success, but it’s probably more because of Glee, Frasier, and other primetime television shows that put gay and lesbian characters in relatively normal, but somewhat different, situations from straight counterparts.

I’ll probably end up at this Saturday’s Pride parade and it’ll be my third one. But it’ll probably be like last year: watch the parade and wonder how the City doesn’t get sued for issuing the permit and see it as an excuse for perpetuating the stereotype of over-sexed gay men and women. And also drinking before noon.

I’m not sure it helps, but they keep doing it, so maybe eventually everyone will become desensitized. The libertarian in me says “Whatever”, But I get why so many straight people are repulsed and turned off by it.

I’m thankful efforts by so many people to come out to their friends and families have been able to temper the knee-jerk reaction people have toward the community at large.