John Oliver had a busy week. In addition to possibly helping to rewrite tax law (and that’s a big “possibly” since CBS never actually identifies who is applying the pressure (seriously CBS, you’re reporting about a show that did an amazing job of thoroughly researching and presenting a story. Pick up a point or two.)), he then presented a really novel idea: What if we treated gay people like people?
Much like the sex education segment Oliver doesn’t need to work hard to find examples of how poorly gay people are treated in the U.S., but it was still surprising how awful it could be. And surprising that most of the protections now afforded to gay people on a federal level could be reversed the first day of President Trump’s term.
But here’s the part that really struck me: why are we asking presidential candidates if they’d go to a gay wedding and who the fuck cares about their answer?
I get that it’s one of those humanizing, personal questions that’s supposed to offer some insight into the candidate’s private thoughts and feelings. Or what I call “things I don’t care about.” Because I hate thinking of the candidates as actual people. What are your personal beliefs on a subject? I don’t care about that. I want to know what laws you’ll try to push through Congress, not your feelings. Which candidate would I most like to get a beer with? The one who says, “What are you an idiot? I can’t get a beer right now. I’m trying to become President of the United States.” I understand that as the nation’s figurehead, the president is supposed to be the person we most want to represent us, and as such we’d want someone respectable and personable. But I do not give a shit if that respectable, personable President actually hates the gays or just doesn’t agree with gay marriage.
Because that is what that question boils down to. Even people who disagree with gay marriage no longer want to be perceived as hating gay people. “I don’t hate gays! I love gays! I just went to my gay friend’s wedding! I just don’t think that the union that wedding solidified should be legally recognized or treated any level of dignity! But I don’t hate gay people! No!” It’s the worst form of backhanded “acceptance” the GOP has come up with in a long time. The appearance of being tolerant, loving and kind on a personal level while attempting to strip gay citizens of their basic rights on a societal level. It says the candidate is willing to injure people on a national level while still being a “nice guy.”
And in what is probably the only case of me agreeing with Roy Cohen, fuck nice.