Politics: When Hate is Normal

First posted Jun 17, 2016

 

Political ideologues know what’s going on inside of angry men like Dan White, and they know how to use it.

 

A homophobic Meme showing Donald Trump saying, Get in Faggot, We're Making America Great Again
Homophobic Meme found on Twitter

Dan White grew up a world of normalized homophobia.

Queers were criminals in the eyes of the law, abominations to the Judeo-Christian God, and described as clinically deviant by psychiatry.

White’s political leaders and ministers told him his honor as a man was under attack; they said perverts like Harvey Milk were a threat to everything decent God-fearing patriots like Dan White revered.

Dan White was a straight man.

Dan White was a Viet Nam Vet.

Dan White was a devout Catholic.

Religious and political leaders on the right raged that fags like Harvey Milk and liberals like George Moscone deserved death.

If Dan White was a patriot, he was misguided.

Political leaders who use hate speech to ‘fire up’ their base know that some of those people will act on what they hear.

I assume they want it.

meme of Ted Cruz saying there is no room for athiests and gays in America in a speech at Liberty University.
The cynical use of hate speech to win votes.

Dan White had every reason to think he’d be seen as a hero when he gunned
down Harvey Milk and George Moscone in 1978.

Herb Cain, a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, wrote after the trial about the police Department’s support for White, and their “dislike of homosexuals.”

As a former police officer, White must have known he could use some form of the ‘Gay Panic’ defense and get a reduced sentence.

 Historically, in US courts, use of the gay panic defense has not typically resulted in the acquittal of the defendant; instead, the defendant was usually found guilty, but on lesser charges, or judges and juries may have cited homosexual solicitation as a mitigating factor, resulting in reduced culpability and sentences. Wikipedia

That’s what happened.

Whites defense attorney’s argued diminished mental capacity.

On May 21, 1979, a jury found Dan White guilty of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced him to five years in prison; he was paroled in 1984.

“A middle-class jury, not a bunch of kooks by any stretch, had decided one can kill, twice, complete with coup de grace, and get away with it.” Herb Caen, People Magazine, 1985

Dan White killed himself in 1985.

“Nobody knows what’s going on inside of me,” Dan White once said, but he
was wrong.

Political ideologues know what’s going on inside of angry men like Dan White, and they know how to use it.

A meme that depicts a permit to hunt democrata and liberals
Liberal Hunting Permit found on a right wing website in 2016

(c) Rob Goldstein 2015-2016

First posted Jun 17, 2016 as Turn or Burn, When Hate Becomes Normal

 

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Poetry: Grandma Said

Grandma said

the poor go first,

kids like me,

she said–

if the war

don’t end–

but I was

too delicate,

too pretty,

too likely to kiss

the gook’

if he was

cute.

Rob Goldstein, March 2019

 

 

 

I Will Tell You These Secrets

Your touch

is a

soothing

caress

and when

we touch

my heart

beats within

your chest.

I think of you

each morning,

I look for you

each night,

I remember

your embrace

and savor the

memory of my

delight.

How can I express

the power

of my gratitude?

To hold you,

to know that

I am safe,

sheltered from

the pain

of these

memories

that

consume

me.

I look into

your eyes

and see

that you are

not

afraid.

I can never

repay you

for the wonder

you bring,

but I can tell

you these secrets:

you kiss my lips and open my heart

you touch me and awaken my body

you gaze into my eyes and heal

my soul,

and when you hold me,

I am complete.

 

(c) Rob Goldstein 2015-2019

 

I first posted ‘I Will Tell You These Secrets in August 2016 as an experiment in
the use of VR and video to stage a performance.  As I review the video I can
see what works but I think it lacks maturity.

I’ve revised the poem and re-posted it because it is a heartfelt expression of
love and gratitude.

In the interests of transparency I’ve left the video as part of the post.

What do you think?

 

 

If you celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope yours is warm and safe.

Rob Goldstein