Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Politics Make Strange Bedfellows

On December 12th the fourth largest city in the United States, Houston, Texas, elected an openly gay mayor. Annise Parker ran against an African-American candidate, Gene Locke. To his credit, Mr. Locke did not raise the issue of Ms. Parker’s sexuality. The opponents ran on issues and not personal attacks or personalities. Mr. Locke was a former city attorney and ran on flushing out crime in the city. Ms. Parker, City Controller, ran on a platform of the ability to handle the city budgets and municipal affairs.

While the candidates stuck to their platforms and focused on what they felt would make them the next mayor of Houston the campaign got strange because a group of black pastors began to speak out against Ms. Parker making reference to her “gay” agenda an agenda that she was not running on. Ms. Parker did not reference her sexuality in the primary or the final election process. It appears that a contengent group of African American pastors of Houston had a real problem with Ms. Parker based on her sexuality and nothing more. They to aligned themselves with conservative right wing individuals. This alliance is odd and disturbing because we (African-Americans) seem to jump at the chance with aligning ourselves with those who would give less than a damned about us but find it convienent to use us because of our stance when it comes to gay issues. Let me say this infatically, the conservative right have never made any bones about the fact that they are not about to support the things that matter most to the African-American community. They have never been silent in who they are, yet we have pastors, men and women we consider as stallworth figures in our community, sit and strategize with them.  So are they betraying the community as a whole?  The idea that sitting down with someone that only wants to use you and your community to serve their own agenda and you do this repeatedly at this point and time in history actually turns my stomach. The conservative right comes calling everytime a city attempts to pass marriage equality legislation in cities around this country. We always seem to have selective amnesia about people who only want our support for their own political gain. Knowing this, we never fail to disappoint “the enemy” and we jump at the chance to join the sadistic party of strange bedfellows. This alliance just adds to the image that some pastors are hypocritical human beings. Let us not be fooled the “closet” is full of men and women that get up every Sunday morning put on their pastor attire and attack the LGBT community. Every African-American pastor sits in their pulpits every Sunday watching and listening to LGBT members of the church serve in the choir, deacon and trustee boards as well in the pulpits at their places of worship they are systematically fighting to keep them all in the closet to help perpetuate a climate of self destruction. We have yet to connect the dots and understand that this silence and lack of support is killing us in many ways for it give license to sick minds to abuse men and women in the LGBT community, makes men and women afraid to express who they truly are, etc.

I applaude both Mr. Locke and Ms. Parker for running a campaign that focused on the issues and not on personal attacks. I also congratulate the Houstonians for electing someone they chose based on qualifications.

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