Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Jolting Walk Down Memory Lane

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The winter holidays have come to an exhausted close and 2012 is upon us. The last of the Christmas cookies have been eaten and dried out spruce trees line the sidewalks waiting to be carted off. And now the attention shifts in earnest from retail frenzy to the US presidential election. Or rather who will run against Barack Obama in November. Maureen Dowd summed it up pretty well in a recent NY Times OP-Ed piece entitled The Grating Santorum, "But the whole Republican field seems ensconced in a black-and-white ’50s diorama. It’s like they’re running for president of Leave It to Beaverland."

A clever turn-of-phrase Maureen, but what if were to happen? Santorum may be the worst of the lot with his religious and family values infused anti-gay, anti-feminist, anti-black remarks but Perry, Gingrich and Romney are not far behind. If any one of them were to become president, it's not hard to imagine that many hard won victories such as the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell and the strides being made in marriage equality could be wiped away or severely curtailed. And that would be just the beginning.

With high levels of economic, social, and political turmoil in evidence, the world is in need of some near-at-hand scapegoats. A minority group already feared and despised by many for their sexual practices, demands for equal rights and indifference to televised team sports, is the perfect choice, as it has often been in the past. A homophobic president, along with a few well-placed religious bodies, could make things tougher than they already are for gay people, not only in the US but around the world. It's not a pretty thought but one that must be considered.

Leave It to Beaverland may inhabit a warm and fuzzy spot in many people's memories, but I for one have no desire to journey back there in real life. And if you feel the same way, get out there and take some action to ensure that the 1950's and all its moral, social and political baggage stays where it belongs, in the past.

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