As most of you have read by now, at this weekend's Conservative Political Action Conference, Ann Coulter called John Edwards a "faggot."
Most of us on the left pay little attention to the harpy Coulter. As Atrios wrote yesterday, she is very predictable, and not worth getting excited over. Atrios did point out one problem, however. While she is clearly an unapologetic homophobe and racist--Coulter continues to secure media appearances!
After her comment, the Edwards camp issued a standard response about hateful language and diversity. Edwards said all the right things and even took the opportunity to beg for some much-needed campaign money, or Coulter Cash as it is being called. Howard Dean also issued a statement saying there is "no place in political discourse for this kind of hate-filled and bigoted comment."
But I am feeling that we on the left missed an opportunity here. Trouble is, I'm not exactly sure what should have taken place--but I still sensed an underlying hesitation to actually defend/support/endorse gays and lesbians.
Yes, all the correct positions came from official liberal voices--and I know there is a campaign going on. But there was no effort to make this a moment when the left would speak out on homosexuality, on inclusion, on gay marriage, on America becoming a better society. This might have been one of those instances when we could have advanced those issues--educated the public. Coulter handed us something and I think we fumbled it just a bit.
My worry is that the Democratic powers-that-be, and even many of the leftist blogging community, remain afraid of this issue.....or maybe somewhat homophobic themselves. As one blogger wrote--and I wholeheartedly agree with her--"calling someone a faggot is still considered the worst insult ever." Is that true?
Again, I apologize for not offering some clever solution. But it is about time we on the left treat this as a unambiguous human rights problem. And in order to do that, we need to stop running from the issue.....we need to stop believing that being called gay is an insult.
Ann Coulter helped us out this weekend, but the Democrats/left didn't do enough with it. The blogging community offered comment-after-comment castigating Coulter and calling her everything from a bitch to a skank--and worse. But while we laughed and congratulated ourselves for receiving a gift.....we might have missed a chance to teach some people that being homosexual is normal and nothing to be ashamed of. When will we start advancing those positions?