The worst thing about the fact that Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump’s lead in the polls seems to actually grow every time he says increasingly racist and Islamaphobic shit isn’t the fact that he might actually carry out the threat of banning Muslim entry to the US or deporting what he considers to be “illegal” aliens, it’s that his current popularity signals that the country itself is ready for a return to the Hard Right.
It was bound to happen. Political trends change like fashion trends.
Only the very young or very stupid ever get caught up into thinking that the way things are they’ll always be.
And if you’re an OG like me you know that the 60’s were a freewheeling time where an attitude similar to today’s spirit of rebellion and revolution was in.
Then, like now, the country eventually began to hate its kids and wanted to discipline them. So what did we do? We elected Richard Milhous Nixon who wasted no time in proving that the shit that used to fly under Johnson and Kennedy just wasn’t gonna fly under him.
I mean sure, the Kennedy and Johnson administrations oversaw the murders of prominent Blacks like Malcolm, Martin and Medgar, but Nixon gave us Kent State. He killed white kids. We knew for a fact he wasn’t fucking around.
But for a while the spirit Of the 60’s lived on in the 70’s, we got Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and for anybody dense enough to think tolerance as far as sexuality is concerned is a new thing, there’s a scene in 1971’s Shaft where John Shaft – the personification of the macho Black male aesthetic – lets his gay friend not only grab but actually squeeze his ass!
And even this was nothing new.
This wave, which actually started in the late 50’s and was typified by the sort of wink-and-nod acceptance typified by the Tony Randall roles in, ironically, all those Rock Hudson movies. And those were made, amazingly enough, after the McCarthy hearings – a most intolerant time – when that cool commie you used to party with because he was just so chic and all your red leaning and artistic friends became people that you might have to stand up in front of a Senate committee and testify against.
How would you have held up?
Another thing about Americans is that we’re all tough guys when a television screen separates us from the action but it would be interesting to see what anybody would do with their livelihood on the line and a family to consider.
Do you get your ass blacklisted and starve?
Or do you name names?
I only mention all this because old-school gays like old-school blacks have watched all the recent results of protests and rights granted with what Toni Morrison would call a “jaundiced eye”.
Still, if I were gay, I’d be concerned.
When the tide changes – as it will – will my phone still ring? Will I still be popular at parties or even get invites? Will my fellow advocates who seemed so enthusiastic reveal themselves to have been trend-chasers and avoid me publicly and denounce or deny even knowing me from the privacy of their newly formed circles?
Will I be abandoned, alone and unloved or worse yet; will I have thrown in my lot with those that name names?