Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Update: Alan Keyes

I'm aware that the Alan Keyes stuff seems pretty far removed from the subject of film, but I'm going to continue posting it anyway. Yes, it's not immediately on-topic, but Keyes is one of the top "culture warriors" in the U.S. and a frequent ally of the pro-censorship forces that threaten all art including film, so if you want a connection there it is.

The developing news story around the former Republican presidential candidate and hardline anti-gay-rights activist, i.e. that his daughter Maya is a lesbian and that that fact has (allegedly) led to her being thrown out of the family home and cut off financially, has hit the mainstream media following TV News interviews involving Maya herself. You may have already heard about the story here, or from bloggers Andrew Sullivan and Oliver Willis.

Worldnetdaily.com, an independent political news site catering to the hard-end of the Religious Right that offered it's support to Keyes during his recent Senate run against Barack Obama, gives their take on the story here:
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=42867

The article includes a lengthy quote from Mrs. Keyes, where she fills out some of the details in the story. For example, she has apparently been "out" to her parents since High School, which means that the fact of his daughter's lifestyle was already known to Alan and in his mind during his recent hard-fought fights against that very same lifestyle. This is not a pleasant thought.

This particular peice from Mrs. Keye's thoughts on her father strikes me as especially poignant:
"It was weird to see what he said all over the news, but the remarks themselves weren't any shock to me; it's no different than what he believes and says at home as well."

This whole thing, honestly, makes me sick to my stomache and deeply pained for all involved. Yes, Maya Keyes in particular but in a way even her father. I've followed Keyes' career for quite some time, and it was always "one thing" to hear his hateful words about gays under the assumption that they were coming from just the latest in a long line of angry "traditionalists" with little connection to the reality of which they spoke... But to now know that he has said what he said and stood for what he has stood for... to know that when he called an entire group "motivated by selfish hedonism" that he was not only conciously talking about Dick Cheney's daughter (as the news made hay of at the time) but his own child when he did so... that's another thing entirely. The picture being painted here is of a profoundly disturbed man, and I find I simply cannot grasp the sorts of things that must be wrong with a person to make him treat his own family in this regard. For me, it is simply beyond words.

Look, I can't guess at what the political, religious or otherwise beliefs are of people reading this blog entry, and I don't really care. I imagine it's mighty tempting for some who fall on the "progressive" side of social issues, like myself, to look at this situation as "good" because it will likely be the end of Keyes' stature as a figure of record (his own party, which already refused to support his Senate run, will likely cast him aside given the seeming callousness of his behavior here), and while that may be "good news for the good guys" in the long run, I don't think there can be any legitimate response to hearing of this other than sadness.

I don't care what you think about gay rights, gay marriage, or what you thought of Keyes in the past or think of him now. The facts here (as we know them thus far) are beyond mere politics: Somewhere in America right now, a family is torn apart. A young woman is out on her own, cast out from her house by her parents. A man is going to bed knowing that he sent his own child away from his home. It doesn't matter which family it happened to, or for what reason, it's a plain and simple tragedy. And one that is, sadly, happening in a hundred other homes to a thousand other people who's names we'll never know.