Radical/Progressive Queer News and Commentary
from Memphis, Tennessee
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Reconsidering Becky Ruppe
Evidently my attacks on Becky Ruppe (the "pro-life, pro-gun", anti-gay "Democratic" candidate for the TN Senate) are getting under her skin. She is now quoting me in her campaign flyers! Read more about Becky Ruppe's attacks on gays, me and the U.S. Constitution over on the Scott County Liberals (& Friends)
"If there was any doubt that Becky Ruppe is an authentic social conservative, she has dispelled it with a campaign circular distributed in area newspapers this week. She seems so eager to distance herself from the more socially progressive platform of her party's national committee that the word "Democrat" is altogether absent from this piece of campaign literature. (Neither, for that matter, does she declare her party affiliation anywhere on her campaign website, nor in the one radio advertisement I've heard for her candidacy.) Again, it's not unusual in the South for Democrats to buck the party's national-level agenda. What gives us pause is her willingness to belittle an entire section of the traditionally Democratic constituency in order to get elected.
The last page of the circular reads like it might have been written by any fundamentalist Republican candidate. Ruppe repeats her commitment to the "Rural Tennessee Values" of being "Pro-life 100%" (I'm not sure exactly what that means; are there exceptions for adult rape, or rape of a minor, or incest, or endangerment of the woman's health or life? Ruppe hasn't been forthcoming that I can determine); "100% pro-gun" with an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association; and the pledge that she will "make all [her] decisions regarding [the legal rights of gay couples] based on Christian values." Of course, Ruppe doesn't use the term "legal rights of gay couples"; she casts up the distracting smokescreen of defense-of-traditional-marriage and raises the specter of "gay marriage" as though it's something more than a phantom issue, a dodge to rally popular support. "Gay marriage" isn't a religious issue or even a moral issue: it's a civil rights issue, a question of whether or not the equal protection of the laws as mandated in our Constitution shall extend to all citizens. The Democratic platform for 2008 understands this. Of course, the distinction is an easy one to avoid when you're running for office, and Becky Ruppe does so with the all the deftness of a biblically-correct Republican.
She goes one better in her campaign flyer and dives headlong into the sort of religio-social warfare that would do Sarah Palin proud. She wastes no time in identifying Jim Maynard, a gay rights activist in Memphis who has been critical of Ruppe, as "a gay atheist" (which he is) who "says he is a gay, atheist, humanist, socialist" (so he does). She quotes Maynard's defense of the Constitution as a wholly secular instrument of government (which it is) as though he's not only wrong, but that his clear understanding of this nation's foundational principles somehow represents a threat to the American way of life. She quotes another internet commenter as pointing out that one might expect a female candidate for office who would have had no legal electoral rights a handful of decades ago to be "more open minded." Given that Ms. Ruppe quotes this as an example of an attack against her and her stand on gay rights, should we take from this that she considers open-mindedness in public service a bad thing? When she quotes this woman as saying that "she [Ruppe] will work to stop us... from being able to adopt, stop us from having the same legal rights that other married or even 'common law' couples will have" and does so without comment or clarification, should we assume that if Becky Ruppe is elected she would do exactly that? " --
And Congratulations to the Scott County Liberals for withdrawing their endorsement of Becky Ruppe!
"As gay rights activist Jim Maynard has observed, it's better to lose on principle than to win by sacrificing one's principles. We can't afford to settle for just any ol' Democrat, much less one who campaigns on fear and loathing."