Posted by Tania Kindersley.
I'm back, and I have a question. My question is: why does the Right Wing hate poofs?
See? I'm back, baby.
This all came up because I was going to do a whole thing about the START treaty. This is so inexplicable and crazy-making that it is about to make my ears blow off. America is probably the country that fascinates me and baffles me most in the world, but this is too operatic even for them. The Republicans, the party of National Security and Law and Order and, oh you know, guns, as long as they do not belong to Kim Jong-il, are trying to sabotage a treaty which would MAKE THE WORLD SAFE FROM NUCLEAR WEAPONS. It's a treaty even Henry Kissinger loves, for God's sake. But not that old GOP, oh no. (If you think I am simplifying the thing, look it up on the Google. I am not exaggerating for comic effect.)
I genuinely do not understand, not one word of it. Pundits keep saying, vaguely, it's for political gain. Why would any party which has hopes of governing ever trash such a shiningly obviously blatantly good piece of legislation? Do they think all the voters will say, oh yes, I'll go with the people who want some crazy Afghan warlord to get his hands on all those loose nukes floating about in the Urals?
Anyway, it turned out I was so cross about it that I could not write anything coherent, so my mind wandered off into a contemplation of the Right in America generally, and how it is different from the Right here, and the nature of Republicanism, and what it is they really believe. I had a nice little riff about old school One Nation Tories and how they contrast with the Sarah Palin school of God, guns and gays right-wingery. And then I stubbed my toe on the old, old chestnut of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, which is back in the news. I found myself in another political cul de sac, with no good answers, but only the question with which I started this post.
Virtually every good army in the world lets The Gays serve. Even South Africa does, and that is not currently a place famous for its lovely liberal attitudes towards different kinds of sexuality. The Israeli army has had open homosexuals for years, and no one has noticed that it has gone to pot, sitting about listening to Judy Garland records instead of fighting people. In funny old Blighty, it's not even a thing any more. Army officers and naval commanders march in Gay Pride parades, and it does not make the news. It's exactly as it should be: if you want to fight and die for your country, it should not matter who you love. (This is so central and important and true that I might have to say it again: if you are brave enough to fight and die, love whomever you want.)
So it's not as if there is not absolute boatloads of evidence that putting an end to discrimination is a good thing. It's not as if it has not been tried anywhere else. It should not have even a sliver of controversy about it, because the empirical evidence is so damn empirical. There is no deleterious effect on morale or efficacy or any other thing. You would think, from the way the Republicans are going crazy over it, that the moment the policy was changed, every single soldier would start wearing pink, or singing show tunes instead of fixing bayonets, or something.
The only conclusion I can come to is that the Right in America hates poofs. I say this advisedly. Although there are social conservatives who are really not very keen on lesbians, there was even one charming fellow who appeared to blame Hurricane Katrina on Ellen DeGeneres, it is the male homosexuals who make them really, really cross. I do not know why this should be. (I really don't; I'm not being disingenuous. I would quite like answers on a postcard, if you have any clue.) The Right is the place for tradition, and you could not get a more storied tradition than that of homosexuality. Did no right-winger ever read Classics? In Ancient Greece, gayness was a very model of aristocratic superiority. The Symposium is, apart from a serious examination of philosophy, a wail of love for Socrates from his fellow men.
You know that I have given up tribalism. It was starting to make my stomach ache. I would still say that I am of the Left, but I am quick to criticise leftish ideas that seem not to work, and willing to embrace rightist ideas that make sense. I say that no side has the franchise on wisdom or goodness, and the reason I go on having faith in President Obama is that he represents the pragmatic, moderate middle, which does not sound terribly sexy, but is almost certainly what is needed, in these troubled times. I understand arguments about smaller government and bureaucratic over-reach, even if I do not always agree with them. There are some elements of the philosophy of the Right which make sense to me. (I like very much the Whiggish tendency of The Coalition, even if there are individual policies which make me fret.) What I do not understand is where in the Right Wing primer it says: And you must persecute The Gays. What did they ever do to you, Right Wing People? Go and do something useful, like bringing down the national debt, and leave the homosexuals alone.
And now, after all that, the moment you have been waiting for. THE SNOW PICTURES.
We have had another ten inches in the night, and it was still snowing when I went out. The whole compound is quite silent, as if someone turned the volume down.
The west avenue:
My beloved Scots pines:
My favourite old gateposts:
A young tree, its wooden surround so piled with snow it looks like a sculpture:
The rowan berries, slightly out of focus, but still rather lovely for all that:
The older niece, madly setting off through the weather, watched by a slightly puzzled Duchess:
That is just snow:
Suddenly, on my walk, I came across my sister, dressed in her high glamour cold weather gear:
We organised a photo shoot of all our dogs together, naturally:
And then off she went, to do some slow cooking in her slow cooker (she is experimenting with 24 hour lamb, in the manner of the Greeks):
My little robin, who spends most of his days among the rowans:
The small beech trees:
And, of course, the rampant BEAUTY:
Oh, oh, I am happy to be home.