January Will Be a Month to Remember (or Forget?)
January is proving to be a busy month. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was on Monday, Jan. 16, International Holocaust Remembrance Day is on Friday the 27th and the presidential inauguration takes place Friday, Jan. 20. The coincidental confluence of those dates is cause for some reflection.
I didn’t see any scheduled memorial events by our LGBT organizations for MLK Jr. Day. Elsewhere though, to mark the occasion, the president-elect removed a Martin Luther King Jr. bust from the White House. He then tweeted an attack on John Lewis, the African American congressman (D-Ga.) and civil rights leader. Known as “The Conscience of Congress,” Lewis has questioned the oligarch’s presidential legitimacy. Then, Dreamgirls star Jennifer Holiday apologized to the LGBT community for having a lapse of judgment when she agreed to perform for the inauguration. She then withdrew from the event’s musical line-up.
Locally, also on MLK Jr. weekend, in a surreal politics-be-damned moment, the LGBT Community Center held a Mardi Gras-themed fundraiser at the home of the same gay Republican who hosted a benefit for the president-elect back in October.
Meanwhile, just a week before Holocaust Memorial Day, with unintended irony, a local bar is holding an inauguration eve party. Obviously our regime change is cause enough to drink ourselves into oblivion, but the scenario is eerily reminiscent of that popular musical parable, Cabaret. Some LGBTs will certainly celebrate the inauguration; the majority, however, are facing the date with dread. And, if there were any doubt of what the future holds, the ceremony boasts a parade of homophobic ministers representing the prosperity gospel (if you’re rich, it’s God’s blessing, if you’re poor…good luck) as well as our old friend, Cardinal Dolan.
Speaking of dread, the list of cabinet appointments defies any hope for the advance of LGBT rights. A purge of diplomats, intelligence officials and military generals is already underway. There’s been a call for the names of government employees working on gender equality issues, too. Only U.S. Marine Corps General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, slated to head the Department of Defense, has indicated no change for gays in the military, but we’ll see.
There’s also the specter of a constitutional convention in the offing. No one is tweeting about it, but the Republicans are stealthily edging toward a potential surprise attack on our democracy. Should they control just one more state government, a constitutional convention can be called. At that point, if the GOP still controls all branches of the federal government, it could rewrite the constitution in its own image and likeness; in other words, a quasi-theocracy with no rights for anyone but the privileged, white, Christian class and their poor cousins. The ideology of the extreme right would prevail; a Putinesque Trumpacolypse, if you will. Gone would be LGBT, voter, women’s and labor rights and all the rest for which so many have fought, died and sacrificed since our nation’s very founding.
Still, on the bright side, according to Gallup, more people currently identify as LGBT than ever before, so we may not return to that Boys in the Band closet of fear and self-loathing after all. Besides, our new world order might dispense with identity politics altogether, and we’ll just merrily call each other “Comrade.”