A reader writes:
Andrew, you defended your attack on Bill Kristol - who I can't stand - by saying he hadn't spoken up for the victims of hate crimes in Iraq. Those hate crimes are horrible; but Andrew, if you're going to start criticizing people for not speaking up on every horror, you may as well give up blogging about anything else. I'm not saying these crimes aren't awful - but saying that a man's silence on an horrific crimes means he's celebrating them? Andrew, he probably hasn't even heard of them. That makes him callous, cold, and thoughtless, among many other sins, but it does not mean he's celebrating torture and death.
Yes, you're right, of course. Although let me point out that these are not hate-crimes, they are planned and executed murders by religious death-squads. Nonetheless, my emotions got the better of me, and that was an unfair hyperbole. I apologize to him and you. But please understand how it feels to have originally supported a war that ends with this. The guilt I've felt for the past few years at what I helped enable - even though I did so in good faith - is pretty intense at times. And the constant assault from the right in this country simply for being gay, and the lack of any real public empathy or concern for gay citizens, is brutalizing after a while. To endure that for so long and then elect a president who seems to believe we are the last priority and can be fobbed off with mere words ... well, the frustration and anger builds up. Bill Kristol doesn't deserve to be the object of all this. Just some of it.
And here, by the way, is what my readers have found in the way of any defense by Bill Kristol of gay people. It's of Mary Cheney and the one moment when neoconservatives expressed horror at what they perceived was an unfair reference to her open lesbianism in the Kerry-Bush debate of 2004. To my mind, the offense taken was in direct relation to the need to defeat Kerry, and based on a sense that mentioning someone's sexual orientation is some kind of embarrassment. But it was a defense of sorts. Theyb defend the right of gay people to stay closeted and to have their political families never called on enabling a viciously homophobic party base. That in an election in which a vice-president with an openly gay daughter was running on a platform to strip her of any rights in her marriage. And succeeded. She lives in Virginia. She has no rights in her relationship at all.