It isn’t often you get a perfect metaphor, and one right in your backyard, to boot. I’m really quite grateful.
Here’s the tale. As you know, LR Net is based in the lovely high desert city of Albuquerque, NM. And, no, it’s not all like Breaking Bad. And to the best of our knowledge, Bugs Bunny never made that “left toin at Albukoykee.”
But we do have a lively mayoral race here. And, in our quest to “get local,” and starting at home, we’d to like cover that race in our virtual pages. Just to bring you up to speed, we’re now in the home stretch, with liberal Tim Keller on one side, and conservative Dan Lewis on the other. The usual collection of Left vs. Right issues are on offer (Gun Control, Regulation of Business, and so on).Oh, and an aside, in theory the race is nonpartisan, but everyone knows that Keller is the Democrat and Lewis the Republican.
Also, in interest of full disclosure, LR Net endorsed Keller last week (5 Oct).
But we’re not alone in endorsing him. Other people who’ve signed on with the lad include the International Association of Firefighters Local 244, the Albuquerque Police Officers Association, the Sierra Club, the ABQWest Chamber of Commerce, and enough current and former Elected Officials to constitute a small government.
But let us not forget Dan Lewis. He, too, has his endorsements…
One of them is, however, shall we say? Interesting. And gives us our metaphor.
Among Dan Lewis’ supporters is Steve Smothermon, who is the pastor of the 20,000-member Legacy Church. Rev. Smothermon has made it clear that he, and his church, regard Lewis as their candidate.
What’s wrong with that, you ask? Smothermon is notoriously anti-Gay. He may not be exactly in the Westboro Baptist league (who is?), but he is no friend of the LGBT community. According to the Albuquerque Journal newspaper, he has criticized the current governor of the state, Susana Martinez (a Republican, btw) for “appointing a gay man to the state Public Regulation Commission.” Further, says the Journal, Smothermon criticized the current Mayor, Richard Berry (also a Republican), for “signing a proclamation supporting the annual gay pride parade.”
And, when the good Reverend got around to endorsing Lewis, he did so with the following tweet, “I wholeheartedly support Dan Lewis for Mayor. He’s the only true believer in the race, and would never in anyway support the homosexual agenda.”
In a word, Yikes.
Now, a normal candidate, in a normal election, would turn around and drop Smothermon like a live grenade. In a normal election, in normal times, you wouldn’t want that sort of support. It would be like being endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan or a militant splinter faction of NAMBLA.
Ah, but these are not normal times. We have sitting in the White House a man who’s gotten pretty chummy with the KKK and Neo-Nazis, and if he hasn’t officially endorsed any militant NAMBLA splinters (at least to the best of anyone’s knowledge), there was that joke he made about dating his daughter.
Here’s where we get to the Perfect Metaphor business. What did Dan Lewis do when he received Smothermon’s endorsement? Well, he hemmed and hawed. To give him his due, he did (eventually) say that if he were elected mayor, he would work in the interest of city residents, whether they were gay or straight.
But, to date, he has never exactly come out and said that he rejects Smothermon’s support. He never did what, for example, Ronald Reagan did when the Klan endorsed him—i.e., repudiate the endorsement and all it stood for.
So, there you have it, the perfect metaphor for politics today. In this election, we have on one side a liberal who’s been squeaky clean from the beginning (and who’s been the subject of repeated smear campaigns) and on the other, a conservative who may or may not be perfectly fine, but who’s accepted the support of people who, frankly, come off sounding like something out of a Stephen King movie, except of course they lack the clown costumes and have more teeth.
Which is where it all gets kinky. You can’t vote, any more, for a Republican—any Republican—with something like a clear conscience. Not these days. Because no matter how pure and moral they may be, they come with parasites, infections, and communicable diseases. To be precise, they come with homophobes, and Ku Kluxers, and Big Money Sleaze Donors, and God Alone knows what else.
And frankly, until the GOP reforms itself root and branch, and becomes something completely different, we just don’t see how it can be otherwise.
So saying, LR Net repeats its endorsement of Tim Keller.