Jennifer Wagner

Xenophobia versus homophobia

Filed By Jennifer Wagner | March 26, 2006 9:18 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics

I know I promised not to bring up the Toll Road again, but I was chatting with someone the other day who asked a political strategy question I hadn't thought much about before: Why is it seemingly okay for Republicans to trot out homophobia when they rail against gay marriage/adoption/rights, but Democrats are horrible, awful people for suggesting that it might not be a great idea to sell off our state and federal assets to private, foreign interests?

Both arguments play on social fears, but one -- "Don't go givin' those gays any more rights, or they'll try to convert ya" -- seems to meet with more political acceptance than the other -- "What was built and paid for by Hoosiers should remain under Hoosier control." (Note: No one ever said that foreign investment in Indiana is a bad thing, but plenty of people questioned and continue to question whether selling off our assets is such a good long-range plan.)

Is it because politicians can more easily tie foreign investment to economic development? Is it because everyone needs a job, but straight folks have to think outside the box to understand why gay rights are important to society as a whole? Is it because -- and I hope this one's way off-base -- we've become accustomed to gay-bashing as a political sport, but the xenophobia argument only rears its head on immigration issues and the occasional ports deal?

I honestly don't know, but I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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I would have loved to see the political reaction if a consortium of homosexuals had been the high bidder for the Toll Road.

Our country has always struggled with an attitude of prejudice against other groups (e.g., racism, sexism, elitism, heterosexism, xenocentrism). To my way of thinking, prejudices knowingly exploited/promoted are always motivated by the same thing: the desire to keep a bigger piece of the pie for their group.

LOL Doug. Maybe we should ban together and monitor the RFP's for the state!

Jennifer, you are reading WAY too much into this. The difference in your two examples is one is something the Republicans thought of and the other isn't. To read anything else into implies logic.