The so-called ‘party of personal responsibility’ again looks like the party of sweaty bullies.
Cory Booker is the Michael Stipe of politics: not only does he not declare his sexual orientation, he purposely keeps it ambiguous.
In a Washington Post profile on Tuesday, the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate noted that he hasn’t found a “life partner” yet and he’s uncomfortable about putting potential mates in the spotlight.
“And people who think I’m gay, some part of me thinks it’s wonderful,” he added. “Because I want to challenge people on their homophobia. I love seeing on Twitter when someone says I’m gay, and I say, ‘So what does it matter if I am? So be it. I hope you are not voting for me because you are making the presumption that I’m straight.’”
So the mayor of Newark is admitting to a bit of trolling, purposely seeking angry responses. But he’s doing it in the name of questioning old biases. Booker’s opponent, Republican nominee Steve Lonegan, fell right into the trap.
In an interview with Newsmax‘s Steve Malzberg on Tuesday, Lonegan was asked to respond to Booker’s purposeful sexual ambiguity.
Lonegan responded with anti-gay tropes including “I personally like being a guy.” He pointed to a comment Booker made last year about enjoying manicures and pedicures.
“It was described as his peculiar fetish,” Lonegan said. “I have a more peculiar fetish: I like a good Scotch and a cigar, that’s my fetish. But we’ll just compare the two.”
The idea that masculinity or femininity is tied to sexual orientation is the foundation for the torment for thousands if not millions of LGBT youth. Booker’s active rejection of those restrictive norms is an attempt to open minds while Lonegan blandly reenforces stereotypes with defensive contempt, making life tougher for those already inflicted with undue strife.
It’s a small issue in a campaign and a huge issue in the lives of many Americans. And for this, among many other reasons, Steve Lonegan should be ashamed of himself.
[Image via @CoryBooker.]