Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Who in the World is Richard Grenell?

Richard Grenell
One of the strange things about presidential campaigns is that they will often thrust previously unknown people into the spotlight. I mean, how many people could name Alaska’s governor prior to 2008? Not a lot. Romney’s not even the official nominee yet and his campaign’s already been hit with issues surrounding one of the less well known members of his campaign. Until yesterday, Richard Grenell was Mitt Romney’s spokesperson for foreign policy and national security. If Romney is elected, Grenell probably would have held a high ranking position in his administration. He was going to be a major player. Oh, did I mention Grenell is gay?

Gay republicans aren’t as rare as you might think; there’s even a gay segment of the Tea Party. Yet, until now gay republicans have not been part of major political campaigns or administrations. Well, not openly, anyway. But this is 2012, so one would think that the Republican Party was ready for its presidential campaign to have an openly gay man as a spokesperson. Mitt Romney apparently thought so too, saying that Grenell’s sexual orientation was a non-issue. I guess the rest of the Republican Party disagreed. Well, that’s not exactly fair. I should perhaps say that some very vocal members of the Republican Party disagreed.

Brian Fischer, a conservative radio host, is taking credit for “leading the charge” against Grenell that eventually forced him to resign. What strikes me isn’t so much that Fischer got the ball rolling, but rather that he’s taking credit for it. Apparently forcing someone to quit their job because of their sexual orientation is something to be proud of. It sounds more like bullying to me.

I can’t help but notice the huge difference between how Republicans dealt with having a gay spokesperson in a campaign versus how Democrats have responded when Obama has appointed lgbt individuals to his administration. There have been no calls for resignations for the 225 out lgbt members of the Obama administration because of their sexual orientation or gender. This isn’t to say that the Democrats record on lgbt rights and inclusion is flawless, but in light of the Grenell resignation it seems to be well ahead.

What does it say about our society when what's scandalous in one party is praised and generally accepted in the other? Is the U.S. really that divided a country?

This was also published at The Good Men Project.

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