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May 06, 2005

The Lack of Reality-Based Thinking Leads to Hypocrisy (Part II)

Events just hand you the material you’re looking for, don’t they?  Thanks to Jim West, we have a great illustration of what happens when people walk around with blinders on.  The blinders make them disconnected from themselves as well as disconnected with the reality for people outside (or even inside) the scope of their vision.  Just what I was starting to discuss yesterday in my post on the importance of being reality-based.

Thanks to Olyscoop for the inside story on the history of West’s political thuggery over the years and the legacy of anti-gay legislation and personal enmity it engendered.  Thanks to Goldy for a heartfelt look at the sad, personal consequences of West’s closeted life.  He says,

“Jim West is the poster child for the tragic consequences of a society that condones discrimination against gays: a man so ashamed of who he was that he assumed the mantel of his persecutors… a man so embarrassed by his own sexuality that even after being forced to admit to soliciting sex from young men, he still denies that he is gay.”

From what Olyscoop says, people of all political persuasions saw the lack of integrity in West.  He had such an enormous set of blinders on that he couldn’t see or accept who he was himself and, in his case, there were awful consequences.  If the old allegations of sexual abuse hold up, at least two young men were damaged.  And politically, he pushed a right-wing, anti-gay agenda from his powerful position as Majority Leader of the Senate, trying to push his narrow, mean-spirited view of the world on others. 

And, as the current Majority Leader, Senator Lisa Brown of Spokane, says in an article in this morning’s PI:   

"The public's trust is eroded when what elected officials advocate is different from how they conduct their own life."

It’s called hypocrisy. 

Jim West’s sad story provides a perfect example of how the personal is tied to the political.  The Religious Right and their spokespeople will try to tell us it’s an individual gone astray.  And it is.  But it is also more than that.  In a world where the reality of who people really are is honored, they don’t wind up hating themselves and taking that hate out on others.  It’s why the issue of gay rights is so important, just as women’s rights and eliminating racism is important.  People are to be honored for who they are. 

More to come.

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 6, 2005 at 12:55 PM in Policy | Permalink

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