Living Up to the Conservative Reputation

I often get into arguments – I’d prefer debates, but they’re almost never civil – with liberal gays and lesbians about my conservative politics. I am often told that I need to think for myself, something that gets under my skin in a big hurry. When someone says that to me, I like to quote Clarence Thomas: “It really bugs me that someone will tell me, after I spent 20 years being educated, how I’m supposed to think.” I do, in fact, think for myself. The fact that I don’t agree with you does not mean that I don’t have an open mind or that I’m only spouting what I’ve been told.

That said, the reason behind many gay and lesbian liberals believing I am a traitor is the base claim of hate from conservatives. Democrats are our friends, they tell me. They’re looking out for us. Republicans are hatemongering bigots who would have us rounded up and put in concentration camps and order us to be executed if they had their way, they say. I and others like me have long contended that this is a hysterical myth. All of us here at gayconservative.org have gotten more hatred from fellow gays and lesbians and their straight liberal counterparts than we ever have from fellow conservatives, and that is a sad fact.

Where do they get their ideas, though? From idiots like this guy:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLEyMKbSA2k]

Before you go any further into this post, you need to watch that video. Most of what I say may not make sense otherwise.

First of all, he says “um” and “excuse me” way too much. That sort of thing is annoying and makes you sound absolutely incapable of articulating a complete thought. Second, he’s a couple of fruit loops shy of a full bowl if he really thinks anybody believes his attacks on this kid aren’t personal.

Andrew Shirvell is an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Michigan. He is a Christian and there are some things he says that I would agree with (namely, that transgendered students do not need gender-neutral housing). However, he has taken his after-hours blog activity and turned it into something far more obsessively sinister, and whether I agree with some of his base-level arguments is entirely beside the point. Shirvell is not the norm among conservatives; he is on the far-right outer fringe of wackos who give us all a bad name. Either way, his behavior is what so many liberals point to when arguing with me when they say, “see? You’re a self-loathing closet case!”

Shirvell begins the interview by calling what he’s doing a “political campaign.” Okay…since when does a political campaign include parking outside your opponent’s home at all ungodly hours to get pictures of said opponent? Since when does a political campaign include going after someone who isn’t even involved in politics, for that matter? Shirvell’s blog is titled, “Chris Armstrong Watch” and it is about nothing but Michigan Student Assembly president Chris Armstrong – the first-ever gay president of MSA. The entire blog is about Armstrong’s activities, comments on Facebook, parties, friends and on-campus activities. Shirvell blows every single thing ever said or done completely out of proportion – if you don’t believe me, go see this cached version of the blog. You can only see the cached version because Shirvell, after AG Mike Cox read the blog himself and hinted at disciplinary action, shut it down for public viewing. You now have to be invited to read the actual blog. What you’ll see is everything posted until September 29, just a few days ago.

Anderson then brings up the point that I just did: Armstrong isn’t a political candidate or figure, he’s just a student-body council leader. Shirvell responds by saying (repeatedly) that he’s not the first person to criticize Armstrong. So what? Whether he is the first to criticize Armstrong is irrelevant. He’s the only one going to such extremes to document what Armstrong does. Make no mistake, his behavior is extreme. I don’t care if he is a U of M alumnus.

Shirvell says again that it’s a political campaign and is nothing personal. I beg to differ. When he follows this kid on campus, go to his home to take pictures, picket outside his home, and other such activities, believe me – it’s personal. I don’t like it when liberals protest outside the homes of former members of the Bush administration or bank CEO’s, I certainly won’t condone Shirvell, a grown man and a public official, doing it to a college-aged kid.

And, really – “Satan’s representative on the student council”? What is impersonal about that sort of tripe?

Then he brings up substance. What is the substance to his arguments? Who else has he targeted in this fashion? I don’t think anybody has come under his “political” scrutiny so openly. In a day and age when we have actual politicians doing actual damage to American freedom and culture, why is Shirvell targeting some kid in college who likely won’t go into politics and become the next Barney Frank? Of course, now that Armstrong has had this experience, he may change his mind and do exactly that. If one can survive a smear campaign of this magnitude then a political campaign would be a walk in the park. Do we really want this guy going that route because a conservative freaked him out? Is this the way to win hearts and minds?

The kicker for me is Cooper asking Shirvell, “do you consider yourself a bigot?” I have to wonder why Cooper would ask that question. Even members of the modern-day KKK and neo-Nazi groups would give an emphatic NO. They would tell you they are trying to have pride in their race the same way other races do. Of course Shirvell doesn’t consider himself a bigot. He likely thinks of himself as a Christian warrior girding himself for battle against “Satan’s representative on the student council”. Even to me, that sort of thing is silly. I do believe in balancing justice and mercy according to the Bible, but I do not believe in using our faith to batter another person into folding in fear. Armstrong recently obtained an order of protection against the AAG; Shirvell has taken a leave of absence from work and Cox’s staffers are hinting further at disciplinary action against him.

Mr. Shirvell, you are not in a political campaign. You are grown man stalking a college student and you’re using piss-poor excuses to rationalize your outlandish behavior. You’re a creep. Grow up or get out of public office. Idiots like you may be few and far between, but you are the reason that rational, reasonable conservatives end up being painted with the same broad, extremist brush.

Tip of the mean, black cowboi hat to my roommate, Katie, who attended U of M.