OutUK Archive Item
       This is an OutUK Archive Item and so some of the links and information may be out of date.

Clifton Spires is the father of a gay son who walked out of the family home in 1996 after a family row and they've never seen or spoken to each other since. A journalist living in Ohio with his wife and other son he now campaigns vigorously for gay rights and each week on OutUK he reflects on how this affects his life and family. Though it's written in America, we believe the issues he deals with affect the worldwide gay community. Previous columns are archived in OutBack.

It's My Column And I'll Endorse Who I Want To

What happens in the US Presidential election affects all of us here in the UK and there's no doubt that if Bush gets in, it'd be disastrous for the gay community. So if you're American please read this and if you're British but have American friends please e-mail it to them.

I've held off as long as I could but now I just have to say it --- I'm voting for Al Gore for president.

To regular readers of this column, this will come as no surprise and I'm assuming that for the most part I will be preaching to the choir. However, I want to put down on record the reasons why I am voting for him in the hope that they might sway some undecided voter to cast their ballot the same way.

My first and primary reason is that I don't want to see George W. Bush become president. I believe that Bush is singularly unqualified to lead our country. I believe he is a political dilettante who has made a botch of his governorship of Texas, which currently ranks at the bottom of the list of states in two important areas, health care and environmental protection. I believe Bush owes much of his success to having the same name as his father, to being independently wealthy and to having the backing of big oil money. Bush's one special talent is sounding like a straight shooter, when actually all he's doing is repeating Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon's campaign tricks of sounding like they're saying something when actually they're saying nothing.

Example of George W. Bushtalk: "Ah believe in foreign policy. Ah'm for foreign policy. Ah have a foreign policy plan. Don't ask me the details yet. Ah'll tell ya about 'em later. After Ah'm elected. But trust me, mah plan is a good'un."

Bush also has vowed to appoint U.S. Supreme Court justices who share the social ideologies of his ultra-conservative backers. Due to the diminishing life expectancy of some older justices on the nation's high court and other justices' health-related problems which may make them incline to retire, it is likely the next president will get to appoint at least three. If Bush gets the opportunity, I believe that like his father, George H.W. Bush, he would appoint judicial mediocrities like Clarence Thomas, who, while lacking in experience and judicial scholarship, would have the radical conservativevirtues of being willing to vote against a woman's right to choose an abortion, many gay and lesbian civil liberties, affirmative action, freedom of speech and many other of the most valued aspects of a free society.

I am voting for Al Gore because he is more qualified than Bush to be president. He has better plans for improving health care and protecting the environment. He has experience in dealing with foreign policy and basically because I trust him more than I do some rich pretty-boy frat rat running on his ex-president father's name and mostly lacklustre reputation as chief executive. George W. Bush is no George H.W. Bush. Frankly, George H.W. Bush was no equal to Jimmy Carter, Harry Truman, Franklin Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln or even a Bill Clinton or a Millard Fillmore. The Bushes might be compared to John Adams and John QuincyAdams, but history shows that Adams & Son, Inc. were both defeated in their attempts to get re-elected because one term of their patrician ways were not acceptable to the American electorate.

I ask, do we really need to give George W. Bush a chance to prove to us that he's just as inadequate a president as his father was?

Al Gore is not my first choice for president, but then Jefferson, Lincoln, Franklin or Eleanor Roosevelt and Truman are not available and Jimmy Carter is enjoying building houses for Habitat for Humanity too much to go back to Washington. I have a good deal of respect for Ralph Nader, although I haven't heard him make any significant statements for or against gay rights, which is the most important deciding factor for this father of a gay son. Besides, as far as I'm concerned, a vote for Nader might as well be a vote for Bush or Pat Buchanan or one of the other fringe candidates because it will do nothing toward getting Gore elected and keeping Bush out of office. Voting for Nader would be an idealistic, symbolic gesture, nothing more. I've nothing against voting according to one's ideals but sometimes, in the very un-ideal world of politics, it's more important be pragmatic. And this year's race is close enough to qualify for pragmatism.

Gore's reputation on civil rights issues is not only acceptable, it is better than average. He is a supporter of domestic partnership laws. He is a supporter of hate crime legislation. He has sought the votes of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered organizations, African-American, pro-feminist and other groups and has listened carefully to their advice and needs. I cannot say this is true for Bush.

I'm jaded enough in my experience with politics and politicians that I don't count very many of them among my heroes. Gore is not perfect by any means. He comes off as a know-it-all and seems like he would be a bore if I had to sit next to him at a dinner party. But I also believe he's mostly sincere in his support of the issues that I support, which is more than I can say for any member of the Bush family, father or son, mother or daughter-in-law.

Several months ago, Newsweek magazine reported that 4.2 percent of the voting population identifies themselves as gay. That 4.2 percent could be enough to sway the outcome of the election. Add to that maybe another 4.2 percent who refused to answer a question about their gay sexual orientation, another 4.2 percent representing their gay-friendly family members and another 4.2 percent representing their supportive non-gay friends. That's 16.8 percent of the voting population, folks. If even half of that percentage vote and vote for Al Gore, the threat of having the radical right use the White House to turn back time would easily be thwarted in this year's close election.

Voting for George W. Bush is not in the best interests of anyone who supports gay rights or any other kind of minority rights. I am using this opportunity to unashamedly ask everyone who reads this to vote for Al Gore and protect the small gains that the gay civil rights movement has made over the years. If he doesn't win, may our higher powers protect us all.

Published 25th October 2000


search | site info | site map | new this week | outuk shop | home | outback | more



  UK gay lads | Gay news UK | Gay travel and holidays UK | UK & London gay scene

OutUK features the latest gay news, advice, entertainment and information together with gay guides to cities and holiday destinations around the UK, Europe and the rest of the world. There are hundreds of galleries of photos and videos of the sexiest gay guys plus intimate personal profiles of thousands of gay lads from all around the UK.