Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-03-16



ELECTIONS '10: VIEWS Don't tread on LGBT voters?
by Chasse Rehwinkel

This article shared 4616 times since Wed Oct 20, 2010
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

In the name of full disclosure, before I begin, the research and writing of this piece was anteceded by two very personal encounters of mine with the Tea Party movement.

The first such experience was in April 2008, while I was covering the Republican presidential primary for a paper in southern Pennsylvania. Dark-horse Republican candidate and Texas congressman Ron Paul was making a stop in Gettysburg, Penn.—partly because of its historical significance, partly because Paul is an alumnus of Gettysburg College—and I was sent to cover his speech.

The Paul rally was a profound moment in my political life. Not because of what Paul said or stood for, but for how his supporters acted.

The event was electric, a palpable collective of excitement surged through the building. It was a feeling that, until that moment, I had never thought possible in U.S. politics.

Just two years later, while working for a Democratic state senate candidate in the Chicago suburbs, I found myself being told by a police officer not to worry. I was told that they would keep a car around our campaign office to make sure that the harasser—a local "patriot"—did not come back or, in his words, "become violent."

Perhaps because of this, I think the best adjective to describe the Tea Party movement is "schizophrenic."

Leading the movement is a group of Republican ex-officials that should make anyone within the LGBT community cringe. There's former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin with her Christian-right pedigree; former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who is on record as being against same-sex marriage and gay adoption; and FreedomWorks chairman Dick Armey, who, as a congressman, voted for a ban on gay adoption and once, in 1995, infamously used a three-letter word beginning with the letter "F" to refer to openly gay congressman Barney Frank—and it wasn't "fun."

So the head of the Tea Party movement seems intolerable for the fiscally conservative LGBT electorate and with reports of anti-gay slurs and rhetoric at Tea Party rallies across the nation the body seems to be off limits as well…

…but what about the limbs?

Running in the Ninth Congressional District—a district that includes much of Chicago's North Side as well as Evanston, Skokie and Lincolnwood—is Tea Party-sponsored Republican challenger Joel Pollak.

There's a definite Libertarian flare to Pollak—a smattering of von Mises economic principles here, a touch of Ayn Rand objectivism there. However, Pollak is not your stereotypical Tea Party candidate.

Pollak started off his political life in the Democratic camp, working as an intern in then-Democratic Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun's office. Pollak then went to work as a speech writer for South African politician Tony Leon, the former leader of the anti-apartheid and liberal-leaning Democratic Alliance party.

Pollak is Jewish, pro-choice and an immigrant; an open supporter of the Employment Non-discrimination Act, same-sex civil unions, and an end to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ( DADT ) . And, although he is morally opposed to the idea, Pollak is in favor of a state's right to legalize same-sex marriage.

There are a couple issues for Pollak, however, if he wants the support of LGBT voters come Nov. 2. He is running against a very pro-LGBT incumbent in Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and he does look like something of an anomaly or oddity within the Republican party at present—but his very existence raises a much more important point to this election cycle: The LGBT electorate cannot support the Tea Party movement—not as a whole, anyway.

The Tea Party movement is not a solid force, not a third party or new wave to standard Republican thinking; it's a political backlash to the current economic times.

This is not something new in U.S. politics. As liberal strategist James Carville famously put it during the 1992 presidential election, "It's the economy, stupid."

It's the one absolute in our political system: Bad economies hurt the ruling party. And with so many important issues still on the table for LGBT Americans—ENDA, marriage, adoption and DADT—blindly voting for the scatterbrained knee-jerk reaction to a lagging economy seems, as Schakowsky puts it, "dangerous" for LGBT voters, even the most conservative ones.

A candidate's Tea Party seal of approval, therefore, should be as unimportant a label for Chicagoland gay voters as their hair color. Instead I suggest LGBT voters, both liberal and conservative, heed the words Pollak spoke to me in an earlier interview: "All voters, no matter their political leanings, should decide their ballots on a candidate-by-candidate basis."

It may seem simple and boring, but it's a system that has worked to educate voters for more than 100 Illinois elections and it will work again in 2010.

Chasse Rehwinkel is a Chicago-based writer and contributing reporter for Windy City Times. Currently, he works with the Illinois State Senate Democrats as a campaign field organizer.


ELECTIONS '10: Windy City Times' General Election Guide

ELECTION: Guide to the gays - The Nov. 2 general elections feature several openly gay and lesbian candidates for office.

ELECTIONS '10: printable charts - Windy City Times' General Election Issue includes interviews and printable charts

ELECTIONS '10: LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR Sheila Simon on her office and equality

ELECTIONS '10: GOVERNOR Scott Lee Cohen on LGBTs, comeback

ELECTIONS '10: Readers weigh in through letters

ELECTIONS '10: VIEWS Bill Brady http://

ELECTIONS '10: VIEWS Don't tread on LGBT voters?

This article shared 4616 times since Wed Oct 20, 2010
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Gay News

LGBTQ Victory Fund endorses 20 more LGBTQ candidates 2022-05-26
-- From a press release - Washington, DC — Today LGBTQ Victory Fund, the only national organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ leaders to public office, endorsed 20 more out LGBTQ candidates. Victory Fund has now endorsed 292 candidates running in the 2022 ...

Gay News

Governor Pritzker, Lt. Governor Stratton comment on Texas tragedy 2022-05-25
-- From a press release - Chicago — In the wake of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, that killed at least 19 students and two adults, Governor JB Pritzker and Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton released the following ...

Gay News

Indiana institutes anti-trans sports ban, overrides Holcomb's veto 2022-05-25
- The Indiana General Assembly overturned Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb's veto of House Bill 1041, which prohibits transgender girls from playing girls school sports, according to the IndyStar. The House voted to override the veto 67-28; the ...

Gay News

Pritzker signs measure protecting Illinoisans with disabilities in housing, state government 2022-05-23
-- From a press release - Chicago— Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed HB2775 and SB180 into law today, expanding protections for Illinoisans with disabilities in state government and housing. HB2775 amends the Illinois Human Rights Act ...

Gay News

Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith named to Time100 List 2022-05-23
-- From a press release - St. Petersburg, FL — TIME named Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith to the 2022 TIME100, its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. The full list and related tributes appear in ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Idaho groups, Clay Aiken, Radio Milwaukee, Louisville school 2022-05-22
- In northern Idaho, two groups with different agendas plan to hold events on the same day (June 11) at Coeur d'Alene City Park—and both organizations have issued statements, according to the Bonner County Daily Bee. The ...

Gay News

WORLD Nigeria protest, 'Flag in the Map,' Belgium, McDonald's 2022-05-22
- Dressed in rainbow-colored vests, members of the LGBTQ+ community marched in a dangerous demonstration in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, to protest a bill introduced by lawmakers in Nigeria's lower house of parliament last month seeking to ban ...

Gay News

Penn. LGBTQ+ candidates mostly suffer losses on primary night 2022-05-21
- LGBTQ+ candidates running for the U.S. Senate, U.S. House, lieutenant governor and a seat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in Philadelphia's "gayborhood" each lost their races in the Keystone State's May 17 Democratic primary, The ...

Gay News

POLITICS GOP candidate Irvin called Trump an 'idiot,' backed LGBTQ+s 2022-05-16
- GOP gubernatorial candidate and current Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin has dodged talking about former U.S. President Donald Trump (and many other topics)—but recently revealed records show how Irvin reportedly felt ...

Gay News

Police officer enters Chicago mayoral race 2022-05-16
- Longtime Chicago police officer Frederick Collins has jumped into the Chicago mayoral race—and it's not his first. Collins also ran for mayor eight years ago. His 2014 interview with Windy ...

Gay News

WORLD Eswatini ruling, Toronto deaths, Greece, blood donations 2022-05-15
- The High Court in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) rejected an appeal for legal recognition by the local LGBTQ+-rights group Eswatini Sexual & Gender Minorities, citing "laws … prevailing in the kingdom" ...

Gay News

NATIONAL New York synod, Danica Roem, legal action, Pride news, PFLAG 2022-05-15
- The Metropolitan New York Synod (MNYS), the regional body of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, announced Christopher Vergara as its newly elected vice president, according to a press release. Vergara is the first openly gay ...

Gay News

PASSAGES Urvashi Vaid dies, The National LGBTQ Task Force releases statement 2022-05-14
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON, DC……Legendary attorney, LGBTQ activist, and author Urvashi Vaid, known for her extensive career an advocate for LGBTQ rights, women's rights, anti-war efforts, immigration justice and many other social causes ...

Gay News

Pro-choice coalition to rally May 14 in Chicago's Union Park 2022-05-13
-- From a press release - 'Rally for Abortion Justice,' part of a nationwide 'Bans Off Our Bodies' day of action will takes place in Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph St. on Saturday, May 14 at 9:30 a.m. The crowd may be 25,000 strong according to organizers. ...

Gay News

Gov. Pritzker signs legislation addressing rise in organized retail thefts 2022-05-13
-- From a press release - CHICAGO — On May 13, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker joined Attorney General Kwame Raoul, lawmakers, advocates and law-enforcement officials to sign legislation designed to combat a nationwide rise in coordinated retail thefts. "This new law represents ...


Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.




About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.