Who says the culture wars are over?

22 Sep
picture of Brittay Novotny from DallasVoice.com

Brittany Novotny. source: DallasVoice.com

Brittany Novotny is a community-minded lawyer. Her practice in Oklahoma City focused on employment and civil rights law. She is an active member in her community, serving as National Committee Woman for Young Democrats of Oklahoma and on the Community Advisory Board for Supporting Kids in Independent Living. She is running for Oklahoma State Representative for House District 84. She is the first transgender women to run for office in Oklahoma, and if elected, she will be the first trans person elected to a state legislative body.

Her campaign has been focused jobs, education, and transportation issues. She says past politicians have played on the fears of their constituents, and that the people of Oklahoma are tired of it.

She says that her fellow Oklahomans have not treated her any differently; they are interested in if she going to be an advocate willing to fight for them. And while Novotny has said her campaign office has not received any hate mail or hate phone calls, her opponent, incumbent Oklahoma State Representative Sally Kern and Kern’s backers seem hateful enough in their attacks against Novotny.

Kern is known for her anti-homosexual comments. She has accused homosexuals of supporting early childhood education as an attempt to indoctrinate kids. In 2008, she stated that she believes homosexuals pose a bigger threat to the United States than terrorism.

Kern and her backers have also attacked Novotny directly. Kern has claimed that Novotny’s campaign is being secretly backed by Tim Gill. In a blatant attempt to ungender Novotny, Kern’s backers have sent out an email referring to Novotny as a “a confused ‘it,’” and Genital Reconstructive Surgery as mutilation.

Originally, I was just going to talk about the fight shaping up in Oklahoma. It was just going to be a brief education and awareness piece. But then as I started thinking about it, thinking about the events of the past few days with DADT and thinking about some of the other candidates running a question came to mind:

So who says the culture wars are over?

Over this past election cycle, I’ve heard claims from the right side of the political spectrum that the culture wars are over. That the party has moved away from the religiously conservative base. And the base for this new, re-envisioned right is on such things as tax reduction, jobs and fiscally responsibility. Except from where I am sitting, I am just not seeing it.

I continue to see attacks against LGBT civil rights and hetrosexist and cissexist rhetoric coming from the political leadership on the right. The recent events surrounding the attempted repeal of DADT alone should stand as example of the right’s love of continuing to divide our nation along unnecessary cultural lines.

The right’s continued entrenchment in supporting candidates who have clearly overt anti-homosexual bias means we cannot remain uninvolved this election. Sure, the right might be quiet about marriage now, but that does not mean the right will remain quiet post-election. And I bet that if the right receives the victories they are hoping for this year, they will take it as a sign that they are to “reclaim America” and push forth a new agenda that will include anti-homosexual and anti-transgender elements.

Yes, we have not gotten everything we want or were promised this past year. But that is no reason to not be involved now. Yes, it is tough to be energized all the time. The big elections are exciting. The energy is contagious and everyone is all up about getting out the vote. But part of what truly defines a movement is much the same as what truly defines a person — what happens when times are tougher? When there have been delays and setbacks. When there is not all the excitement. When it a matter of forcing oneself to roll out of bed and set one foot in front of the other. Does the person, the movement stick with the job and get it done, because it needs to be done?

There has been a lot of talk this year about the inevitability of the party in power losing seats in midterm elections. But I dislike inevitability. And much like my personal sheroes and heros, I believe in bucking trends and fighting established sensibilities.

And trends can change.

So get out there and vote. And tell your friends to vote. Talk to them about the importance of staying connected and involved, even in these “dull” times. Because if we don’t, we will continue to get the likes of Kern in office.

For those interested in following Novotny, her campaign web site can be found at Brittany4HD84 and Twitter feed at BrittanyOKC.



2 Responses to “Who says the culture wars are over?”

  1. Tanya September 23, 2010 at 12:49 am #

    It’s a rough thing to vote for anyone anymore. Especially when you realize that when you vote for politicians, well, you get politicians. We are suckered in time and time again with flowery language and promise after promise, but when the chips are down, the people who need the most help from the governmental systems are the ones let down in favor of the people with the campaign cash.

    I BARELY voted for Obama. I didn’t want him. The corruption and poor voting record that surrounded him was unpalatable to me… But I knew I also could not vote for McCain and the Bush cronies that surrounded him. And, well, Obama has been the disappointment I expected him to be. No surprise. He’s a politician. His words, all words, are meaningless when uttered from the mouths of men and women who are interested in naught but a career suckling at the public cash teet.

    The finest success of government is the fact it has managed to get 2/3rds of the populace to give their all for the benefit of the other 1/3rd. -Voltaire

    Granted, I think it’s more around 4/5ths to 1/5th these days.

  2. jamesnimmo September 23, 2010 at 1:52 pm #

    Oklahoma is very much living in the past and that is why to speak of GLBT people getting involved openly in political life is so disturbing to the many people like Kern who live here.

    The pioneer spirit is still alive and well in Oklahoma; in more ways than one this is frontier country.

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