did you know that alan keyes is running for president again? i had no idea until a couple of days ago, when i heard it mentioned on a local talk radio show that he would be one of the choices in the upcoming kansas caucuses. and i was like, ‘wow man, why won’t you just go away?’
i’m embarrassed to admit this, but in the mid 90s, during the height of my fundamentalist fervor, i was a big keyes fan. i thought he was what america and the world needed, but as my worldview began to evolve, i began to think of him less and less as being viable. sure in some ways i remained (and remain) conservative, but his brand of controlling conservatism makes george bush look like howard dean, and it just made less and less sense to me, especially as i became exposed to true libertarianism. and the way he looked at the world was positively myopic. sometime in the late 90s i remember him doing a tv interview regarding his opinion on music and popular culture, and he stated that young people needed to listen only to uplifting christian groups such as point of grace. (as an aside, i’m sure they were or are nice godly women, but i’ve met them on a couple occasions and i’ve found them to be complete godly bitches…) that further downgraded my opinion of him, as did his 2000 campaign in which he was, in my opinion, something of a laughingstock (to be fair, i agreed with some of his ideas, such as the sales tax, but too much other stuff bothered me about him). i will admit to being impressed with the idea that he once beat al sharpton in an informal debate, but am of the opinion that this only happened because it was two black men. if a white man had said the things said by keyes, he would immediately have been labeled a racist.
…and i digress. let’s fast forward to a couple of years ago, after his laughable run to be the u.s. senator from illinois against the then unknown barack obama. shortly after this loss, it was discovered that his hot little daughter maya was a lesbian. what did the loving supportive christian father do? kicked his daughter out of the house and cut her off completely financially, including ceasing to pay her college tuition. i lost all respect for him at that point, and it’s because of actions such as his and other so-called christians i’ve known that helped to pave the way in my being the libertarian omnisexual tree-hugging heathen that i am today.
anyway, i really had no idea what he had been doing between then and now, and really didn’t care. (and still really don’t.) i thought maybe he was in cahoots with fred phelps or busy picketing a planned parenthood building somewhere in northern alaska. and it turns out that he’s been campaigning for the 2008 republican nomination for the presidency. i’m no fan of bush, but i believe if this man won through some truly freak occurrence, we’d be begging to have bush back in office.
i do not identify as either conservative or liberal. someone once described me as being too conservative to be liberal and too liberal to be conservative. still, i definitely have conservative opinions when it comes to issues regarding abortion and gun control and government spending. and even regarding gay marriage, i hold a conservative position, although not for the reasons typically held by conservatives. so if he weren’t so hard core, it would not be impossible to see myself supporting someone like keyes. my problem with him is that he wants to use the presidency to enforce his morality on everyone, allowing very little diversity of thought. people say that about bush, but as far as i’m concerned, there is no comparison; bush has his hardcore moral stances to be sure, but even though he’s said things that may cross the line, he’s still pretty much laissez-faire when it comes to people’s morality.
morality is a personal, individual issue and cannot be legislated. the key is to realize that our actions as moral individuals affect other moral individuals. i take the point of view that we should be responsible for our own morality (of course this depends on how you define morality; it seems to me that most of keyes’ definitions of morality revolve around the right kind of sex: between one man and one woman married to one another for the purpose of procreation – how boring) and if it affects someone else negatively, then appropriate action should be taken to make sure that no longer happens. but you cannot tell another person how he or she should behave behind closed doors (as long as it doesn’t involve children or animals) nor who he or she should or should not be allowed to fall in love with, and that any deviation from the ‘proper’ beliefs means that in this life you are a bad person and breaking the law and will be punished, and in the next life, you will really be punished.
keyes doesn’t stand a snowflake’s chance in hell of getting any delegates, let alone winning the nomination (although it wouldn’t surprise me if he ran as a third-party candidate somewhere down the line). this post was probably a waste of time as well, as most people familiar with him know that his presidency would be all wrong for our country. yet, i felt led to write, just as a reminder that there are people like this out there (although i’m reminded of this every time i listen to talk radio, or walk outside my apartment building, for that matter). my beef is not with his conservatism as much as it is his wanting to force that conservatism upon anyone calling himself or herself an american, under the guise of ‘taking back this country for christ’. if the country consisted only of the state of kansas, maybe it could happen, but thankfully it’s not gonna happen.
because keyes is in this country, he certainly does have the right to say whatever he wants, however bigoted and narrow-minded it might be. but as he is seeing, just because he can say it doesn’t mean that we’re listening.