It takes grit and determination to run for office at any level. Your private life becomes public. Your time is not your own. There’s little relief from the pressure and scrutiny even in your sleep. These pressures are multiplied when you decide to run for the high office of Vice-President.
The tragedy that destroyed the Diamond & Silk minstrel team created a lucrative opening. Someone had to become Republicans’ favorite black person. Tim Scott wants to take his place at the Naval Observatory by filling that role, but there’s a problem. Republicans don’t like gays.
Republicans don’t have ‘lots of gay friends.’ They don’t have that gay cousin. Their son who lives in that transitional neighborhood downtown with his ‘friend,’ definitely isn’t gay. That other Republican Senator from South Carolina is straight as a blade. The only color Republicans hate as much as black is all of them, together, on a flag. If Tim Scott wants to be Trump’s Vice President he has to get his man card stamped.
For months now on the campaign trail, Tim Scott has responded to questions about his sexual orientation by insisting that he totally has a girlfriend you’ve never met. He’s kissed her, on the mouth, and done all of those nasty disturbing things. And he liked it. In fact, he loved every minute of it and wasn’t grossed out at all.
After the debate last night Scott trotted out actual, physical proof that he loves the ladies. Some staffer found Mindy Noce, a South Carolina interior designer, who was willing to walk onstage and stand next to Scott. She did not speak. Scott rested an arm around her waist for a moment and smiled before they awkwardly parted. It was chilly, the kind of embrace you’d expect from a candidate taking a photo with a supporter, with none of the sexual tension we witness when Trump handles his daughter.
In every repressive system there are opportunities for a few ambitious sociopaths to profit from turning on their own people. Scott makes a handsome living helping evil people destroy others who are just like him. There’s an ugly term for that.
Scott has never attempted to win an election by gaining support from black people. From his first campaign back in the 90’s, he built a career protecting Southern racists. He’s used his race as evidence that Republicans aren’t racist, but if he ever threw his weight behind a policy needed by African Americans he’d be out of office before you can say Stepan Fetchit.
So why go to such lengths to avoid appearing gay? Why does a tokenism that works for a black candidate fail for an LGBTQ candidate? It’s simple – there aren’t many Republicans out there who are worried that they might be black.
The most powerful hatred directed at LGBTQ people comes from denial. When you see someone at the podium in a school board meeting railing about gay indoctrination, you should get a look a their Internet history. There are lots of Republicans out there who are determined not to be gay. They’re trying real hard. Having an openly gay person out there living their life with happiness and success fills them with loathing. Having that person accepted as a Republican leader is utterly intolerable. In this atmosphere, tokenism can work for an African-American candidate while it fails for a homosexual.
This all begs the question – is Tim Scott actually gay? Who knows? He might not know. He’s the only person with the right to make that determination and decide whether to share it. Thing is, Republicans think he’s gay, for the same reasons you do, except they care.
True to character, when faced with ugly insinuations from Republicans, Scott has responded by validating their bigotry. He could have made the simple, true statement that “my sexuality, whatever it is, is my business and has no implications for my character or fitness.” Instead, his response has been a softened version of “I’m definitely not one of those disgusting homos.”
What matters about Tim Scott is his willingness to sell his identity to protect bigots. Whether he does that with a man, a woman, or no one at his side, it leaves a grim legacy.