Screw world peace. Miss New York is for the gays

Miss New York Claire Buffie

Claire Buffie was crowned Miss New York and will compete in the Miss America pageant. Her platform, “Straight for Equality: Let’s Talk,” makes her the first contestant to compete using an LGBT rights statement.

She won’t win. Miss New York never does. Not anymore.

The Miss America competition began in 1933. The first Miss New York to be crowned Miss America was Bess Myerson in 1945. She refused to change her name and sponsors pulled out because Myerson is Jewish. Miss America didn’t make that mistake again.

Thirty years later, Miss New York Tawny Godin became Miss America in 1975. During her reign, she admitted she smoked pot. The pageant couldn’t wait till that year was over. Honesty is definitely not a Miss America virtue and they didn’t make that mistake again.

Then in 1983, Vanessa Williams became the third and final Miss New York to become Miss America. Toward the end of her reign, nude pics emerged and the most talented winner in the pageant’s history also became its only titleholder to be forced out. Swimsuit competition aside, we know Miss America is definitely not about sex.

A year or two later, Miss New York was a student from my college. She said that the judges asked everyone else an insipid question whose answer could have been the well-rehearsed, “World peace.” Then they asked her, “What is your position on abortion?” Her answer might as well have been, “What the fuck?” She said she knew she was out of the competition before a word came out of her mouth.

And Miss New York will not win again. Ever.

Rarely, to make the competition not look rigged, a Miss New York makes it into the top 10. Once, a few years ago, even the top three. But really, isn’t Miss Mississippi so much safer?

So Buffie is really taking no chances when she makes LGBT rights her platform. In fact, she’s smart to set herself apart and use those New York-o-phobes at the pageant to her own advantage.

Myerson went on to a career as a game show panelist in the ’50s and ’60s and became New York’s Commissioner of Consumer Affairs. Godin married Dukes of Hazzard star John Schneider and had something of a TV and film career herself. And Williams is most recently a Desperate Housewife. The three are among the most successful winners in the pageant’s history.

We love our bold allies and Buffie is the first contestant to ever take a stand for gay equality. We wish her luck.

—  David Taffet

This is what I hate about the political right

Nobody is innocent. The Democrats have their talking points just like the GOP. Both use sleazy tactics and push-polling and have corrupt members of their caucuses. But I am not talking about every instance, just one from this morning.

I often receive press releases from Hamilton Strategies, a right-wing publicity organization that spews hateful e-mails attacking President Barack Obama and others in the Democratic Party on a regular basis. Today’s, though, was especially offensive. Here it is (bold mine):

President Obama’s visits to the countries of India and Indonesia have amplified the already existing controversy regarding the president’s Muslim loyalty. As America undergoes vital political changes, devastating unemployment, moral corruption, and economic decline, citizens show concern over the president’s prevailing desire to travel to express Muslim sympathy before attending to the blatant needs of his own country’s citizens.   In light of confusing policies and messages that seem to undermine our country’s Christian heritage, the intellectual exploration of apologetics is necessary to bring into focus the infallible truths of God’s Word, and for Christians in this society to know how to respond to and live out their faith in culturally shifting times.

OK, for a second let’s overlook the confounding grammar and poor sentence construction. (“[P]revailing desire to travel to express Muslim sympathy”? What does that even mean?) What this press release says is, “We still think Obama is a Muslim, and his going to Indonesia is a betrayal of good Americans, i.e., Christians.”

It’s well-established that Obama is not a Muslim, and the craven mention of “already existing controversy” over his “Muslim loyalty” merely intentionally stirs up falsehood as a means of race- or religion-baiting. Pretending that a settled fact remains an unknown factor in someone’s honesty is base, evil and a lie. (Don’t Christians believe in not telling lies?) Going further to act as if our country’s “Christian heritage” warrants attacks on anyone who is not Christian is not only anti-American, it’s untrue.

But what really bothers me is this: Where are the principled people on the right condemning these lies, this divisiveness, this cultivated animosity against other races, ethnicities and religions? Does Hamilton Strategies really speak to your beliefs, Newt? Or yours, Sarah? Do you, as leaders of your party, honestly agree that there is a “controversy” over Obama’s religion, or that visiting a country of another religion is a betrayal of our citizens? Do you, Mitt, think that only mainstream Christian thought can find a place in our nation’s governance and dealings with other countries — because your religion is hardly mainstream.

If you are not decrying such hate speech, such lies, such misinformation, which you know to be all these things, how can you claim to be leaders? How can you wonder why some Dems and moderates refuse to listen to any of your ideas because you cannot be trusted to stand up on principle? I’m no fan of Obama, but I don’t appreciate anyone who lies and uses religion as a cudgel to do it. Shame on Hamilton Strategies. Shame on Newt and Sarah and Mitt. And shame on anyone who would prefer to be on the right than in the right.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones