Lee Cataluna: Despite masking, Gabbard’s words remain
It seems like half the songs on the radio have dirty lyrics edited out, but not in a smooth, unobtrusive way. In an obvious way.
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It seems like half the songs on the radio have dirty lyrics edited out, but not in a smooth, unobtrusive way. In an obvious way. There’s a gap in the lyrics, or a random word is inserted or notes from an instrument cover the offending phrase.
It doesn’t really mask anything. Everybody knows something is missing and what that something might be. The human brain inserts the dirty word right in the bowdlerized edit, yet somehow the song is considered sanitized.
We have become so good at that, at ignoring the obvious omissions and elided facts and pretending that the “clean” version is, in fact, clean.
Tulsi Gabbard is like that, with a past full of gaping holes, hateful words and bigoted intentions that she fully expects people to ignore. Look at the surfing veteran. Look at the diverse congresswoman. Get her lots of coverage in national media. Ignore all the hatred she spewed in her not-so-distant past. It was all working so well for her.
But now that the new freshman class in Congress is even more diverse, more outspoken, more focused and more interesting than she is, now that Mazie Hirono has taken on the reputation of the sharp, unafraid lady from Hawaii, it seems as though Gabbard had to set off a flash-bang device to get some attention.
So she’s running for president. That’s not an explosive “boom.” It’s much smaller, like the unimpressive “ffft” of a sparkler.
Like other politicians and celebrities of our time, Gabbard is an expert in curating her image. Her public self is softened by filters. There’s lots of stuff edited or cropped out.
Gabbard can try to brush away hateful things she said about LGBT people in her not-so-long-ago youth, but the unedited truth is that she didn’t just slip and say a bad word, she actively, passionately worked against the legalization of same-sex marriage. She belonged to a group of rabid advocates of “traditional” marriage. She went to meetings, she strategized, she participated, she took action. She didn’t just drink the Kool-Aid served by her LGBT-hating parents; she helped them make the juice.
Everybody can stop hyperventilating. She’s not going to become president just because she entered the already crowded race. Though she slid effortlessly into the state Legislature, then the City Council, then to a seat in Congress without breaking a sweat or answering for her past actions doesn’t mean her lucky streak will hold out. She’s just another name on a long list of wannabes. She hasn’t been included in the big polls of presidential hopefuls along with Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and a dozen others. President Trump hasn’t insulted her on Twitter. Nobody takes her as seriously as she takes herself. Her intended climb is precipitous, and the baggage she carries is heavy, laden with a history of organized, strategized homophobia.
She says she’s changed. She’ll say whatever she needs to say.
Reach Lee Cataluna at 529-4315 or email@example.com.