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Politics & Current Affairs

Andrew Sullivan Is Not a Gay Republican

Blogging has changed the art of non-fiction writing, says Andrew Sullivan, one of the first political commentators to embrace the form in 2000. When you blog “everything you write is provisional because you live in a changing world and you might change your mind or facts may change or you may come across arguments that force you to reassess,” he says. So there is a “presentness of writing” that doesn’t exist with previous types of journalism.

During his Big Think interview, Sullivan, whose blog The Daily Dish has over a million readers a month, offered some advice about what makes a great blog. One of the really great things about blog journalism, he says, is that it allows readers to follow an open and interesting real-time discussion between journalists, like a recent back and forth between Sullivan and Glenn Greenwald over terror-suspect Anwar Al Awlaki. Another great quality of blogging is that it allows intellectual discussions of philosophy to exist side by side with pop culture memes, like Antoine Dodson’s “Bed Intruders” song.  Sullivan doesn’t think there should be ‘a contradiction between ‘South Park’ clips and discussions of theodicy.”

But Sullivan does see a contradiction between his brand of conservatism and that espoused by the Republican party. He bemoans its general trajectory, which has veered towards fundamentalism in recent years, saying talk radio and corrupt institutions in Washington “are turning conservatism into something that is really very creepy, but also emotionally and psychically powerful for people.” There are some rational voices on the right, he says, but they are being drowned out by the Tea Party. The conservative movement used to be a “really smart critique of the welfare state” and a “critical insight into how one defeats communism,” he says, but now “all that stuff has slowly been marginalized and all the worst has come to the surface.”

Because he is conservative and initially supported George Bush, Sullivan gets a lot of flak for being a gay Republican—but he’s never been a Republican, he says. Or a Democrat, for that matter. In the past he has advised gay people to stay independent so they can prevent their votes from being taken for granted. But with the Republican party as it is, he doesn’t see how a gay person could side with a party that is so exclusionary. To “join a party on condition that we oppose our own civil rights and our own basic civil equality seems a non-starter for me,” he says. “There’s something quite nauseating about actually.”

A devout Catholic, Sullivan told us that the first person he came out to was God. He also informed us that we’ve already had a gay president. And finally, he talked about the “fantastic” It Gets Better Project started by Dan Savage as a response to suicides and bullying of LGBT teenagers. “What’s great about it is that, you see, the great struggle for gay people is that politics is just not going to work for us. The idea that these politicians will bring us equality has always been a complete delusion. The only thing that brings us equality is our own testimony and our own lives.”


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