With GOP it’s Fox News guarding the henhouse

The Republican assault on reality in service of our twice-impeached former president is not an anomaly, like waking up next to a stranger and realizing that someone drugged you at the club. It is a habit and requires intervention.

A recent example is House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s outrage that Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to accept his naming of saboteurs to the select committee on the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. He thinks diverting attention to Black Lives Matter protests will cause collective amnesia. Meanwhile, Trump calls the Jan. 6 rioters “a loving crowd.”

Gen. Robert E. Lee statue taken down in Charlottesville.

Loving America enough to be honest about its past

Mary Custis Lee feared in May 1861 that her home overlooking Washington from the hills of Arlington would “become a field of carnage.” Her husband, Robert E. Lee, had gone to Richmond after resigning from the Army to fight for the Confederacy. Before the war’s end, their estate became Arlington National Cemetery.

160 years later, I watch a video of what a friend calls General Lee’s final retreat as his statue rolls on a flatbed truck to its new home in storage after being taken down in Charlottesville, four years after a white supremacist rally where neo-Nazi James Alex Fields…

Photo of Richard Rosendall by Mark Thompson

LGBTQ folk have a clear stake in the fight for democracy.

In politics, if you characterize someone else’s concern in the most extreme and provocative manner, you can stir partisan passions and undermine serious discussion of the subject. It is a way to divide people and prevent solutions to our nation’s most pressing issues.

A lot of noise has been made by Republicans looking for a wedge issue over whether history teachers should be able to teach the truth about race in American history. Gay conservative Andrew Sullivan has made a huge fuss over Critical Race Theory, though he says it should be exposed and not suppressed. But decrying CRT when…

Vice President Kamala Harris and husband Doug Emhoff in 2021 DC Pride march

Our forebears stepped up, and so must we

A recent op-ed by Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David decried the surge of state legislative efforts to scapegoat transgender youth and criminalize parents and doctors who help them. He called for “defiant intervention,” but did not suggest hurling bricks through windows.

Some doctors will likely defy the baseless bans and challenge them in court, as others defied and challenged anti-sodomy laws decades ago. Defiance depends on one’s point of view: right-wing culture warriors who target trans youth are defying not only science but public opinion.

The spike in transphobic hate crimes, however, reminds us that intolerant rhetoric can have…

Barring queer cops from Pride is a terrible mistake

The decision by Heritage of Pride in New York City to bar uniformed police from marching in their parade reminds us that some activists do not want to end authoritarianism so much as take it over.

The HOP executive board overrode its membership in banning the Gay Officers Action League (GOAL) from marching. In doing so, the board copied the Ancient Order of Hibernians, which years ago banned the same group from marching in its St. Patrick’s Day parade. What sense does it make to adopt the methods of those who have excluded us? Of course they have the same…

Their persecution is not erased by blaming them for their plight

On May 13, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley tweeted, “We can’t stand idly by when the United States government sends $3.8 billion of military aid to Israel that is used to demolish Palestinian homes, imprison Palestinian children and displace Palestinian families.”

How is she wrong? Please do not reflexively say that she, or anyone else who defends the human rights of Palestinians, must be a defender of terrorists. If a government treated you as beasts, stole your land, and turned you out of your homes, wouldn’t you feel compelled to fight back?

I oppose Hamas. But the “terrorist” label was also used…

Photo illustration by JUXTA. US flag: Michael Schofield. Man: Nsey Benajah. Palestine: Ahmed Abu Hameeda. Israel: Cole Keister

If you would not be judged by the worst of your kind, do not judge another by the worst of his

This was written in the spring of 2019 and was published in Bay Windows and the Washington Blade. JUXTA republishes it now because the threats described are still very much alive.

The bees at Lafayette Square are familiar to me. They have buzzed around me before, curious but not hostile. When they approached again the other day, I greeted them like the bird woman in the original Mary Poppins, saying how glad I was they had not been wiped out by pesticides.

I mention the bees as an example of our need to coexist with others. This appears to be…

Looking for what’s not there: Arizona recount includes UV examination of ballots, based entirely on a conspiracy theory. CNN screengrab | JUXTA illustration

A comforting narrative is not evidence

The last time the 17-year cicadas of Brood X emerged in the Mid-Atlantic states, I walked out of my building and one of them landed on my shoulder. I knew it was harmless, so I gently lifted it and studied its beautiful, lacy wings before sending it on its way.

Some people want to make salads out of the critters. Personally, the crunchiest things I care to eat are Pepperidge Farm Thin and Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies. Others think of cicadas like locusts from a horror movie in which they land on someone by the hundreds, and when they are…

Photo illustration by JUXTA. Lt. Nazario and Chief Arradondo: screengrabs. Protest: Colin Lloyd

For public safety, punish trigger-happy cops

If only policing in America worked out as well in reality as it does in prime time TV dramas.

Alas, actual encounters with armed officers of the state are not always so comforting, especially when a traffic stop is a pretext for abuse. Studies show racially disparate results; a brutal reminder that slave patrols were among the earliest forms of policing in America.

“Why did they kill Tamir Rice?” a friend asks regarding the notorious 2014 police shooting of a 12–year-old playing in a park with a toy gun. …

Photo illustration by JUXTA. Bill signing: governor’s office. Baseball: rawpixel.

Democracy must be built on reality, not conspiracy theories

The novel by Philip K. Dick that became the movie Blade Runner was titled, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? I thought of that dystopian tale when I saw a picture of the cardboard cutout fans populating the Atlanta Braves’ Truist Park on April 2. That’s the day Major League Baseball announced that the All-Star Game would be moved out of Georgia because of the state’s new voter suppression law.

I am not really worried about how the cutouts will vote. The Republicans have not gone quite that far, at least not yet. …

Richard J. Rosendall

Former president, Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington. Charter member, NAACP-DC Police Task Force. Co-founder, Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store