Karl Rove has built his career on terrifying people. An equal-opportunity offender, he has directed our government’s successful attempts to panic Americans about terrorism, international diplomacy, taxation, mainstream media, and the judicial system.
And homosexuality, stem cell research, promiscuity, pornography, teen sexuality, and naughty words on TV.
Karl Rove has reminded us that very little can motivate people more than fear. Those of us who believe in sexuality—and democracy, reason, and science—haven’t found a reliable alternative yet.
Karl Rove conceived the brilliant strategy of putting “gay marriage” initiatives on state ballots to drive conservative voters to the polls—who then voted for conservative candidates as well. Karl Rove took two-bit self-described “ex-porn addict” Phil Burress and elevated him to a political force in Ohio—who now directs the multi-million dollar effort (called CCV) to eliminate strip clubs and pay-per-view hotel-room porn from the state.
Karl Rove not only “Swift-boated” John Kerry. He “Swift-boated” gays (dangerous to your marriage), adult entertainment (a gateway drug leading to child porn), family planning (undermines families and morality), and sex education (leads to “promiscuity” and pregnancy). He helped turn science and the Constitution into opinions—which everyone is entitled to have, of course—alongside other opinions, like creationism, the Rapture, and gays-seduce-straights.
Blaming George Bush for Karl Rove’s ideas is like blaming the dummy for the ventriloquist’s bad jokes. Of course, 62 million people voted for the dummy. They gave us the ventriloquist as well.
Paradoxically, the right to express our sexuality—that irrational, ephemeral, metaphysical, quasi-spiritual, aggressive, submissive energy—depends on public policy based on rationality and rigid devotion to a dry, revolutionary document that protects all private behavior.
Karl Rove damaged that precious contract as often and as aggressively as he could. We can’t say goodbye gleefully, because he leaves behind catastrophic damage that makes Katrina look like a gentle breeze.