Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bigoted Hissy-Fit From Windy City Watch

Oooo, they're soooo sennn-sitive over at Windy City Watch (WCW). Seems their boa feathers are all ruffled over two posts about Ron Huberman, one by me on Monday, Feb 2 and another by Illinois Review (IR). The IR post drew heavily from my post of the same title, "Huberman Flies Into the Gay-dar." WCW is accusing us of bigotry and homophobia. Like the "Reverend" Jesse Jackson's knee-jerk, viper-quick ability to falsely accuse good people of racism, the anonymous writer at WCW has falsely accused me of homophobia and bigotry in a post today (Feb. 3). They're wrong, and pitifully so, made all the worse by the glaring fact that the nameless WCW writer seems to have completely missed the points of what both Illinois Review and I were making. (WARNING: This will be a long post, probably too long for the hate-addled writer at WCW to be able to focus on to the end, but I have faith that the rest of you can tough it out.) Let's review what Windy City Watch wrote in its off-target post, incorrectly titled "Illinois Review goes all homophobic on Ron Huberman." In a commentary posted this week regarding Ron Huberman's appointment to be the new CEO of the Chicago Public Schools and the revelation that he is gay, the Illinois Review (IR) wrote: Frankly we agree with (Tom) Mannis, that it's all rather disturbing that the Mayor kept that particular important part of Huberman's social life a secret until after the new CPS CEO was confirmed by the school board. It's like finding out after the fact that your new Treasury Secretary had no problem ripping off the IRS. You feel foolish for trusting those in authority to appoint not only qualified, but moral people. Let's pause here for analysis. Notice, please, that up to this point WCW is quoting Illinois Review, not me. Before we proceed, a quick trip backwards in time to Salem, Massachusetts might be fun: "She's a witch," the old priests would to scream. Suddenly, because of fear and paranoia, and because someone with "authority" declared it so, villagers who had been long time friends with the now-accused "witch" believed the accusation. Why? Well, they all just knew that there witches living among them, and so they were eager to ferret them out. WCW is hunting witches. Indoctrinated by years of hateful anti-heterosexual (heterophobic) propaganda, people like the nameless writer at WCW have been made to be bigots themselves, prejudiced to the point where they assume that even legitimate criticism of a man's actual qualifications - or lack thereof, in the Huberman case - must be homophobia, xenophobia, or some other phobia. WCW and other paranoids succumb to hysteria and are convinced that they see bigotry even when it cannot be rationally demonstrated. The only true offense here is the false accusation of bigotry made by WCW against Illinois Review and me. Let's continue with WCW's poorly considered rant: Say what? We would like IR and Mannis to explain to us how Huberman keeping his sexual orientation a secret is disturbing. It is his own private business and has no impact on his ability to serve the people of Chicago admirably and honorably. The homophobic neanderthals [sic] over at IR might be startled to learn that over their many collective years of schooling a few of their teachers most likely belonged to GLBT community. Its [sic] this type of unabashed bigotry that makes it hard for us to take the ultra conservative movement seriously. WCW is asking, in an australopithecine way, for an explanation from Illinois Review and me as to why "[Huberman] keeping his sexual orientation a secret is disturbing." I cannot speak for IR, but after re-reading their post several times it is my opinion that there is no homophobia or bigotry there. Illinois Review wrote, "You feel foolish for trusting those in authority to appoint not only qualified, but moral people. And in the case of Huberman, the education qualifications to head the nation's third largest school district are especially skimpy." Many education leaders in Chicago agree that Huberman is not qualified to lead CPS. As for the "moral" reference, the crux of my post - which Illinois Review was agreeing with - was that Huberman has been less than honest about being gay. Dishonesty, most of would agree, is immoral. (Imagine if Rahm Emanuel had never publicly admitted to being Jewish, but then held a press conference after Obama's inauguration to announce that fact. How would people feel about him being ashamed of what he is, and of being deceitful about it until it was politically convenient to come out with it? Suppose Mitt Romney had been elected president, and then announced that he'd been a Mormon all his life.) I'm will explain what I wrote, as requested by WCW. Let me start my explanation by suggesting to WCW that he/she re-read my post, but this time think about what I wrote rather than only reacting to what he/she imagined I wrote. To aid in the explanation, I will present excerpts from my post. I began my post with, "Normally, I don't care what somebody's sexual orientation is so long as it only involves consenting adults." That is hardly "unabashed bigotry." I then wrote: "There is an aspect to the story....and that's Huberman's dishonesty. Up til now, Huberman has been flying under the gay-dar. That is, many of us knew or suspected that he was gay, but he did not wear it on his sleeve. Stories about him slinking around the gay clubs along Halsted and Broadway in Boys' Town (usually at Sidetrack) have circulated for years, but he did not acknowledge it publicly." Everything in the above paragraph is true. I made no comment on his gay clubbing. ("Slinking," by the way, is not homo-specific. News flash: Plenty of heterosexuals also "slink" from bar to bar every night.) Keep in mind, as you continue to read, that militant gay organizations often "out" closeted gay people. Nobody accuses them of being homophobic, bigoted or Neanderthals. Here is where I made the main point of my post: Suddenly, however, Huberman could no longer hide this fact when, in the wake of Daley's announcement, gay blogs throughout Chicago were emblazoned with posts screaming about Huberman finally coming out of the closet. Comments sections were steaming, too. Then tell us why the proud gay Huberman waited until now to admit that he's gay. Does that sound "proud" to you? And are you ready to admit that he probably would not have gone public had it not been for his outing in the gay media? When I, a straight guy, simply said that he was "popular in the gay community," I stopped short of outing the man. I did that out of respect for his privacy. How much respect have the gay websites shown Huberman by outing him for nothing more than a petty, selfish desire to seize upon some misdirected need to self actuate? WCW, too busy wiping the foaming spittle from his/her rage-twisted, twitching lips to properly analyze my post, missed my point and the fact that I was actually dissing the gay web sites for outing Huberman, which probably contributed to the Daley-Huberman decision to announce his sexual orientation. In other words, I actually defended Huberman's right to privacy, and at no time have I written that his homosexuality disqualifies him for any job with the city. What I said, to paraphrase myself, was that Huberman, apparently embarrassed by his homosexuality for many years, finally admitted it publicly but only after being effectively outed by bloggers from within his own community. I will add that Huberman and Daley announced it for political expediency, period. Homosexuality in the case of a CTA chief is irrelevant, whereas it is very relevant in the minds of many for a man taking the reigns of a school system. It is not about the sexual preference, however. It's about a man whose character caused him to hide that sexual preference, even from most of his own gay brethren, and even in a city and an era wherein such closeted behavior is rarely necessary. It is about a man with zero experience in education administration. It is about a man who was not forthright or transparent, and so this is about a man who is - to put it simply - deceitful. What else might Ron Huberman be hiding? What else is he ashamed of? Daley and Huberman, intelligent men both, understood this and undoubtedly discussed an announcement of Huberman's gayness before the announcement that he was the one chosen by Daley to head CPS. I believe it is safe to say that, had Daley chosen Huberman to head up Streets and Sanitation, there would have been no announcement that Huberman is gay. There would have been no political reason to. Daley and Huberman were smart enough to realize immediately, however, that as CPS chief, Huberman's sexual orientation would have come to light sooner than later. Better to come forth with it publicly and early on, they probably reasoned, rather than have it leaked or revealed and let the story spin itself out of control. It was a brilliant thing to do. As I said, it exposed a dishonesty on the part of Huberman. He was dishonest to his own gay community. To have pretended not be with them was disrespectful and insulting. Some Chicago gays knew he was homosexual, but as many surprised commenters on the gay websites have demonstrated, most did not. I finished my post with this: In short Huberman has been living a public lie. He has insulted the LGBT community by hiding his homosexuality. How's that for "pride?" How does one justify that in this day and age, when tolerance for gays is virtually universal in this country? What does Huberman's dishonesty about the essence of what and who he is say about his overall character? WCW wrapped up his/her angry post with this: What is immoral with hiring a gay man with an excellent resume and proven track record to run a school system? Awe bigotry, isn't amazing. [sic] I never said that hiring Huberman was "immoral," although I did criticize Daley's decision to put Huberman in charge of CPS, which is a more complicated creature than CTA is, based only on what I perceive as his shoddy performance as head of CTA. As for bigotry being amazing, well, it certainly can be. It can blind one to reason and clear thinking, as WCW has shown us. The false perception of bigotry is equally amazing. What's disturbing, however, is the assumption - indeed, the prejudiced expectation - of bigotry, and then seeing bigotry where none exists. To wrap all of this up (I said it would be long), and provide myself with one more opportunity to mock Windy City Watch, let me say that I would like WCW to explain to me how Huberman being ashamed of his sexual orientation and so keeping it a secret is not disturbing. I agree, as I have written publicly more than once, that it is his own private business and has no impact on his ability to serve the people of Chicago admirably and honorably. The heterophobic, paranoid neanderthals over at IR might be startled to learn that over their many collective years of schooling a few of their teachers most likely belonged to GLBT community. RELATED: Do You Suffer From Heterophobia? 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