On Wednesday Night, Stephen Colbert featured a short that I thought was one of the best commentaries on small town America and the acceptance of gays. The problem, though, as I saw it was the whole thing was a fake. I figure it was such a fake that I didn’t even bother checking into it. Well – lo and behold – it is true! If I were going to write a movie script, this is a story I would want to write. Johnny Cummings, the openly Gay mayor of Vicco, Kentucky is also a total cliche as the town’s leading hair-dresser! But – he is real. The town is real, and the story is heartwarming.
I have spent all of my life in small towns. This is the most accurate version of small-town life I’ve seen. It makes the local fundamentalist minister look like a small town jerk. He probably is. I was reading the LA Times version of the story, which just might be a little patronizing toward ‘simple hill folk’. I have a heck of a lot of family that comes from Kentucky. They never had much of a problem with gays or lesbians. That’s the beauty of small town America. If you mind your own business, do your job, treat people decent, and just be yourself – most of the time, it’s okay. They don’t like people who make waves.
Heck, I could tell you so many tales about small-town South Carolina and their one-time acceptance of gays and lesbians that most people probably wouldn’t believe it. My English and math teachers in junior high had a life time lesbian relationship. Everyone knew it. They had little matching houses that were right next to one another. They spent their summers in Europe, traveling for educational purposes. No one cared. The owner of the town’s leading men’s store was involved with the local Presbyterian minister – and a few others. The leading politician of the town was a womanizer who bought his mistress a mink coat. She left it at the hotel where they were staying. They sent it to the “Mrs.” who was horrified. My mother told her never to say a word, just start wearing the coat, which she did. He never strayed again.
Small towns in the rural south are nothing but soap operas. An openly gay mayor just fits right into the scenario. It’s like the story of Cummmings’ best friend, the cop, who said he helped him through all four of his divorces! That’s real small town America.
One of the most tragic parts of the way the GOP has changed is right there, imbedded in this story. Johnny Cummings was once a Republican. He changed parties, to become a Democrat, like most of the people in the town. An openly Gay politician is basically not wanted or welcome within the GOP. Not now. Once upon a time, they were. Something truly nasty has happened to the GOP. It is no longer tolerant of the human condition, only those humans who are ultra wealthy or ultra brainwashed to worship the wealthy as a part of the new cult mentality. If you deviate from the cult, you must be cast out, trod upon, castigated, and treated like dirt.
Something truly nasty is happening in this new, Tea Party, Brothers’ Koch, extreme right, religious GOP. The following individuals are no longer welcome:
- Creative individuals
- Single women
- Single men
- Non breeders
- Anyone who questions the Koch agenda
- Anyone with a brain
- Those with compassion
I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of this entire scenario.