From Point No Point to Deception Pass: Election is a chance to take stand in culture war

This year, once again, the Gay Pride Parade in Langley drew a big crowd and came off without a hitch. If one didn’t know better, you would think that the LGBTQ population in America has arrived to take their rightful place as respected and legally protected people of our great nation. The reality is that we are in a sometimes brutal culture war in which our gay neighbors and friends are very much still under attack and vulnerable to conservative efforts to drive them all back into the closet.

The upcoming election will either confirm the rightful gains of gay people to a place in the public life of our nation, as parents, teachers, workers in all fields and people free and safe to travel and enjoy the full experience of this our beautiful homeland. Or, they along with other minority populations, people of color, the disabled or the unhoused, etc., will soon find themselves again relegated to second class citizenship.

The conservative movement is creating its slate of candidates for office, from president of the United States to local school board members, with a new blueprint for governing. That is, if and when they take back power in all of those levels of governance. This blueprint was recently set down in a document by leading conservatives, through The Heritage Foundation, called Project 2025. It is a lengthy document with a great many provisions. Certain passages have alarmed many people, including environmentalists, women’s rights advocates, free speech and civil liberties advocates, among others. And certain parts have drawn the attention of LGBTQ advocates, such as the following passage:

“Families comprised of a married mother, father, and their children are the foundation of a well-ordered nation and healthy society. Unfortunately, family policies and programs under President Biden’s HHS are fraught with agenda items focusing on ‘LGBTQ+ equity,’ subsidizing single motherhood, disincentivizing work, and penalizing marriage. These policies should be repealed and replaced by policies that support the formation of stable, married, nuclear families.”

This suggests that the LGBTQ community should not be surprised if a conservative takeover of the remaining two branches of the federal government should result in a return to the public policies and programs that prevailed in the 1950s, before civil rights and a good deal of similar legislation was signed into law and implemented. With the overturning of Roe v. Wade by a U.S. Supreme Court now dominated by a conservative majority, few of us imagined that the clock could be so readily turned back. But now we know better.

Last year I marched in my first gay pride parade in Langley. I am not gay and hadn’t intended to join in the parade, but sometimes these things happen. You see, my wife and I were standing watching the parade go by, waving our little gay pride flags, when we saw two friends marching at the tail end of the parade. My wife went out into the street to talk to them and walk with them. I tagged along, not noticing at first that all of our friends on the sidewalk were cheering and waving at us. I finally realized that I had become part of the parade and started waving back.

I defend the right of conservatives to speak on behalf of Project 2025 and to campaign on behalf of candidates who will try to implement that program. This is the peaceful process a democracy chooses to settle its differences of opinion. Just be honest with us so we can make an informed choice.

Although my marching last year was not intentional, in the future I think that it will be, so long as such marches are still legally permitted and probably even if they become banned and marchers come under threat of state or vigilante punishment. So many of our rights were hard won in the past, and we ought to make it as difficult as possible for a determined minority to take those rights away from us. This fall’s election is an opportunity for the significant majority of the voting public that wants Roe v. Wade to be restored to voice that desire and the desire to keep other progressive laws on the books.

Those of us of similar mind will do that through our choices of president, congressional and senatorial candidates, as well as local officials. We will know who we need to support as we go through our voter’s guide again this year. And as you might know, it is not enough for us to simply cast our ballot; we will need to back that choice up with money in support of our chosen candidates, as well as other support work such as making phone calls, etc. to fellow voters who might need a reminder or a nudge.

Dr. Michael Seraphinoff is a Whidbey Island resident, a former professor at Skagit Valley College and academic consultant to the International Baccalaureate Organization.