Sunday, November 06, 2011

HISD school lunch menu: Homophobia Burger with extra bigotry sauce

We just wouldn't be the City by the Bayou without a big steaming plate of this.

Some Houston residents are calling for the resignation of Manuel Rodriguez from the Houston school board after the incumbent distributed a campaign flyer to his constituents earlier this week that included language critical of gay people.

“His records show he spent years advocating for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender rights… not kids,” the campaign brochure says about Ramiro Fonseca, Rodriguez’s opponent in Tuesday’s election for the District III seat of Houston school system’s Board of Trustees.

The flyer states Fonseca has received the endorsement of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus, “the South’s oldest civil rights organization dedicated solely to the advancement of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights.” (The underlined words are underlined in the flyer.) [...]

Rodriguez said today that the brochure isn’t anti-gay.

“It’s the truth,” Rodriguez said during a phone interview, adding that he is not anti-gay. “I am not bashing gay people.”

Rodriguez said that the flyer emphasized the endorsement of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus to “indicate who (Fonseca) represents.”

The incumbent said he underlined the words, ‘gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights’ “to make sure parents know who’s going to make policy for their children.”

Sidebar first: go look at the flyer. You have to admire the unintended irony of the man who has been at the head of the board for one of the nation's largest school districts writing "Vote NO for my opponent".

The HLGBT Caucus -- which controls Houston elections and has for some time now -- launched itself into frenzied overdrive.

Noel A. Freeman, president of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus called the Rodriguez brochure “trash politics at its worst.” The flyer also describes Fonseca as being 54 with no children and having a male partner.

“A homophobic bigot like this has no business making decisions that affect our children,” Freeman said.

Rodriguez should step down and officials from the Houston Independent School District should investigate him, said Art Pronin, president of the Meyerland Area Democrats Club.

“This is nauseating that a sitting public official would do this. He should be held to a higher standard than that,” said Pronin, who added that during the between 25 and 30 campaigns he’s worked on, he hadn’t seen anything like this.

“It’s inexcusable that a member of the school board would do the same thing that many students to do gay students,” Pronin said. “The flyer is vicious. It specifically makes it sound like it’s perverted to be gay and highlights multiple times that being gay is not ‘normal.’”

Worse, Pronin said, is that the HISD school board recently strengthened its anti-bullying policy.

“Now Rodriguez is doing it,” Pronin said. “What’s it saying to parents who have a gay child? He has to go.”

If Da Caucus decided to join forces with Occupy Wall Street's Houston chapter, I'm convinced that the Chase Tower in downtown Houston would resemble New York's World Trade Center in 2001 on rhetoric alone. (If that analogy offends you then substitute "the walls of Jericho". But back to the point ...)

I just don't understand why some conservative moron has to go there every single time we have an election in this town. Forget Dave Wilson. Forget Gene Locke two years ago. The Right has been playing the Fag Card -- or the Fagbait Card -- at least since Kathy Whitmire was controller.

I'm sure it was going on well before that, too. It was just a little more obvious and out in the open. For that matter it may have even won an election at some point in Houston's history.

It's done nothing but lose elections for the perpetrators of fear and loathing for the past generation, though, ever since "Louie, Don't Shoot!" lost his comeback bid against incumbent mayor Whitmire.

But that never seems to stop them from playing it.

This is the proof that the Freak Right is clinically insane: they keep doing the same thing repeatedly, expecting a different result.

Manuel Rodriguez is just version 1.6. And by his own words: vote No for his opponent, Ramiro Fonseca.

 No más de este mamarracho (I prefer caca de toro personally but my translator is polite).

Update: The Chron posts a retraction.

Earlier this campaign season, we endorsed Manuel Rodriguez Jr. for another term on the board of the Houston Independent School District. We now retract that endorsement in the race for HISD Position III trustee. [...]

With his hateful flier, Rodriguez perpetuates the kind of stereotypes that put our kids in danger. And he implies that all right-thinking people agree with him - an insult to his constituents, and precisely the kind of blithe, old-school homophobia that makes school hallways so treacherous.

Members of the school board are supposed to be role models, not bullies. They're supposed to support civil rights, not fight against them. They're supposed to fight hate speech, not commit it.

It's important to stand up to bullying, intolerant behavior, whether on the playground or at the ballot box.

1 comment:

Matt Bramanti said...

Rodriguez should step down and officials from the Houston Independent School District should investigate him

For what? What justiciable act is he suspected of?

I get that the MADC doesn't like the ad, and that's fine. But they're suggesting that government action be taken against him.