Enoch Ludlow

From Stonewall To Lavender Swastikas

Since we're in Hollywood, let's dish some dirt. Political junkies almost spilled the dregs of their Sunday morning coffee when radio newscasts announced that one-time California Congressman Michael Huffington is gay and out of the closet. Huffington, who spent over $25-million of his own money on an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate in 1994, spills his guts in an upcoming Esquire interview.Until recently, Huffington was married to pundit and political chat-show diva Arianna Huffington, with whom he sired two children. Their breakup was amicable, they both have oodles of money and are both very attractive people with the whole world before them.

All very sophisticated and civilized. But what does all this have to do with tobacco?

Michael Huffington dropped out of the public view after his dream of becoming a Senator was dashed. He resurfaced a few months ago when flaming liberal Rob Reiner put Huffington, along with National Rifle Association President, Charlton Heston and Republican Los Angeles Mayor, Richard Riorden, through his paces at a news conference showcasing the supposed support of conservatives for the $.50 per pack tax hike. Huffington gave conservatism new meaning as he and his cohorts flogged the anti-parent, anti-smoker, pro-bureaucracy tax initiative up and down the state.

Again, so what? What does gay have to do with tobacco?

Californians were flabbergasted this January when the grotesquely obese state assemblywoman Sheila Kuehl filled their television screens to denounce the passage of an Assembly bill overturning the unpopular law prohibiting smoking in bars. Kuehl, a Democrat from Southern California and the first lesbian elected to the state legislature, waddled up and down the Assembly floor, her eyes mere slits in her fat face, as she shrieked her hatred towards smokers: "It's about Health! It's about Lives!"

Kuehl, along with lesbian Assemblywoman Carole Migden, D-San Francisco, can always be counted on to fanatically support the anti-tobacco cartel in its perpetual quest to curtail civil liberties, pass regressive tobacco taxes, trample the First Amendment and persecute an industry producing a legal product. If they could, they would banish every smoker from the state.

On the local level, in city governments from West Hollywood to San Francisco, gay politicians froth at the mouths whenever a tobacco issue is brought before city council. They stumble over each other to prove who hates the tobacco industry most, despises smokers the most hatefully and who is most devoted to "the children". The phenomenon is not unique to California. A prominent gay leader in Honolulu, who fought to prevent Hawaii from outlawing same sex marriage, also appears before city council to urge that restaurants be forbidden to allow their customers to smoke.

Gay liberation was born in New York City in 1969 when drag queens, hustlers and other "riff-raff" responded to official oppression by hurtling beer bottles, ash trays and lit cigarettes at New York's finest as the cops assaulted the Stonewall Bar in lower Manhattan. Those heavy-drinking, heavy-smoking individuals who only wanted to be left alone to mind their own business bear no resemblance to the mean-faced, intolerant and bigoted gay "leaders" who officiously seek to control every action of the citizens they represent.

Genuine civil libertarians have found the paradox of a gay leadership hell bent on extinguishing personal freedom quite baffling. A ranking of unpopular groups in America most surely would place gay people near the bottom of the heap. It is astonishing that a group so persecuted for millennia would enthusiastically embark on its own agenda of oppression the first moment it gains even a minor seat at the table of power. How is it that these gay politicos seem unable to grasp that when the rounding up of undesirables begins, they will be the first to go?

During his race for the U.S. Senate, Michael Huffington was derided as the quintessential empty suit, attempting to buy his way into political office. Now that he's come out as an anti-smoker and a gay man, his political potential appears unlimited. And that's a shame.

Enoch A. Ludlow


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