Jan 26, 2024 |
WLSU, More Than That| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
WLSU, More Than That
In November of 1984 my parents threw an Election Night party. I still remember the little elephants on the cocktail napkins. I was five years old and understood nothing about politics, but I knew that Ronald Reagan was president, that he was about to be for four more years, and that this was both inevitable and very good. It is odd now to think of the outcome of a presidential election being a foregone conclusion, but it was. In 1984, Reagan carried all but one state and the District of Columbia in what is still the largest electoral landslide in modern history.
Moments like this implanted within me not only a strong political identity, but also a sense of clarity and certainty: My family’s guy was the good guy, he led the right team, he would win obviously and convincingly, and we would celebrate.
When my dad came out of the closet as gay in 1992, he remained a Republican – as he would until his death in 2006. When questioned over the years about his political loyalty he would point out, correctly, that neither major party had at the time a pro-gay platform, that it was Democrat Bill Clinton who signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policies, and that since he wasn’t going to get any real recognition from either party, he might as well vote for the candidate that best represented his other beliefs.
His gay friends in particular were not persuaded by this argument. For what it was worth, neither was I. I was not interested in complexity – or compromise. I have always been a more difficult and idealistic person than he was. So I was excited in high school when my likewise contrarian brother introduced me to libertarianism.
Want to support our podcast?