On to Banality

Arthur Johnston and I have been visiting aldermen’s offices as political tourists. On our visits, Arthur and I make it clear that we are not representing a lesbian and gay organization, a particular camp, or a particular candidate. We are trying to practice nonpartisan politics because we believe that human rights mus be nonpartisan….

Our last visit was to the 48th Ward office of Ald. Kathy Osterman. After talking politics for about an hour, Kathy said, “I can make a commitment right now to you two: I will do everything I can to help you pass a rights bill.

“You have to understand the dynamics of City Hall. You can’t let this legislation become the pet project of a few alderman who will use it for PR only. You’ve got to have a broad cross-section of aldermen and the mayor sponsoring this…”

In the next few months, we have to shift gears and learn to practice the politics of family and familiarity as well as the politics of rights and wrongs. Let’s not get sidetracked by the deconstruction that plagues partisan candidates and movement politics. As Al Wardell, cochair of the Illinois Gay and Lesbian Task Force, has been heard to slyly say: “The gay movement is nothing other than a grand march towards banality.”

Windy City Times (1988)