The Straight Guy at the Gay Pool Party
Would-be governor Gray Davis entered UAW Local 250 Union Hall in Gardena on Saturday like a boxer. The swelling music-imagine the theme from Rocky multiplied by the theme from Chariots of Fire-tugged our cheering emotions as reliably as the bell tugged drool from Pavlov's dogs. We were eating our yummy barbecue at a table on the main aisle, the one Davis would walk down, and we quickly stood. I placed my boy on his chair to my right, and as the lieutenant governor came slowly toward us, I offered him my left hand to shake. He kissed me on the cheek instead and kinda did a high-fivey thing with Jimmy. It was so exciting that I actually thought, "Maybe I won't vote Green." And that just shows you how susceptible even the smartest, prettiest among us are to the power of anybody with an entourage. Old people brag about the time they shook Roosevelt's hand when they were 4. Our trip to the union hall may be the day my boy proudly recounts.But as I was pondering changing my Pinko vote, I remembered the fact that Davis thinks the state should kill people and once said Singapore-style ass-whipping is a good idea. And I remembered that Green Party candidate Dan Hamburg is the only hopeful so far to sign Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin's pledge to bring California's pathetic per-student funding (we rank 43rd) in line with the rest of the country.I've promised Commie Mom, though, that if the race looks close, I'll go with Davis. He is at least in touch with working people and their 8-hour-day concerns, even if he is more socially conservative than we like. But then, so are a lot of the older, beautiful, blue-collar union folks whom he represents so loyally. Oy. Decisions. As they jockeyed for position to shoot Senator Barbara Boxer, an LA Weekly photographer told OC Weekly photographer Jack Gould the Republican Convention was going on in Long Beach. What fun! We sped to the Long Beach Convention Center. The two events might as well have been in separate universes. While the Dems had a gloomy, cavernous union hall and hundreds of folks of every age, class and color cheering lustily and eating big slabs of meat and beans (and if there's one thing labor guys know how to do, it's barbecue!), the Republicans had an elegantly appointed convention center and the adjacent Hyatt in which to rest their well-heeled feet. And while the Dems can always count on Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa and handsome, veteran East LA Assemblyman Gil Cedillo to be nattily suited, at the Republican Convention, every suit was a suit of beauty. Republicans own lots more stuff. I sent Gould in to check out speaker Jack Kemp (whom I tend to like, crazy as he is, because he truly is a Republican who cares about the poor), but when Kemp proclaimed the capital-gains tax is a tax on poor people, Gould abandoned the hall. He simply couldn't take any more. I stayed outside with Jim Righeimer-one of the Gang of Three behind Proposition 226 and many other dastardly plans-because, evil and Machiavellian as he is, at least he's a lot of fun. Assemblyman Scott Baugh hung out, too; he's becoming my favorite OC official. Baugh is evidence that if you sic the district attorney on a conservative, you'll produce a civil libertarian! Baugh has been on the warpath to stop abuses of police power ever since, from co-sponsoring legislation for Families to Amend California's Three Strikes to authoring legislation to curtail the use of teenagers as police informants. "Who knew the police and the DA were abusing their power?" Righeimer asked archly. "Who knew?" Well, black people have been screaming about it for an awfully long time, Jim. They knew. But c'mon, why would anyone listen to them? A nice old man manned the Jim Silva table. He wants a commercial airport at the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station so that in time of war, the military could commandeer the base. He looked so sad when I told him I didn't want a Silva sticker because I'm a Socialist. "Wear it to be sociable," he urged, and so I did. With a "Silva: A Proven Tax Fighter" sticker plastered over my heart, I went undercover. Undercover for what, I don't know. My friend Greg commandeered my little boy, and when they returned, Greg was smirking uncontrollably, and Jimmy was awash in stickers for every right-wing cause I've seen in my nightmares; he was a tiny Republican billboard. I was so proud. I went back that night (see what I'll do for you?) for the hospitality suites. According to Tom Lowe's Spin-a fictionalized look at the partying Grand Ol' Party-hospitality suites are where all the craziness happens, along with the free drinks. Luckily, I ran into some crazy Libertarian friends (they're the ones who always show up for the wonderful ultra-Left Catholic Worker's events; I wonder why they call themselves Libertarians?), who brought me up to the Young Americans for Freedom hospitality suite. I was having such a good time chatting with all the future purveyors of injustice (and drinking their champagne) that I kept forgetting they were Republicans. And then, every once in a while, there would enter a person who was so unbelievably jerky even the smug Republicans would hate him. There was one couple in particular. The woman argued against medical marijuana because she smokes pot, and you must be pretty stupid if you have to go to a cannabis club to get it (10 minutes later, she denied saying she smokes pot, but everyone jumped down her throat, saying she had so! and so she left). Her boyfriend, a lawyer, was defending the justice of asset forfeiture. Remember the Detroit woman whose husband borrowed her car and then picked up a hooker? Her car was seized by the government. The boyfriend even maintained the justice of that. I wish Baugh had been there to set him straight-but then, the guy wasn't a very good listener. There were two very sweet boys from the Visalia Young Republicans. One is on food stamps as he works his way through school; he doesn't necessarily like other Republicans to know that. "You're a Socialist!" I told him, but he sadly stated that he's 51 percent Republican, so a Republican he must remain. So we went up to their room to eat our pizza (we don't believe in sharing; handouts will just cause people to become dependent). As we were choosing an in-house movie, we ran across Warren Beatty's little-seen ode to Socialism, Bulworth. And that's what we watched as I cackled in glee before vomiting up my pizza and passing out on the floor. I awoke as one of their roommates came in. They introduced me, and he got so mad! "What's she doing in here?" he sneered. "It's okay, dude!" my friends said. "Everybody knows Commie Girl!" "Don't you know who I am?" I scolded him with my eyes closed. "Everyone knows who I am." No one knew who I was the next day at the Eleanor Roosevelt Gay and Lesbian Democratic Club Barbecue and Pool Party. We could only stay for the speeches and not the bacchanal that surely followed. But we did chat with former OC Democratic Party head Jim Toledano. "That is just about the sexiest older man I've ever seen!" my gay friend breathed about Toledano. "Who is he?" Leave it to my friend to lust after the straight guy at a big gay party. (There were very few lesbians; how about some letters explaining why lesbians aren't as visible here as gay men?) And I laughed and laughed. Oh, how good it felt!
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