Commentary/satire: Last Saturday, local police in a joint effort with Homeland Security raided nearly every gay bar in the Houston area, arresting more than 500 patrons and employees. Among those taken into custody without incident were Barcode’s customers and staff including Tanya Hyde, manager Larry Guerrero, and Lana Blake. Over at the Ripcord, bartender Piero Arevalo was forcefully removed from the long-time leather bar while the other employees and customers were similarly rounded up.
Down the street at JR’s, all occupants were handcuffed and carted off to an undisclosed location. Among those arrested were the night’s performers, bartenders and customers.
Down on the Island, all three of Galveston’s gay bars were raided. Rumors Beach Bar, 23rd Street Station and Robert’s Lafitte, the oldest gay bar in Texas, all saw their doors padlocked as everyone inside were hustled into awaiting prison style buses.
These scenes, reminiscent of bar raids in the 1960s and ’70’s, were repeated at George’s, Tony’s Corner Pocket, Neon Boots, Crocker, Pearl, Blur, Michael’s Outpost, Crystal, and several others.
Since the Supreme Court overturned marriage equality and now that the courts are packed with President Donald Trump-appointed religious fanatics and confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate, the administration’s policy of zero tolerance for anything associated with the gay lifestyle faces little resistance.
This story, while frightening, is satire. After all, when has Lana Blake ever been without incident? But what is happening in this country is true and is definitely frightening. Groups of people have been singled out by this administration in an effort to consolidate its base.
To paraphrase Martin Niemöller’s post World War II quotation, “First They Came For:”
Then they came for the Muslims, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Muslim.
Then they came for the immigrants, and I did not speak out — because I was not an immigrant
This administration is a fear, hate, and enemy-based association. They must have a vulnerable set of people that their fears and hatred can be focused on. First it was Mexicans as Trump announced his presidential candidacy. Shortly afterwards he waged war with Muslims and. of course, now it’s immigrants.
Donald Trump repeatedly disparaged Mexico during his presidential campaign. We all remember him saying, “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” The wall he promised Mexico will build is just a metaphor to show his racist base that Mexicans are different and must be separated.
Trump’s anti-Muslim bigotry has a long history dating back to when he called President Barack Obama a secret Muslim and began the birtherism movement. Once elected, President Trump tried to ban all Muslims from entering the country.
That brings us to today’s hated group of choice: immigrants. We’ve seen families separated, children torn from their mother’s arms, and babies locked in cages. Rather than condemn these barbaric acts, Trump supporters make excuses for the president. The lack of empathy is unbelievable.
When we learned that these children were not being given access to toiletries and baths, Trump supporters called the reports lies. Once this kind of cruelty is accepted, there’s no going back.
If the aforementioned satirical story didn’t scare you or you thought that can never happen, think again. The LGBTQ community has never had a fan or supporter in the Republican Party. They are still fighting against same-sex marriage and equal rights.
In May, the House of Representatives voted on the Equality Act, passing it 236-173. All “no” votes came from Republicans. The bill will not even be put to a vote in the Republican controlled Senate.
Don’t count on Christians to be a voice of reason. They have sold their soul for power. Trump promised them conservative judges and they are all too willing to bow to the president as long as he delivers.
In June, a Tennessee pastor crusaded for the killing of all gays, saying the Bible calls for the execution of LGBTQ people at the hands of the government.
As we celebrated the 4th of July this year there were babies in concentration camps on American soil. We had our president enforcing a ban on transsexuals serving in the military. For the first time ever, Independence Day was marked with a military-style parade in the nation’s capital. Fascism has come to America!
As a minority we must fight for all other vulnerable groups. LGBTQ people, people of color, immigrants, children, refugees, the disabled, and women are all under threat at the hands of this administration.
A Jewish group recently formed to protest against human rights violations on the border. Their motto is, “When we said never again, we meant it.” A powerful statement.
The GOP and Trump supporters are a cult and feel emboldened. So don’t kid yourself into thinking that the satirical story written above can’t come true. A year ago, no one would have imagined concentration camps in America.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the MONTROSE STAR.