It’s one of my favorite bits of the gringo political lexicon: a Kinsley Gaffe is when a politician says something true but impolitic. MUD Secretary General Chúo Torrealba committed a classic Kinsley Gaffe yesterday when he said outright that Same Sex Marriage, while important, is just not a political priority for the opposition in a country on the brink of an outright humanitarian disaster.
Look, nobody is going to out-gay-rights me. My very first experience as a political activist was at age 19, as the only straight volunteer working to defeat an anti-gay ballot initiative in Oregon. I can say something not so many straight guys can: I know what it’s like to be in the closet. I spent months trying to wiggle my way out of the dates with cute boys our very nice executive director kept trying to set me up on.
But let’s get real. Go out and talk to 1,000 gay people in Venezuela today. Where do you think Same Sex Marriage ranks on their list of concerns? Above or below being able to get a bag of rice without standing in line for 6 hours? Above or below gaining stable access to antiretrovirals to keep HIV from turning into full blown AIDS? These are questions that answer themselves.
Yes, MUD’s line that they must focus like a laser beam on the overall fight for political power would be more credible if they didn’t keep weighing down the A.N. agenda with extraneous little distractions like the homages to Rafael Caldera and the resolutions praising La Divina Pastora.
But let’s get real, those kinds of saludos a la bandera cost you three minutes of MUD floor time. Discussing a same sex marriage law, approving the first reading, discussing it again, approving it a second time, dealing with the Sala Constitucional, then dealing with Maduro’s veto…it’s in no way comparable.
Of course the opposition isn’t going to push for same sex marriage rights in Venezuela in 2016: a highly emotive, months’ long fight that will drain all kinds of time and attention from the basic fight to restore something like a working democracy and economy is a non-starter around the MUD table.
When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. MUD gets that, and that is as it should be.
Chúo was just stating the obvious. It’s just that the obvious is sometimes better left unstated.