Jack & Diane
Perhaps eager to pivot from his comments reducing the entire LGBT experience to “sodomy,” Jack Ciattarelli, the GOP candidate for NJ Governor, popped up in Burlington County last week with his newly-minted running mate, Diane Allen, a former state senator and South Jersey TV/radio legend.
Choosing Diane Allen, a moderate-ish republican with loads of name recognition, seems like a good pick to complement Ciattarelli’s more Trump’y sensibilities.
I’m voting for Phil Murphy, the democratic incumbent, so we’ll leave it to the GOP base to decide how savvy Jack’s pick for running mate really is. It probably won’t matter much in a very blue state like NJ.
So how moderate is Diane Allen? Well, she’s pro-choice for starters. Her multiple votes for gay marriage make her one (of only two, along with Sen. Jen Beck) GOP lawmakers to oppose a Chris Christie veto. Jack Ciattarelli never challenged a Christie veto and Allen only did it once, a paltry number considering Christie’s poll numbers when he left office.
And Allen’s comments about immigrants spreading COVID are false and belie her reputation as a political moderate. It’s ironic that Diane Allen’s busy trafficking dangerous falsehoods about immigrants when the biggest driver of COVID’s Delta variant is her own tribe! This includes countless bigmouth GOP lawmakers who undermine public health every time they lie about masks and vaccines.
Not so moderate if you ask me.
But the real jaw dropper from Diane Allen’s political comeback rally came when she name-checked a sexual assault survivor while attacking Phil Murphy’s stewardship of his own 2017 campaign. Here’s a tip: DON’T DO THAT! Murphy has plenty to answer for but, but anyone lacking the savoir faire to challenge rape culture without re-traumatizing victims desperately needs to retool their spiel.
“That campaign didn’t just mention (the survivor’s) name,” a former GOP politician lamented to InsiderNJ.com. “They paraded her picture all over social media with her quotes and it’s partisan hackery and and objectification for their political gain.”
Ciattarelli and Allen’s strategy to politicize a rape scandal contribute to a climate where fewer victims speak out. That’s the opposite of moderate.
You probably know that the Nazis systematically rounded up queer people (and those perceived as gay) for torture and extermination. Perhaps you’ve also heard about the Enigma machine, an encryption device used by the Nazis to protect military communication and to propagate their genocidal madness.
Did you know that a man named Alan Turing, a gay computer scientist with a PhD from Princeton, ultimately cracked the Enigma code to turn the tide of WWII? Alan Turing’s reward for saving humanity from Hitler’s madness? He was prosecuted for being gay and chemically castrated by his own British government in 1952.
He died by suicide two years later at 41 years of age.
In 2013, Alan Turing received a pardon from the Queen which followed an official apology from the British government for the “appalling way he was treated” which honestly sounds like the understatement to the century. Now widely recognized at one of the most consequential figures in modern world history, Alan Turing’s face appears on the British £50 bill, opposite the Queen herself.
Those are just a couple of LGBTQ-themed nuggets that NJ middle—and high school students can learn in history class thanks to a curriculum that includes the contributions of LGBTQ people. This curriculum gives our students a fuller version of history and teaches them to think critically.
This is not, as some GOP lawmakers want you to believe, some sinister gay plot to teach kindergarteners about sodomy.
Pearls were Clutched
In a radio interview, Diane Allen proved she’s not ready to move on from her running mate’s comments reducing the entire LGBTQ experience to sodomy. To the contrary she doubled down, once again conflating LGBTQ history with sex acts she’s too modest to even mention.
“I talked with a number of my friends who are gay who say we really don’t really like that idea, my gosh, teaching 6th, 7th, 8th graders things to be able to describe things I’m not going to get into on the radio,” she said, feigning modesty.
Someone should ask Senator Allen’s gay friends what’s wrong with teaching 7th graders that a gay man helped win WWII.
Diane Allen, former state Senator and GOP candidate for NJ Lt. Governor, spent decades cultivating a reputation as a thoughtful moderate who’s unafraid to challenge GOP orthodoxy.
And it only took her a few days to flush that all down the toilet.
Jack Ciattarelli and Diane Allen will lose in November. The only real question is how many falsehoods and anti-gay stereotypes will they traffic on their way to an electoral beatdown in November?
Jay Lassiter is an award-winning writer and podcaster who’s been HIV+ nearly 30 years. He’s does Pride Month because it’s fun. He’s on Twitter @Jay_Lass. This article originally appeared at InsiderNJ.com