The sad, predictable ousting of George Santos from the esteemed (just kidding) halls of our nation’s Congress isn’t the satisfying end to the saga of the “proud, gay thief” I’d been hoping for. I’m still left with so many questions, which will remain unanswered because Santos is many things, but most of all, he’s a big old liar.
I can’t begin to unravel the ball of fraud, con-artistry, and hair gel Santos leaves in his wake. In a way, it’s fascinating. Sure, he’s a fraud who forces us to use terms from 1953 like “huckster,” but George Santos is also the modern-day queer Paul Bunyan we didn’t know we needed. Except, also, we didn’t need him.
Was he a good representation of queerness? Nope. Of his status as a Brazilian immigrant? Also nope. Oh, wait, but there’s the potentially inspiring fact that his education stopped at the GED level! Talk about a self-made man.
Yes, he “made it” by lying, stealing, and extorting his way into office, but is that not the American way in 2023? He’s been scamming friends and family alike since childhood, according to many sources. Who are we to discount achievements born from a lifetime dedicated to earnest dishonesty?
If anything, he’s the poster child for the Republican party. Does he lie more or less than the average Republican huckster out there on the stump imploring America to think of the children at grave risk for reading about the existence of (gasp) homosexual and transgender people? Well, maybe a little bit more, but if we only get to pick our elected leaders from brazen liars at this point, I’m picking the guy who cheats on his taxes over the guy who would be happy to deport (execute?) my family. Oh, but wait. Santos might just be on board with that, too.
Let’s explore Santos’ version of the so-called Homosexual Agenda. First, he’s a gay, married man who thinks his own marriage shouldn’t exist (“It should have been a civil union,” he told a group of reporters the day before his ousting). Fine, that’s at least a policy point, and one could argue that they should all be civil unions. You want to get married in the eyes of your God? Great, go do that in your house of worship.
But, as with all things Santos, there’s much, much more.
I’m reminded of a Santos tale from days of yore (four years ago, which comes out to roughly 34 years in the Whatever This Is era). It was 2019, surely decades before Santos was sworn into Congress, assumedly on a copy of A Million Little Pieces, and the burgeoning political fraudster was just beginning to make a name for himself along K Street. The new Walk Away movement, aimed at persuading progressives away from the Democrat party, was all the rage, and Santos seized on a unique opportunity to capitalize on a quality that could set him apart from other Republicans.
At a Walk Away event that year, Santos described himself as “Anthony Devolder” (a version of his full name) and talked about his newly formed group, United for Trump. At one point, he publicly asked a conservative transgender YouTube star to “help educate other trans people from not having to follow the narrative that the media and the Democrats put forward.” It was one of the first times Santos made clear what his approach would be on queer issues.
In the following years, he’d voice support for Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, accuse Democrats of grooming kids, and liken discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity to sexual abuse. “As a gay man, I stand proudly behind not teaching our children sex or sexual orientation,” Santos said in a 2022 Facebook video.
One could argue, quite effectively, that Santos, like many other alleged Republicans, doesn’t actually hold the personal beliefs he has espoused on the campaign trail or as an elected official. Hopping the fastest-moving train, wherever it’s going, has long been a powerful political tactic, one that rarely has much to do with the issues at hand and everything to do with the quickest way to buy a vote or two.
It hardly matters. At this point, I’m hoping the forthcoming incarnations of George Anthony Devolder Santos will return to his Brazilian roots — his halcyon drag queen days (which he vehemently denies, but there are an awful lot of pictures…).
Yes, the next time Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman hires Santos to do a Cameo for another indicted senator (yes, that’s what he’s doing for money now), I want to see Santos’ drag persona, Kitara Ravache, in her full regalia. Somehow, Santos as Kitara feels much more real and true than the fictional role he’s been playing in real life.