Monday, November 20, 2006

A Good Cause, dammit

I'm sure my hordes of readers, all five of them blood relations, know all about Ted Haggard, the evangelical superstar preacher who imploded so spectacularly just before the election. When a gay hustler spoke up and identified ol' Ted as a long time customer for meth-fueled fuck fests ("he's definitely a bottom"), it did raise a few eyebrows, hmmm? It may even have been among the final straws that helped tilt the opinion of the electorate against the hypocrisy now in power, tilting it towards Throw The Bastards Out.

But whatever you think of Ted, the guy who outed him is also worth being concerned about. He has found a blogger champion, Joe.My.God., who has this to say about him:

It was at this time last week that the last bell finally rang on the 2006 election, delivering the House, the Senate, and the majority of state governships into the hands of the Democrats. The map is blue again. And so is the sky. My face is sore from smiling and my feets are aching from all this happy dancing.

And playing a possibly vital, perhaps pivotal role in this triumph was not a politician. Not a party strategist. It was a private citizen. It was a gay man. A man who although he was risking his personal livelihood, risking his arrest, and surely risking his physical safety, he came forward and did the right thing at the right time.

That man is Mike Jones.

Regardless of your personal opinions regarding Jones' chosen field of work, you cannot ignore his unprecedented accomplishment of almost completely upending the Republican Party's last minute campaign to divert the nation's attention from the true issue of the election: the Iraq war.

Talking Heads: "The terrorists have just blah marriage referendum blah blah....stem cell legislation blah blah...millions of illegal immigrants blah blah. Um, wait a minute. We have a breaking bulletin: Pastor Ted Haggard! Head of evangelical movement! Homosexual! Prostitution! Crystal meth! Close to the President! More! More! More! More!"

Repeat on every channel.

Headlines on every paper.

For five days.

The five days BEFORE the election.

All the billionaire George Soroses in the world could not have more effectively eclipsed the Republicans' usual last minute diversionary tactics. It was pure delicious serendipity. It was kismet. And most of all, it was KARMA, baby.

Since then, Mike Jones has been getting death threats from all those good kindly Christians. He's unemployed and at least temporarily unemployable, and may even get evicted from his apartment. Oh yes, the cops are hassling him too. He lives in Colorado, after all, not in New York City. Not the friendliest place to be a nationally known gay prostitute.

What disgusts me the most is that all the gay rights political organizations are giving Mike the ten foot pole treatment. He did something very courageous, running a greater personal risk than any of these lobbyists will ever dare, and they snub him. They are assholes. Period.

Joe of Joe.My.God., however, has stepped up to the plate where those pretentious prisses would not. He has set up a way for anyone to send a donation to Mike Jones through PayPal. Joe's post on this is here, and gives you a link to help Mike out if you're so inclined.

And Joe says that in the few days this has been going forward, it has helped:

He tells me that yesterday's donations have allowed him to get caught up on his car payments, his utilitities, and even more importantly, as he put it to me, "I can eat again."

Holy shit. This man, who so many would dismiss as trash, a mere hustler, took a huge risk because he thought it was right. And he's suffering for it.

I have made a donation to help Mike get through this. He did good.

Update: Just learned something interesting about the timeline of this story, something I didn't know before. Mike Jones learned that the client he knew as "Art" was actually Ted Haggard when he saw him on the TV in August, campaigning for the anti-gay-marriage amendment on the Colorado ballot. That's what spurred him to action. Within a few days, he went to a local news radio station with the story, which sat on it for TEN WEEKS while their lawyers looked it over. Only when the election was dangerously close did Jones force the issue by going to a competing station. So Mike didn't just blow the whistle on Ted, he had to fight to blow that whistle. I like him even better.


Anonymous said...

Ever the contrarian, I'm not sure what was "right". He broke trust with his client, and with impeccable political timing. Not following it, so I ask: Why did he blow the, erm, whistle, and why did he do it when he did? Nothing wrong with being an opportunist, I guess, but it's to no one's credit if everyone is being selective with their facts.

Steve T. said...

The immediate cause was that Haggard was campaigning for the Colorado anti-gay-marriage amendment. Jones had known him only as "Art," and when he saw Haggard on the TV at the gym he realized who his client really was. Haggard had been seeing Jones for three years by then, and as the election neared Jones got so upset by the hypocrisy that he had to speak out. I wouldn't call it opportunism either, or if it was it backfired spectacularly. There's no question Jones is much worse off now than if he'd kept quiet.

It's always a pleasure to see a hypocrite exposed, especially one of such astonishing magnitude as Haggard. But beyond that, these people do real damage. Gay teenagers are three times as likely to kill themselves as their straight friends. I have not the slightest doubt that the preachings of Haggard and the organization he led helps fuel the misery and guilt and fear and self-hatred that drives those kids to such desperation. I feel that Haggard has blood on his hands and had to be stopped. Mike Jones was in a unique position of being able to do that, and he did.

Anonymous said...

OK, I forgot how it came about. Now I see what was up. Thanks.

Blogdevil9 said...

Jones' persecution by his detractors and those who should have been applauding his actions just goes to prove the tragic truth of the old saying "no good deed goes unpunished."