Looks like Cynthia decided she had the time today!
In a fire-breathing op-ed for the Washington Post on Saturday, the 2018 New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon had some things to say about the alleged “decency” of Vice President and Professional Bigot Mike Pence.
For context, on Thursday former vice president and possible 2020 candidate Joe Biden referred to Pence as a “decent guy” during a public appearance in Omaha.
"The fact of the matter is it was followed on by a guy who's a decent guy, our vice president, who stood before this group of allies and leaders and said, 'I'm here on behalf of President Trump,' and there was dead silence. Dead silence," Biden said.
This, rightly, infuriated a lot of LGBTQ+ activists on social media, including a one Cynthia Nixon. “you’ve just called America’s most anti-LGBT elected leader ‘a decent guy.’ Please consider how this falls on the ears of our community,” Nixon tweeted.
— Cynthia Nixon (@CynthiaNixon) February 28, 2019
This prompted a pretty speedy reply from Biden, whose progressive stances on LGBTQ+ rights preceded even Obama’s: “You’re right, Cynthia. I was making a point in a foreign policy context, that under normal circumstances a Vice President wouldn’t be given a silent reaction on the world stage. But there is nothing decent about being anti-LGBTQ rights, and that includes the Vice President.”
You’re right, Cynthia. I was making a point in a foreign policy context, that under normal circumstances a Vice President wouldn’t be given a silent reaction on the world stage.
But there is nothing decent about being anti-LGBTQ rights, and that includes the Vice President.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) February 28, 2019
But as it turns out, Nixon was not finished with this whole mess. In her op-ed, she took Biden to task, along with anyone who wants to err on the side of centrism when prioritizing “politeness over policy.”
"When politicians of a certain age reminisce about the ‘civility’ that used to define Washington, it’s telling that the old guard conveniently forgets that this decorum has never been extended to all," said Nixon.
Nixon also toplined Pence’s history with anti-LGBTQ+ policy and legislation, which included his fervent support of conversion therapy, his influence in banning transgender people from the military, the many times Pence said gay people should not be protected from discrimination, and that one time he urged businesses to not hire gay people because we “are known to carry extremely high rates of disease brought on because of the nature of their sexual practices and the promiscuity." Though, other fun, insidious policies she did not highlight include the time Pence said smoking doesn’t kill, the time he signed a bill mandating funerals for aborted fetuses, and another where he compared Obamacare to the 9/11 attacks.
“These are not the actions of a decent man,” Nixon wrote. “The fact that Pence does vile, hateful things while well-coiffed and calm doesn’t make him decent; it makes him insidious and dangerous. Respecting each other’s rights and humanity is what makes us civilized — not keeping a civil tone while doing the opposite.” During Nixon’s 2018 campaign, Nixon was known for her unapologetic progressivism on issues like gender identity, women’s rights, and the legalization of marijuana — all things Pence has a terrible track record on.
Nixon also made a point to check Biden on his privilege. "It’s easy to say nice things about Pence when you’re not personally threatened by his agenda. If Biden were being directly attacked in the same way that our community is, I think he would see Pence from a very different vantage point."
Nixon’s criticism comes at a time when politicians parading “civility” or hints of centrism take us closer and closer to hate speech; with a rise in hate groups, white supremacist rhetoric, and anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in our country as a consequence of our current administration, Nixon explains that trying to shake hands across the divide only validates these harmful outcomes. Biden’s teachable moment is especially important were he to run in 2020, as Nixon implores him to disavow his bigoted supporters. “[Republicans] treated Biden with deference at the same time that they were questioning Obama’s birthplace and religion. That’s not decency — that’s racism,” Nixon said. “But the problem isn’t getting along with Republicans. The problem is legitimizing an agenda of hateful discrimination. It’s about the fear that someone who would give Pence the benefit of the doubt in the name of civility might also be willing to bargain away our rights in the name of bipartisanship.”
“There is a sense among genteel Washington that partisanship is rude and boorish. But when you’re fighting for the rights of marginalized communities who are under attack, it’s okay to stop being polite. This is not a time for hollow civility,” said Nixon. “This is a time to fight.”
In the words of Miranda Hobbes, “And by the way, never, never call me again. Have a nice day!”