Every so often, a member of the Cheney family has to publicly utter something patently off-the-mark, lest we all forget what truly awful people they are. This time, it was Mary Cheney's turn at bat and, in true-to-her-family form, she pretty much knocked it out of the ballpark of asininity.
Mary Cheney is an out lesbian who all too frequently turns her back on the LGBT community. When her father, then Vice President Dick Cheney, and President George W. Bush were running for re-election in 2004, they received Mary's full support and silence despite the fact that Bush's platform included a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution that would have federally limited marriage to heterosexual couples and also would have banned civil unions and domestic partnership benefits. Ms. Cheney even went so far as to subsequently appear onstage with her partner, Heather Poe, during Bush's victory speech. Luckily for Cheney, Bush's Federal Marriage Amendment failed to be enacted, and she was able to legally marry Poe in 2012. Not surprisingly, however, during that same year's presidential election, Ms. Cheney donated $2,500 to then Republican presumptive nominee Mitt Romney, who had signed NOM's pledge to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act and, once again, support a Federal Marriage Amendment to restrict same-sex couples from marrying.
Why is it socially acceptable - as a form of entertainment - for men to put on dresses, make up and high heels and act out every offensive stereotype of women (bitchy, catty, dumb, slutty, etc.) - but it is not socially acceptable - as a form of entertainment - for a white person to put on blackface and act out offensive stereotypes of African Americans? Shouldn't both be ok or neither? Why does society treat these activities differently?
Much like her father, Mary Cheney seems to suffer from an acute case of historical amnesia. During the time that blackface was a popular form of entertainment, while white performers with their faces blackened played the roles of ignorant, lazy, obliviously joyous blacks, the Jim Crow Laws, named after a popular blackface character, were enacted and enforced. This set of laws segregated and demeaned African-Americans primarily from the 1870s to the 1960s. Concurrently, the practice of killing people by extrajudicial mob action, also known as "lynching," reached its peak during this period of time, with African-American men in the Southern U.S. being the most frequent targets. Blackface is, at its core, blatantly racist, offensive and, yes, socially and morally unacceptable. On the other hand, to the best of my knowledge, there is not one drag queen on the planet advocating for legal discrimination against, nor the lynching of, women. The art of drag is more a celebration of femininity, wherein performers attempt to obliterate all traces of male social hierarchy and act as strong, talented women. Granted, sometimes it's a little over-the-top but there is very little, if any, maliciousness involved. I'm not sure why Ms. Cheney would take exception to any celebration of femininity, but I have my theories. Perhaps a visit to RuPaul's Drag U would be helpful. I'll leave it at that.
To be fair, it must be tough to be Mary Cheney. She desperately wants to be a conservative icon and has spent countless hours and dollars pandering to the same political party that wants absolutely nothing to do with her. As a result, she has also succeeded in alienating the majority of the LGBT community who would have readily embraced her had she only been true to herself. Cheney really is her own worst enemy. To quote the eternally fabulous RuPaul, perhaps it is time for Mary Cheney to "sashay away!"