My neighbor is kinda a bigot

[Trigger warning for homophobia]

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has written a book.

That's the joke.

Okay, not really. Presidential hopeful (also not the joke) Pawlenty was on right-wing [TW] talk radio to promote, well, Tim Pawlenty. It turns out he hates gay people. Still.
"I have been a public and repeat supporter of maintaining Don't Ask, Don't Tell. There's a lot of reasons for that, but if you look at how the combat commanders and the combat units feel about it, the results of those kinds of surveys were different than the ones that were mostly reported in the newspaper and that is something I think we need to pay attention to. But I have been a public supporter of maintaining Don't Ask, Don't Tell and I would support reinstating it as well."


Anyhow, since T-Paw has decided to share his autobiography with the world (for $27), I thought it was fair that I opened up, too.

Tim Pawlenty got his start in politics in Eagan, Minnesota. I grew up in Burnsville, the next town over. As much as I don't often admit it, T-Paw and I both have ties to Dakota County, south of the Twin Cities. So we're a lot alike.

When I was a sophomore in high school, some guy started a fire at Edina High School. Edina is known (and widely derided) as one of the suburbs west of Minneapolis where folks in upper management live. The fire singed an entryway, and was quickly extinguished by the sprinkler system.

A few days later the same guy started a fire at Burnsville High School. (Go Blaze!) (Yes, I know.) My high school (part of a district that includes a sliver of Eagan, BTW) was gutted. Several months earlier, the middle-managers* (and middle-manager wannabes) in the district had rejected a referendum that would have installed sprinklers in the school. Too expensive.

Understand that this is Tim Pawlenty's base.

When I was safely in college, I had a summer job doing mosquito control. It was fun-- I still miss parts of it. Very rarely, I got to work in northern Dakota County. This was always scary. Not because I got to walk around thousands of acres of swamp and marsh by myself (:sigh: male privilege), but because having to talk to the public was a constant threat.

When I worked closer to The Cities, people would occasionally chat with me. 'Hey cool, it's some kid in the government poison truck.' Nothing unusual. Mostly folks seemed disappointed that it was over-the-counter poison. We'd joke about the awesome stuff they used to spray back in the day. Trucks full of poison are part of the urban experience, I guess.

People in Burnsville and Eagan didn't necessarily mind the poison. Usually, they'd want to talk about the government. Or some guy would want to tell me about how his "boy" had this great career. This always seemed displaced, because I was 19-years-old and driving a poison truck that had an AM-radio and multiple flashing lights.

Occasionally, there'd be talk of "those people." Usually, it'd be said in hushed tones, with shifty eyes, as if someone was waiting behind the cattails for the right moment to spring forth bearing food laced with actual spices.

As I drifted away from the county, things got weirder and weirder on my return visits. I'd even see people with cowboy hats on rare occasions. Which was odd, because there is exactly one bull in Dakota County (outside of South Saint). I know this, because I've met him.

On each visit, it seemed like people were driving bigger and bigger cars, with bigger and bigger tires. Aside from making it easier to run bicycles off the road, this never struck me as serving much purpose. Most people seemed to drive between their jobs in middle-management, Target, and church, none of which involved driving up mountains.

And the churches! Shortly after my high school was remodeled, a remember a evangelical church moving in on Sundays. The last time I was in Dakota county (it's been a few years; my family has moved to the city, and I do my best to stay there), it seemed like there were megachurches everywhere.

There were billboards for these churches, too. They always showed a guy (the pastor) with his arms around his wife (also a pastor, but not really). Their faces tended to have happy yet vacant stares-- the kind you'd have after having sex, or whatever the fuck evangelical pastors publicly admit to doing for fun.

My church-going experience is largely limited to various Lutheran churches in Minnesota and Wisconsin, you know, the ones Garrison Keillor tells unamusing stories about. But if I'm to believe my tv, these are the kinds of megachurches that have escalators and stadium scoreboards, and lasers and cool shit hanging down from the ceiling so that the pastor can drop some David Blaine style awesomeness while delivering a sermon about why Jesus is the bomb but lots of living people aren't.

My people are, by-and-large, a church revering people. That said, the reverend (Is he a reverend or a pastor? Do I care?) is pretty intimidating. We're much too shy to approach him about the whole government (ewwwww) thing. So we picked the self-important guy who parks cars at the megachurch, and asked if he'd mind taking care of the government for us. And Tim Pawlenty has.

At this point, you've probably got one or two issues:

1) What the hell heck does this have to do with gays marrying killing people in Asia?

2) OMG, I'm from Dakota County, Minnesota (or better yet, you're Tim Pawlenty, who probably spends several hours a day Googling himself and is now really embarrassed), and you can't just start telling a largely irrelevant story invoking crude stereotypes based on your extremely limited experiences. Dakota County's not like that at all! (And in fairness, there are any number of wonderful people back home-- it's just that there are also people who aren't.)

And that's precisely my point. Because I'm some lady having fun on the internet, I'm free to unleash my own bizarre autobiography that I've based on carefully-selected tidbits about my bizarre life in a bizarre place. However, and this is a big one-- my crude stereotypes are not a particularly good basis for national policy.

I strongly suspect I haven't lived as sheltered a life as Tim Pawlenty, so maybe, just maybe, he really is enough of a jackass to not know anything nuanced about queer people (you know, like that we're people). Maybe he's merely being disingenuous. Neither possibility qualifies him to be president.

*Not that all middle managers are assholes. I have it on good authority that Liss used to be a middle manager in another lifetime, and is actually still married to one. Mostly I object to people who think middle managerhood entitles them to trucknutz. Nobody is entitled to trucknutz.

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