Henry Rollins Stands Up Against Prop. 8 

By Greg Archer

Originally published on Advocate.com November 03 2008 12:00 AM ET

Henry Rollins
once quipped, “If you are cynical, you’re just
not listening. Our job is to confound and enrage The
Man.”

In this
high-stakes political season, there’s certainly many
a “man” to enrage. Just
before Election Day, Rollins, the unabashed
author-musician-radio personality and Grammy-winning spoken
word artist, fiercely opines about all things
political with Advocate.com. He
also joins the ranks of high-profile celebs -- including
Ellen DeGeneres and Brad Pitt -- who are speaking out
against Proposition 8, one of the most highly
contested issues on the California ballot, which would ban
same-sex unions in the state.

Advocate.com:Why is it important for you to speak out against
Prop. 8?
Henry Rollins: I think it’s incumbent on any
sane Californian to vote against any kind of hate against
any human being. When you get down to it, [Prop. 8]
comes from some very hateful, ignorant beliefs.
It’s not coming from anything that makes any sense.
It’s nasty and un-American, really. Anybody that
respects life and people’s freedoms, Democrat,
Republican, it should not matter. And it makes me
angry that people spent money outside of California to try
to bedevil this thing. It’s just appalling. But
in this day and age, I am not surprised.

Were you familiar with the Briggs Initiative
[California’s Prop. 6], 30 years ago, which
basically set out to fire homosexual teachers?
I remember that, and also Anita Bryant being
homophobic. I grew up in Washington, D.C., and there
was a significant gay population, and in school, by
the time we all hit puberty, we saw that we had gay
classmates. The way I was raised, I just didn’t care.
Whatever you were, you were. Next topic, you know? I
never understood homophobia. I always thought it was
restricted to idiots -- dumb-ass boys in high school. But
when I saw Anita Bryant, I went, "Wow! So much for America,
land of the free, home of the courageous."

It’s great to hear you speak out against Prop. 8,
but you’ve always been outspoken, no?
It’s all about where I come from; the
country I am in. I think when I work I feel like maybe
Thomas Jefferson is tapping me on the shoulder and
leading me on. But I think for people who'd like to get
married, I say, "Best of luck." But for me, I just
think all marriage is a completely unreal and
unbelievable, really. To say I have to split
everything in half if something didn’t work out ...
it doesn’t really work for my Ramones
collection, you know?

What are you most excited about in 2009? Well, I would like to see a different kind of
administration in the White House. I think if
we’ve seen one thing about this election, it’s
knowing that Republicans cheat. And I am not that old
politically, but I do remember when a Republican and
Democrat could make a few talking points and address
their differences. But the argument was never about anything
you felt like you wanted to punch the guy’s lights
out about. And it’s descended into this thing
where we see McCain so desperate now. It’s just
so fuckin’ sad. The more I learn about McCain, the
more there is not to like, as far as I am concerned.
But I get the sense from him that maybe he’s
thinking, Man, I didn’t want it to go this
way.
He says one thing and does another.
He’s not a maverick -- at all. And so you can see
how he is coming across in this campaign and how Obama, who
is running against him, has a level of decency. And I
want the decency back. I want the polarity in this
country between Republicans and Democrats to back off.

It has been one of the most contentious races. And all this "Watch out for the scary black
man!" It’s all bullshit. It’s awful.
It’s just playing guilt and bringing hell back into
the great American discourse. It’s something that has
brought in millions of dollars from the religious
right in the last eight years. I want all this to
change. I want all the Pat Robertsons to go back the fuck to
the cave they came from and take their hostages with
them. And I want science to come back to the fore.
That’s what I am hoping to have happen in the
next four years.

It’s a good hope. But I am used to not getting what I want. So if
I don’t get what I want Tuesday, I won’t
be surprised, but I will not allow that to stop me from
what I need to do. I will remain civically active and
involved. That’s what they want you to do --
give up.

You’re saying that we should all become more involved? Well, the more things go south of where I think
it’s good, the more I get involved. That is
what happens with me. I can say, "You’ve messed
with the wrong guy; I will bring your organization down." I
get more and more socially active the older I get. I
mean, when I heard that Minnesota congresswoman
Michele Bachmann call for a revival of McCarthy-like
hearings ... You heard about that?

Oh, yes. We have to start laughing at people like that
and throw them back to the Stone Age where they came
from. The fact that we have to endure Sarah Palin for
a nanosecond ... What an idiot -- an awful, awful person.
And her children ... I mean, to have a 17-year-old
daughter have to marry her dumb-ass 17-year-old
boyfriend. Star-crossed lovers they are not. They’re
dumb American kids who didn’t get told how their
parts worked because mom is an idiot. And having five
kids ... while the world is starving ... I mean, this
is not an example. I like kids, but having five kids is
basically like saying, "Fuck you. I just don’t care.
I’ll eat all the cake I want and people can
starve outside my door!" So, yeah, I am looking
forward to a different [political] structure in 2009.

So what do you think is the best thing that can
happen for the LGBT community in 2009?
I think lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgenders --
and all different bits of that acronym -- just need to
keep standing up. Never relent. As we progress, as
younger people become middle-aged people, there can be this
different American culture where people get out there to
vote for people like Barack Obama. And for people like
me, with a microphone in front of them, we can speak
out and all move forward. The wrong thing to do is to
think we’ve lost our progress. It’s an
ever-evolving thing. Never relent. Never relent!

For more information on Henry Rollins, visitHenryRollins.com.