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The Pences, the First Couple of Straight America, Are Coming for Us


Why it might sting in the short term and why we'll win in the end.

A prediction from a political veteran and junkie: Trump is going to go sooner than we think. The evidence seems clear and conclusive. Republicans can't sustain him anymore, and their tepid reaction to impeachment on Tuesday and the Senate's unanimous consent for the Whistleblower report are forewarnings. The partial transcripts implicate the attorney general; now it seems there was a White House-wide cover-up. It will get worse. Much worse. The Speaker has always maintained that she wouldn't move on impeachment until the evidence was clear and it could succeed in the Senate. She knows far more than she's saying.

It will all come together fast, and the band-aid will be ripped off. Polling numbers for Trump against most of the Democratic field are dismal. He's bringing down the Republican ticket and races across the board. When Trump becomes toxic, people cut ties, and the Republicans will soon, and then we'll have a new President from Indiana, probably before the year is out.

Back in the late 1980s and early '90s when I worked on the Hill, there was always a legitimate fear that if something happened to President Bush, we would be left with another pseudo President from Indiana, Dan Quayle.

Quayle was as scary as Pence. He believed homosexuality was wrong. "That is not gay bashing...I'm just saying that from my point of view and from the view of most Americans, they think that lifestyle is wrong. That's not saying people don't have the right to make that choice."

Sound familiar? Consider who might have uttered this gem around the same time Quayle was lobbing lunacy: "I do not choose whether I am a black American ... the great vast majority of the psychological community says homosexuality at a very minimum is a choice by the individual, and at the maximum, is a learned behavior," said the future vice president we have today.

The apple doesn't fall far from the Indiana vice presidents' tree. If Donald Trump is impeached, Mike Pence, the queer-quashing, choice-chastising, trans-trashing vice president will assume the presidency. And, we, as a community, must prepare ourselves for Mike and Karen Pence, the new first couple of straight America. But it won't be for long.

We're all aware of the Pence's history with the LGBTQ community. Mrs. Pence is a teacher at a Christian art school that bans gay students and parents. Perhaps she will have a school picnic on the South Lawn of the White House for straights only? Perhaps we'll be subjected to glowing pictures of First Lady Pence helping children paint bathroom door signs, using a drawing compass to trace a circle and a ruler to draw a diagonal line with the artsy words reading "no trans allowed."

And her husband jumped through hosier hoops when he signed the hurtful, hateful and harassing Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 2015. I don't feel like bringing you, and myself down by listing all the ways Mike Pence's policy beliefs discriminate, dishearten, and deceive our community..

And that agenda will only come further to light when/if he assumes the presidency. This impeachment scenario is moving at warp speed, and that means Mike and Karen Pence better call a mover or at least start carrying their membership plaques for the Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, Family Research Council, Traditional Values Coalition, and their autographed 8" x10's" of Jerry Falwell, Anita Bryant and the Reverend Fred Phelps from the Naval Observatory to 1600 Pennsylvania.

My guess is that if the impeachment does happen, and the Pences move into the White House, they won't be there very long. The Pences' beliefs are far removed from those of most Americans, and the main issue that would cost him a longer stay in the White House is ironically their anti-LGBTQ stances.

A spokesman for Pence, told CNN recently in a statement that the vice president "has always opposed discrimination in any form and defends the Constitution's protection of the rights of all Americans regardless of race, sex or religion." A pointed omission of sexual orientation or gender identity was made.

So, what does this mean for our community? It means that we would be front and center in a quasi-Pence presidential campaign. We will hear a lot of hurtful language attributed to Pence. Those quotes highlighted in the democratic nominee's campaign ads, using Pence's slashing past against him. It means Pence will twist himself more than Blanca on the Pose ballroom trying to explain what he meant, why that's not what he meant, why he said it, why he didn't say it.

Plus, there will be a stinking stench from, and revolting reaction to, all the criminality of the Trump administration. And, Mike Pence ain't no Donald Trump, so would the Republicans even nominate him, with other GOPers already pursuing the nomination? Possibly not.

Let's prepare ourselves because the impeachment stories will get worse, deeper and then theoretical, i.e.,"What would a Pence presidency look like?" And inevitably, how he's treated our community will be a hot topic, because the Pences have made it that way. We might have to be the whipping boys and girls for a brief Pence presidency, and for the duration of a general election that Pence is at the center of -- it that ever happens. However, if it does, it just might help us get a president we want -- and one we deserve.

JohnCasey is a PR professional and an Adjunct Professor at Wagner College in New York City, and a frequent columnist for The Advocate. Follow John on Twitter @johntcaseyjr.

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