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Help UCA alum Jason Rapert find 'The Normal Heart'

HBOs "The Normal Heart" demonstrates the insensitivity and discrimination gays faced at the onset of the US AIDS epidemic.
HBOs "The Normal Heart" demonstrates the insensitivity and discrimination gays faced at the onset of the US AIDS epidemic.
Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images

It is ironic (or a cruel and intolerant non-coincidence) that while Arkansas is undergoing one of its more vitriolic anti-LGBT movements, “The Normal Heart” is running on HBO. It is only natural that Arkansas and its constitutional representatives, like UCA political science grad Jason Rapert, are out of touch with what the rest of the country is doing.

Rapert’s tweets and retweets, even on a Sunday after mass, are engagements in uncivil political wars against “immorality” (thus sexuality) in the name of God. I checked Rapert’s Twitter page because it was hard to watch HBO's “The Normal Heart” and not think of Rapert’s ADG rant last week against the constitutionality of same-sex marriage.

“The Normal Heart” is hard to watch, even if you like Mark Ruffalo. The male characters are mostly white men who look like Jason Rapert. Successful professionals. They are homosexuals, gay men, with good jobs, good reputations and good connections; and half of them have AIDS. The sick white men have sores, large, purple open sores that won’t heal and eventually kill.

Ruffalo plays a journalist, Ned Weeks, who wants a cure because he wants his friends to live. He calls AIDS a plague. He’s a Yale graduate with the heart of a lion and the movie gets real when Weeks’ lover accuses him of being a carrier. Weeks doesn’t get sick in the film. The film is based on real 1980s AIDS activists.

It’s good thing Weeks is an honest fighter (thus gay activist) because his boyfriend had a plot of land and an insurance policy he wanted Weeks to have after his death. That’s what love does. It produces.

The film is set in the 80s and at the time, no one cares about Ned Weeks’ life or his dying male friends. Not the gay mayor, not President Ronald Reagan, not heterosexual males who purchased prostitutes. No one cared because the men were gay.

That’s like not caring about a person because he or she loves cats or horses and you simply don’t love cats or horses and nor do you understand why anyone would have one. The law is written to protect all of its citizens in their pursuit of happiness whether they feed deer, kill deer, whether or not they own cats, horses, or spiders and whether or not they are gay.

Like Apple and Microsoft, 2014 politicians should be elected because they create and implement ideas and laws that make a citizen’s life easier. Opposing a new idea for the sake of keeping the world the same isn’t what the world expects to hear from politicians who tweet with iPhones.

It saddens me that “The Normal Heart” is running and Jason Rapert’s Twitter page is filled with references to an article published earlier this month that should have been put to rest the day after. It's no longer cool or normal to outwardly express opposition to the lives of gay people because that is a conversation about sex and other people's sex lives aren't anyone's business.

HBO's “The Normal Heart” highlights the fact that so many powerful men in important, well paying jobs are gay. Consequently, I have to question the wisdom of a 21st century politician who publishes anti-gay perspectives and relies on an ever evolving Constitution and a Bible to support a biased ideology that warps one's ability to evenly mete out justice. It's in poor taste, even for Arkansas.

The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, like a washed out actor, will publish whatever, including unwitting homophobic editorials for the sake of improving readership and sales. And that paper will publish whatever even if the aftermath of one's unpoetic vitriol is the potential demise of a little politician too big too fail, thus too big to apologize.

Change, unfortunately doesn't come without turmoil for those opposed and those in favor.

What's most sad about the editorial and its ramifications for Jason Rapert is that the bad feelings would go away if Rapert just apologized. When people make honest mistakes, God forgives, people forgive, everything is good and people go and grow. It's an honest mistake to use the Bible to oppose another person's sex life. Thinking about someone else's sexual livelihood breaks a commandment. People shouldn't be thinking about another's lover. That's a sin.

If Rapert apologized for his ignorance, then he wouldn't have to spend hours on the most sacred of days defending himself on Twitter like a fallen Egyptian politician whose 21st century citizens decided they wanted to use the internet. Surely Rapert knows more today than he did nine days ago before his anti-gay writings were published.

If he doesn't, he should have a heart and watch "The Normal Heart" on HBO so he can learn and set a good example for his church, his followers, and his constituents.Or Jason Rapert can stay the same and create more unnecessary problems (instead of jobs) at a time when busy people with busy lives really don't want trouble.

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