Hail the Rainbow Illuminati!

Chris's picture

I agree The Great Snatch, as depicted by Spire Comics with the first commenter in this post by Ed Brayton at Dispatches from the Culture Wars: can we please just get the fucking Rapture over with already, so that we can rid ourselves of these subliterate cretins who seem to want to Love the rest of us to death? Failing that, can we just buy all of them first-class tickets to one of the places in the Middle East that they hunger so badly to blow up?

This is a good-news/bad-news kind of story: it's good because it shows idiocy and homophobia given the trouncing that it so richly deserves, but it's bad the fact that it took place at all shows that this country persists in treating lunatics seriously when in a just world, they should be laughed at.

The facts: a student at Ponce de Leon High School in Florida complained to a teacher's aide about being the target of anti-gay harassment. The aide passed her complaint on to the principal, David Davis, who duly called the student in to his office and told her not to tell other students that she was gay and that if she just kept her mouth shut, she wouldn't get harassed.  She and her friends responded by coming to school with pro-gay-rights signs and t-shirts, with slogans like "I support my gay friends," and rainbow emblems. Principal Davis responded by banning all clothing, symbols, or stickers showing support for gay rights, and eleven students were eventually suspended for defying the order. A series of explanations for the ban which only grew more and more ridiculous were given by Davis and his bosses on the school board:

First, when the ACLU sent a letter to the school board's attorney, the board replied that they could not allow display of such symbols because they "would likely be disruptive." As rationalizations go, that sounds bullshitty, but not completely insane. That ended with the next round, when the school board claimed that:

[S]uch symbols and slogans were signs that students were part of a "secret/illegal organization."

Finally, under oath in court, Davis pried open the top of his skull to show us what was really squirming around in there:

Davis also testified that he believed rainbows were “sexually suggestive” and would make students unable to study because they’d be picturing gay sex acts in their mind. 

That's what comes to Davis's mind when he looks at rainbows? Hot, steamy man-sex? I hate to imagine what he thinks of when he looks at fluffy bunnies twitching those adorable little tails.  And let's not even start on the implications of pink unicorns.

Although Principal Davis and the board find the rainbow flag to be disruptive, he admitted on the stand that he had not taken similar action against students who wore the Confederate flag; this wasn't considered disruptive or controversial, primarily because "of the 406 students at the high school, none of them are African American."

The federal court decision was the right one: a permanent injunction against the school's policy, and a warning against taking punitive measures against the students who participated in the lawsuit. But what's depressing to me is that the decision had to be made at all. In a sane world, David Davis would be treated with the same benign, patronizing smile that you give to your senile uncle who spends his days ranting about the interstellar conspiracy to control the world's selenium deposits.  Instead, he was not only put in a position of power to shape the education of the young, but backing him was a whole bureaucracy that supported his delusions to the tune of many thousands of dollars that could have been put to far better use. I'm always glad to take any victory I can, but this one is a little bittersweet.