(The following is a cross-post; originally published at OneWhiteDuck.com)
It is really no secret how the vast majority of modern-day Republican front-runners – those who have co-opted the “fiscal conservative” political party to further a corporate-funded, socially conservative theocracy – generally feel toward the LGBT community.
Time and time again, each reason-challenged player offers up similarly antiquated anecdotes aimed at demeaning, diminishing and demoralizing the nation’s gay citizens, soldiers and families while masking their own shortcomings as Americans, let alone American leaders.
Such rhetoric fuels legions of lesser-Americans – those who willfully and ignorantly succumb to cultural prejudice and the notions of natural-born superiority – and attempts to validate and defend centuries’ worth of hate within our borders.
There is a reason why Rick Perry’s “Strong” video – arguably his first, “fast-out-the-gate” media ploy – centers around bashing the gay community and its willingness to serve the country as soldiers fighting for his “freedom.”
It is the same reason former House Speaker Newt Gingrich – a three-time husband and (documented) adulterer – has joined ranks with the majority of the Republican presidential nominee-wannabes and “pledged” to fend off straight America from the gay “barbarians” at the gate by denouncing their would be right to love only one person for the rest of their lives.
Similarly, it is the very reason why both Michele and Marcus Bachmann have each vowed to promote “family” as the benchmark of Michele Bachmann’s would-be-first-female presidency – with “family” beginning rooted as marriage “between one man and one woman” – while also seeming positively resolute to willfully and purposefully tear apart families of so-called “anchor babies” whose apparent threat to the country’s moral fiber is just too great a burden for Lady Liberty to bear.
The reason is quite simple, really: the modern-day GOP has little-else to go on that would resonate so very absolutely with their adoring base as does social conservatism; the crowds whose chanting of “Take Our Country Back!” harken back to a pre-Civil Rights Movement America in which anyone not straight, white, Christian, male and/or wealthy is forced into a life of fear and servitude.
The umpteen Republican debates and subsequent Right-leaning “news” that has polluted the airwaves over the past few months have focused almost completely on social conservatism while largely ignoring the multiple harsh realities faced by Americans across the country. And, all too often, such “skewed values” create meaningless victims out of innocent, would-be patriots who happen to be on the wrong end of the GOP cross-hairs.
While bashing the Obama administration – as well as the majority of the Democratic party – for engaging in supposed “divisive” rhetoric and waging “class warfare” – spokesmen for the “Party of No” continue to perpetuate a long-standing hatred between Americans of different perspectives; pitting cultures, orientations and religions against each other in a 200+ year grudge match.
Meanwhile, they consistently hide behind their “faith” as a catch-all defense against anyone daring to call them out.
Most recently, in Decorah, Iowa, a 14-year-old bisexual high school student called out Governor Rick Perry for his commitment to reinstating Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
The student bravely inquired of Perry on why he is “so opposed to gays serving openly in the military; why you want to deny them that freedom when they’re fighting and dying for your right to run for president.”
Perry, in no unfamiliar terms, attributed his anti-gay stance to his faith (apparently Jesus doesn’t love everybody after all) and the overwhelming consensus within the evangelical community that homosexuality is a “sin” (as opposed to killing tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians):
“This is about my faith,” answered Perry, “and I happen to think, you know, there are a whole hosts of sins. Homosexuality being one of them…I don’t agree that openly gays should be serving in the military.”
Perry then added that he felt President Obama acted against the judgment of military brass, wrongfully claiming that “this president was forced by his base to change that policy and I don’t think it was good policy, and I don’t think people in the military thought it was good policy.”
Notorious for not hitting the books on – ahem – policies, Perry is dead wrong on that little factoid. According to corresponding surveys from the Pentagon, an overwhelming majority of military men and women had no qualms about serving alongside openly gay soldiers.
But, do facts matter? Of course not. His faith persuades him to follow a path – regardless of how wrong, harmful or biased – and he is allowed to do so while remaining shielded from ridicule from within his own demographic.
To them, little else matters more than the promise of a nationwide regression back to the good ol’ days of political incorrectness, religious intolerance and government-sanctioned hate; a metaphorical “Archie Bunker syndrome,” if you will, in which “traditional” Americanism takes precedence over anything not part of the status quo (even though, as evident in Archie’s case, such “traditional values” are often on the wrong side of humanity).
This is the “syndrome” to which the Republican party placates. Dependent on the votes of millions of Americans with no time, energy or interest in educating themselves on the virtues of culture or the intricacies of government, the modern-day Republican party – vying for seats of power – simply plays into the unwavering hands of voters who would rather not be forced to think and instead opt for anyone “speaking their language.”
Candidates for office smile for the cameras, kiss babies and pretend to pray for the blessings of one arbitrary pastor after another – all antics to which voters will undoubtedly follow in lock-step all the way to the voting booths.
Turning a blind eye and deaf ear to vapid soundbites of condemnation, ridicule and disgust, the Republican base is treated to Right-wing-sanctioned approval of hate – hate against gays, Muslims, socialists, secularists, atheists, etc. – and revels in its own self-validation.
These are the people clamoring for “long form birth certificates” and protesting the funerals of fallen, gay soldiers. These are the people threatening to burn the Koran for its violence and incendiary volumes yet not the Bible for the very same verses.
These are the people calling for assassinations of the First Family and bombing abortion clinics.
These are the people calling for the abolition of welfare while collecting social security. These are the people wailing over the “sanctity of marriage” while ignoring the nation’s skyrocketed divorce rate. These are the people who speak out in defense of gay/teen bullying.
These are the people willing to classify global corporations as American citizens yet deny the same rights to immigrants.
These are the people who claim to “support our troops” yet offer no compassion for a gay soldier willing to die for his/her country.
These are the people who claim to be patriots yet could give a —- about their fellow Americans.
The sad truth is – as great of a country we live in - we are unfortunately a nation plagued by some of the most hateful, vile, and astoundingly stupid people on the planet. In a democracy – where the people’s voice is (supposedly) the law of the land – we are subjected as a nation to the misgivings of a society’s darkest sentiments.
- Joe Ascanio
Based out of Greater New York, Joe Ascanio is a full time web designer, developer and marketing guy working in the online technology marketplace. His website – OneWhiteDuck.com – is a semi-personal blog devoted to opinionated rantings over current events, politics and pop culture as they relate to our modern-day society.