This has been getting a lot of traction today all over the interwebs. Certainly by a large number of people smarter and more talented than me, but I had to say something. I had to say something, because otherwise I’m going to sit here filled with impotent rage all day thinking of what I wish someone on that stage had said. I don’t have a stage, but I do have this blog.
These GOP debates have been pretty predictably vile. Both the candidates and the crowds have provided enough soul-damaging moments to make one sick of everything remotely having to do with the contest. Indeed, I’ve been trying to avoid them completely, but the internet exists so that’s impossible.
Last night on Twitter I predicted that the crowd would boo Ron Paul saying something sensible on foreign policy and then cheer him saying something monstrous on domestic policy (thanks in part to the always great @beardedstoner) and that the crowd would cheer Rick Santorum saying something that would make me die inside.
Well, I was certainly right on that last part. Never mind what Rick Santorum says in the clip above. It’s horrific, but expected. His argument’s failings should be self-evident. It’s the booing of an active service member because he’s gay and then the full-throated cheering of Santorum’s blind hatred that keep me shaking with anger.
They are booing a soldier, someone willing to put their life on the line for their country, solely because he is gay. This is out and out bigotry. This is one that can’t be explained away. Every time people say something racist or sexist or homophobic they always have some excuse as to how it’s not really that thing. People fighting gay marriage claim it’s a defense of marriage, but there’s no defense of this.
Stephen Hill is not just willing to put his life on the line, it currently is. He’s in Iraq right now. He can die at any moment because of a commitment he’s made to his country and these people are booing him because he’s gay.
I can’t stop thinking back to every time I was called unpatriotic or told I didn’t support the troops because I dared to criticize and oppose the war in Iraq. In one specific case, even as I raised funds for the families of fallen soldiers. These were the exact people saying that to me. I wonder how many of them have a ribbon magnet on their cars or SUVs saying they support the troops. What empty words. Clearly the people who booed do not support the troops or indeed their country because they hold their hatred to be more important than the lives of their fellow citizens including ones in uniform.
It is truly sickening. And beyond that you then have Santorum go on this wild diatribe where he articulates exactly what those few boos are saying, to wild applause from the entire crowd. Shame on you, GOP. You can say it was just a few boos from the crowd, but they reflect the position your party has taken for years. This is the outcome of the constant barrage of filth spewing from your political elites and propaganda outlets. This is what Sean Hannity says every night.
And shame on the rest of the GOP field whose cowardice led them to say nothing. No repudiation of the boos or Santorum’s verbalizing the definition of his name. There have been some backpedaling today calling the incident unfortunate. It’s not unfortunate, it’s disgusting. And until someone in that party is willing to say so, it deserves to be designated what it truly has become. A hate group.
Moderate Republicans, Independents, can you really look at what happened and the candidates’ responses and honestly say you can morally pull the lever for any of them? Can you really look at the spinelessness in the face of a vile prejudice and a betrayal of our men and women in uniform and say you can trust them with this country’s future?
50 years from now this clip will be in a documentary about the battle for equal right for all citizens regardless of sexual orientation and our children and grandchildren will see that clip and look down on our time as primitive and prejudiced. I will stand in that moment ashamed of the current time period and of the country if one of those sniveling fools on that stage becomes president.