Daily Archives: May 12, 2012

Bigotry and hatred as a political weapon

Rick Santorum

Faith, Family, and Freedom? As long as it's a white Christian heterosexual family.

Rick Santorum today urged Mitt Romney to use the gay marriage “controversy” as a “potent weapon” against Obama in the upcoming election.  Santorum says Obama is the one who is out of touch with what America “values”.

If it’s Rick Santorum who is IN touch with what America values…we’re screwed.  If ranting and raving against homosexuality and gay rights is what represents American values…we’re screwed.  If advocating for women to be treated as they were 200 years ago represents American values…we’re screwed.  You can’t build a democracy on a foundation of hate, but that’s what SO many on the Republican right seem to be trying to do. 

It’s not just the gay marriage issue.  It’s bigotry and hatred in general that might as well be the core platform of the Republican party.   Just look at some of the “core” Republican issues over the last decade, as the party swings ever further to the (very radical) right. 

  • Gay rights - Summed up very nicely in a nutshell by Santorum’s comments today.  Gays and lesbians aren’t people in the eyes of the radical right.  Constitution be damned, they’re not to be treated like other human beings.  They’re to be used as a “political weapon”, nothing more.
  • Race – Republicans have managed to lock down the South, helped in no small part by a not-so-transparent use of racism as a political tool.  It even has a very well-established name…the Republicans’ Southern Strategy, a large part of which is based on exploiting racial fears among white southerners.
  • Religion -  Promoting fear and intolerance of Islam, or ANY other religion other than mainstream Christianity has also obviously become a key part of the Republican platform.   Again, Santorum himself could be a poster child for using religious hate as a “potent weapon” in his politics.  Republicans have counted on the “values voters” in the last several election cycles, whipping up paranoia among evangelicals (aka…wackos) about some imagined conspiracy to trample on their religious rights or remove religion from Americans’ every day lives. 

Using bigotry, hatred, and promotion of fear has certainly be a winning political hand for Republicans.  God knows there are enough folks in America who share those views, and blindly follow any idiot who is bold enough to come out and actually campaign on a platform of hate and intolerance. 

But how long can such a strategy last?   I keep hoping that Americans will see the light and realize you CANNOT build a nation based on hate.  I keep hoping that Republicans’ exploitation of racial, religious, or sexual preference issues is a short-term blip, a trend that can’t last in the long run.  But then you see complete wackos like Rick Santorum get a shocking amount of support in the Republican campaign, and it makes you realize just how much fear, paranoia, and bigotry there is out there. 

I’m sure that Biden’s unintentional forcing of Obama’s hand on the gay marriage issue wasn’t something that Obama wanted to touch from a political perspective.  That indeed is why I’ve been disappointed by Obama on many fronts, his lack of conviction on issues such as this, ones where he should be leading the “anti-hatred” bandwagon.   But now that it’s out there, now that Obama has been forced to back gay marriage, I hope he seizes the opportunity. I hope he RELISHES a discussion on gay rights in America. He SHOULD be using the issue as an issue where he can shame Republicans for their platform of hatred.

Given Obama’s wishy-washy nature on tough issues like this though, I’m not holding my breath.