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Last week, I was here in Las Vegas to celebrate the end of DADT. Once (and hopefully future) Congresswoman Dina Titus discussed what happened in the last session of Congress to make this happen, and representatives from Harry Reid‘s office and Shelley Berkley’s office were also on hand to share their congratulations on this win and continued support for LGBTQ equality.

One would think this would be a nationwide celebration. After all, repealing DADT has broad national support. It was the end of a stupid, discriminatory policy that kept our military from keeping the best and brightest on the job protecting our country. But during the event, I was thinking about who was NOT present as much as I was noticing who was there.

At our event in Las Vegas last week, no one from Senator Dean Heller’s office even bothered to show up. Hell, no one from GOProud or Log Cabin Republicans even bothered to show up. Why is that? For a party that seems to love to talk about “personal liberty” and “military strength” so much, why wouldn’t we see stronger Republican support for ending a policy that restricted personal liberty while simultaneously endangering our military’s strength and our national security?

Well, I guess we all had to learn the hard way later in the week.

Who would have guessed that a decade after 9/11 and less than a decade after the start of the Iraq War, Republicans would be the ones booing an active duty soldier in Iraq? Were their promises to “support the troops” really that hollow? Does “support the troops” mean nothing if those troops happen to be gay?

Believe it or not, Andrew Sullivan really nailed it on the “support the troops… But not really” hypocrisy coming out of today’s Republican Party.

But somehow the fact that these indignities were heaped on a man risking his life to serve this country, a man ballsy enough to make that video, a man in the uniform of the United States … well, it tells me a couple of things. It tells me that these Republicans don’t actually deep down care for the troops, if that means gay troops. Their constant posturing military patriotism has its limits.

The shocking silence on the stage – the fact that no one challenged this outrage – also tells me that this kind of slur is not regarded as a big deal. When it came to it, even Santorum couldn’t sanction firing all those servicemembers who are now proudly out. But that’s because he was forced to focus not on his own Thomist abstractions, but on an actual person. Throughout Republican debates, gays are discussed as if we are never in the audience, never actually part of the society, never fully part of families, never worthy of even a scintilla of respect. When you boo a servicemember solely because he’s gay, you are saying he is beneath contempt, that nothing he does or has done can counterweigh the vileness of his sexual orientation.

I’ve had discussions with LGBTQ equality activists before when they have bemoaned matters of equality morphing into partisan political flash points. And I genuinely understand their disappointment and frustration. But honestly, can any of us ignore Republicans’ tolerance of bigotry any longer?

And can we ignore the stark differences between President Obama and the Republicans hoping to unseat him? President Obama fulfilled his promise to repeal DADT, and has not ignored the plight of LGBTQ Americans during his Presidency. The Republican candidates, on the other hand… Well, you get the picture.

I just hope Senator Chris Coons (D-Delaware) is right that one day, this too shall pass.

And I hope Senator Mark Udall (D-Colorado) is also proven right.

We’ve got campaigns across the board making the case that every American deserves to have the promise of the Declaration of Independence made real. We’re created equal. We have an equal opportunity — equal rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Republican party candidates are going to be proven wrong, I think not only in the long run, but also in the short run, because these are backwards policies. These are policies that don’t fit in the 21st Century. It’s disturbing, but again, the voters are going to weigh in and they’re going to weigh in for a progressive 21st Century approach to sexual orientation. […]

If Americans of all backgrounds, all regions speak up and draw attention to those discriminatory thoughts and policies, they’re going to fall through their own weight. They’re not going to last. They never do.

Bigotry, discrimination, and hatred should have no place in today’s America. And equality should not be a partisan political issue. However, that’s not the reality of contemporary American politics. And it will not be reality as long as Republicans continue to allow so much bigotry to flourish in their party.

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jjgravitas
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jjgravitas

Don’t let it slide. The GOP need to be held to account for their bigotry and racism.

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choicelady
Member

Powerful statement, thank you atdnext! Behind a great deal of this lies religious zealotry that commands “real” Christians to convert GLBT people so they will come to Jesus and be saved from their sins. Even those moderately enlightened folks think even if you are born that way, too bad, it’s a sin so either live without any love other than platonic or familial or be damned. What they don’t tell you is that they get points toward heaven when they ‘convert’ the sinner. If you accept GLBT people as equals, they have no reason to convert, to help you by helping them (help in quotation marks, of course.)

There is nothing pacific or benevolent or kind about their views. Shame, shunning, violence, discrimination are all quite all right as a way of making the lives of GLBT people SO miserable they will quite looking for equality and give up their ways. The rampant heterosexism of the religious right zealots really has nothing at all to do with “destroying marriage” which, of course, makes NO sense. It does have to do with absolute control over others, assuring they do the Christian bidding, and assuring the creation of a pure Christian community. Those who will NOT convert – those who have a ‘radical’ gay agenda (which is, as one pro-equality sign noted: “Be treated as an equal. Spend time with my family. Buy milk”.) must therefore be isolated, imprisoned, or die.

When you base your purification rituals on someone ELSE’s behavior and actions, it’s pretty simple. Pure Christian domination requires nothing much of me. It’s all about YOU. So YOU cannot be equal with me unless you are exactly as I tell you to be.

Now, isn’t that easy? Hmmmm?

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KillgoreTrout
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The Dominionist philosophy doesn’t work unless there is a concept of “the other.” Exactly opposite of what Jesus taught.

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choicelady
Member

Yup. That’s their quest for embedded inequality. The Elect (them). The “other” – all the rest of us.

Jesus wept.

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funksands
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Choice, I’ve found that for too many conservatives Jesus is like the fine china. Mostly for display and only brought out for company.

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choicelady
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Mmmm – funk – I have thought it was more like fancy silk hankies. Take it out for show – blow your nose on it, then dump it.

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funksands
Member

Great article atdnext. I suspect that your question you asked in the header might be rhetorical. You strike me as someone that has a pretty good handle on how and why some conservatives and Republicans think the way they do.

I think the bumper-sticker speech patterns of the right are simply there to reinforce the symbolism and mysticism that has become right-thought in this country.

Facts don’t matter, empirical evidence doesn’t matter, whether things work don’t matter either. All that matters is that the canons must be observed and obeyed.

From this we get Conservatives that “support the troops” but are indifferent if not hostile to actual soldiers, especially wounded veterans. (ooo they are icky.)

They fetishize 9-11 but filibuster health care for sick first responders. (ooo they are icky)

Inequality offends them because in the greatest country in the universe, you simply have to work hard and be god-fearing and success will naturally come to you. Inequality is therefore relegated to being a choice rather than an outcome of complex issues.

Admission that inequality is anything but a Dem trick to get more voters or a lazy person’s choice, is an admission that perhaps the canons are imperfect, that introspection might be needed, beliefs re-thought.

To an ultra-right party, that type of thinking is counter-productive and dangerous.

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KillgoreTrout
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In this scene from “Angels In America,” Al Pacino, as the despicable “Roy Cohn,” explains the republican position quite well.

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choicelady
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Jules Feiffer was Ray Cohn’s cousin. When Ray died – his clout could not save him – Feiffer did a chilling cartoon about Cohn noting that here was a disgraced man still revered by the powerful, a man dead of AIDS eulogized by homophobes. Feiffer’s conclusion – “if you stick around long enough, nothing counts.”

Inequality – the capacity to ignore in your allies the things for which you roundly condemn all other people.

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KillgoreTrout
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Nice article adtnext. This whole republican anti-gay agenda is to appease the religious right. Same as their anti-abortion stance. Today’s republican party has really lost the sense of what it means to be an American. They have no real regard for the Constitution, except when it suits their purpose. Many, far too many of them would rather replace our Constitution with the bible.

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choicelady
Member

KT – Only thing I’d disagree about is that there is NO separation between the party and the religious right. The two are inalterably intermixed. Started with the RR demanding concessions from Reagan. Now they MAKE the policy. Pew Center on Religion gave the religious affiliation of the Tea Party Caucus members – 60% are “Christian” the code word for Dominionists.

The candidate who ran for Congress here in LA against Janice Hahn was Craig Huey whose life work is giving ILLEGAL Christian, partisan voter information to churches AND YET he ran as a Libertarian.(He DID lose, thank goodness!) They are both overt and covert these Dominionists. They want nothing less than either making this a Christian nation or an outright theocracy. No more lobbying for influence. They have power and want more.

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KillgoreTrout
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Barry Goldwater warned the American people about the RR. He basically said that if they ever got into power, America would become unrecognizable.

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Artist50
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Artist50

KT – You’re right. They are being held hostage to a minority of extreme evangelical Christians that started with Falwell and Robertson, both who lived their lives to give religion a bad name. It’s almost embarrassing to admit you’re a Christian anymore – I am. The type of Christianity I grew up with has no resemblance to these money making TV preachers who have literally interpreted the Bible to suit their skewed beliefs. I would have loved for one candidate to have the chutzpah to respond to the audience reactions in the debates, but it won’t happen because these are all issues that stem from extreme social conservatism.

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ADONAI
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The problem isn’t the bigots. It’s the people who won’t push the status quo.

We know where the bigots stand. They make it obvious. The rest of the country, not so much.

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choicelady
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Adonai – I think you are really right about this. That is far more dangerous than the “out” hatemongers. I do distinguish these sorts of covert people though from the “wobbly middle” who are basically good people terribly confused about what is the right thing to do. THOSE I can influence. The others – I don’t even know who or what they are.

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kesmarn
Admin

Thanks for a fine article, adtnext.

This is one of the many areas in which I have to admire Barney Frank. But who could deny that he has really had to pay a price for his honesty and integrity?

We’ve come a long way as a country on this front, but we seem to be dragging a big millstone as we progress. And it has “GOP” chiseled into it.

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AdLib
Admin

Excellent points, atdnext.

Actually, I don’t find it surprising that Baggers don’t care about our troops. Everything they do shows they don’t care about anyone other than themselves and their self-gratification. And hating “the others” is what seems to gratify them most.

As for the Log Cabin Repubs, they’ve always struck me as people half in denial, the way they have to contort themselves to cater to their greed and the party that worships greed while trying to rationalize being in a club that hates and attacks them.

I’ve never heard a single sensible justification from a Log Cabin Repub as to why they are in the party that uses hatred of them to win elections. And I don’t expect ever to hear one because there isn’t one.

Bigotry, hatred and intolerance are the cocktail that is the raison d’etre for the current GOP under this Religious Extremist Bagger control. It would probably make the most sense to expect this poisonous cocktail as most Republican’s typical response and motivation for the foreseeable future.

You really can’t go wrong by overestimating the sheer hatred and small mindedness of the GOP.

Very nice article, thanks for posting it, atdnext!

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Emerald1943
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Hi atdnext! Excellent! These cretins need to be called on the carpet for their bigotry!

In every debate so far, we have seen the true colors of the repub party come out, from the cheering for the death penalty and the “let him die” response from the audience, to this booing of a soldier whose life is on the line in Iraq. It was somewhat encouraging to read that Huntsman did come out, albeit a day late, to condemn this latest example of the repubs’ limits on patriotism.

We will have another “debate” (and I use the term loosely) and perhaps two more before this painful process is over. I wonder what question by some pseudo-journalist will provoke anger, bigotry, gay-bashing or racism from either the candidates or their supporters in the audience. How shameful that these attitudes are out there for the whole world to see!

Howard Kurtz opened his program on CNN this morning with comments about the media and the debates. While not exactly condemning FUX News, it was pointed out that many of the questions were not of the caliber that the voters deserve to hear, such as Megan Kelly’s “What would you do to turn the economy around?…You have 30 seconds to answer.” That seems to be the way the repub brain works with jingoistic and bumper-sticker questions and answers. Bigotry and hatred fit perfectly…140 characters or less.

Thanks so much for your article! Well done!

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