The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

An interesting blog post

The Urban Right is a blog by an African-American Republican named D. R. Tucker. I do not always agree with what I have seen him post, but a posting dated Thursday takes a position which I would like to echo.

What do Republicans say to their gay friends?

How do they explain the fact that so many in the GOP’s base seem to be enthralled by Rick Santorum, who has never said one positive word about an LGBT person in his entire political career?

How do they justify the party’s history of denigrating the gay rights movement and characterizing same-sex marriage in apocalyptic terms?

How do they excuse the talk-radio tirades, the religious right’s ridicule, the punditocracy’s prejudice?

I can’t speak for every Republican, but I know I've made plenty of excuses for the GOP’s homophobia. My logic was pretty simple: to denounce GOP gay-bashing would be to help “the left,” and helping “the left” was simply out of the question.

So I didn’t complain when George W. Bush exploited fears about same-sex marriage to renew his lease on the White House. I didn’t speak up when self-righteous senators and reactionary representatives made noises about passing a Federal Marriage Amendment. I didn’t turn the dial when conservative radio and television personalities insisted that gays and lesbians were grotesque and loathsome.

I kept my mouth shut. For the team.

I am convinced that there are millions of Republican voters opting to keep their mouths shut for the team despite knowing in their hearts that homophobia is not morally right. They are so fixated on having Republicans win federal elections that they have chosen to ignore the reckless rhetoric those Republicans are relying on to win.

They need to speak up. Right now.

Ignoring homophobia is a fundamentally senseless act. Think about it: the Republicans who kept their mouths shut about Bush’s gay-bashing and supported his re-election effectively gave Bush the opportunity to thoroughly wreck the GOP, thus clearing a path for Barack Obama. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to speak out before it was too late?

There’s no downside to standing up against Republican homophobia—but the pain of remaining silent is tremendous. The hurt of conscience is more intense than any physical suffering. It’s a hurt I feel every time I recall the days when I said nothing as Republicans came after gay and lesbian families and denounced them in the cruelest terms possible.

Republicans of conscience—the ones that are still left, that is—must stand up now and call out Santorum and every other Republican who refuses to give the minimum standard of respect to gays and lesbians. The hatred must stop, and it must stop today.

The ends of an electoral outcome cannot justify the means. When a Republican pundit or politician opens his or her mouth to denounce gay rights, they should immediately hear millions of voices responding, “Stop it!”

By doing so, we will hasten the day when openly homophobic figures like Santorum won’t even think of running for President. We will hasten the day when both political parties recognize the importance of appealing to gays and lesbians. We will hasten the day when equality is the guaranteed winner of every election.

I will die regretting the years I declined to speak out against Republican homophobia. I should have realized that any GOP victory dependent on the denigration of gays and lesbians will go down in history as a stolen victory.

I can’t change the past, but I can certainly learn from it. The most important lesson to be learned is the moral necessity of calling out homophobia and opposing the vicious vision of those don’t believe in treating gays and lesbians as equals. Thus, let me be the first to say: “Rick Santorum, shut up already!”

I think we need people to speak up within the GOP who are willing to express sentiments like these.

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