Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The official start of 11 months of dread...

Although it seems as if people have been running for the Republican presidential nomination for years, tonight's Iowa Caucuses mark the official start of the 2012 Republican presidential race. Within a week it's on to the New Hampshire primary, and then everything rolls downhill from there.

While I've made no secret of my political leanings, I am truly disheartened by nearly every Republican nominee and the rhetoric many have already employed, which as far as I'm concerned, doesn't bode well for the next 11 months. Every single Republican candidate that has been taken seriously by the media has employed passionately anti-equality messaging in an effort to court the evangelical voters they believe will be core to winning the White House. (The candidate whom I believe would have the best shot to beat President Obama is former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, but because some of his views are more centrist, the Republicans are too caught up in pandering to the highly conservative wing of the party to notice.)

You have Mitt Romney, who when he ran against the late Ted Kennedy for his Senate seat, claimed to be more pro-gay rights than the liberal lion himself. But suddenly, in his second run for the presidential nomination, Romney has vowed to embrace a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Then there's the thrice-married Newt Gingrich, who filed for divorce from his first wife while she was in the hospital being treated for cancer, and who was having an affair with the woman who was to become his third wife when he and his second wife divorced. But Gingrich, who has vowed to protect "the sanctity of traditional marriage," has also embraced the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Texas Governor Rick Perry has been tailed by gay rumors since he first ran for office, but he, too, has promised the constitutional amendment. He has also expressed disbelief in climate change and believes that gay people have declared war on Christmas.

Michele Bachmann is married to a man who profited from those who came to his clinic to "pray the gay away." (Although Marcus Bachmann is rumored to be gay himself.) Bachmann once told a group of educators that gay people and gay life are "part of Satan."

And don't forget Rick Santorum. When Rudy Giuliani ran for president in 2008, Senator Joe Lieberman said that, "There are only three things he mentions in a sentence—a noun, a verb, and 9/11." The same holds true for Santorum, except replace "9/11" with "gay." I don't think Santorum stands for anything; he's just against gay people.

Of the remaining candidates, only Ron Paul has said that same-sex marriage should be a state's rights issue. But earlier in his career, Paul disseminated numerous anti-gay and racist newsletters, so who knows what he believes?

In general, Americans think our country is in bad shape economically, and have concerns about national security. Only when you specifically ask voters questions about same-sex marriage do they register an opinion, and at this point, only evangelicals and Republicans are vehemently against equality.

So if most Americans don't care that much, why do the Republicans think tearing gays apart will be the key to victory?

Why do I have to spend the next 11 months hearing how gay people aren't deserving of equal rights, that they're spawns of Satan who don't deserve a voice in government?

I'm hopeful things will go in a different direction, but I'm cynical enough not to expect anything else.

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