According to Rick Santorum’s wife, Karen, it’s hard to be misunderstood.
Take her husband (please – insert rimshot here), the fiscally and socially conservative, sweater-vest wearing (c’mon, you know we all think it) presidential candidate, who hopes to swoop into the Oval Office to save us and the country from ourselves — to rescue us from big government, overspending on “entitlements,” policies that squash entrepreneurs and “job creators” (if you’ve read a previous post of mind, you know how I feel about that term), and save us from the un-patriotic, the humanists and feminists and the anti-Christian values that threaten to implode our country and turn us into a poor socialist country at the mercy of dictators and terrorists. Oh yeah, and, according to Karen, he’s kind and loving — and hates no one — lest we forget.
And, poor-ol’-misunderstood-sweater-vest-wearing is being bullied by the LGBT community. We’re twisting his words, misrepresenting his intent. In response to the mother of a gay son, who rightfully questioned Rick Santorum in an effort to better understand his views and to reconcile them — and her support for him — with her family and personal life. Mrs. Santorum’s response, as covered by the National Journal, among others? “As Rick’s wife, I have known him and loved him for 22 years,” Karen Santorum said. “It makes me very sad what the gay activists have done out there. They’ve vilified him. And it’s so wrong. … Rick doesn’t hate anyone,” she continued. “He loves them. What he has simply said is marriage shouldn’t happen” between them.” Perhaps Billy Sherrill should re-work Stand by Your Man; the first line of the song could be, “Sometimes it’s hard to be a Santorum.”
Thankfully (and, hopefully, we can encourage this sentiment to spread), the LGBT community, Democrats, liberals, moderates, and any other groups and individuals that might normally question the Santorums’ views and call them on their wrong-headedness and hypocrisy, are not alone this time. I’m not one who normally relies on the agreement of conservatives to prove a point, but in this case — with the Santorums trying to sell themselves as victims (WTF, right , Sarah Palin?), this seems the ideal time to pull that conservative rabbit out of the proverbial hat. Presto… Ross Douthat, conservative commentator for the New York Times, said in an NPR op-ed:
I don’t think it’s fair for the Santorums to say, well, it’s OK for us to talk about our miscarried child and to talk about it in the context of, essentially, a pro-life argument about fetal life, but then to say, well, but we have a zone of privacy, and nobody can cross this zone of privacy and criticize us.
For me, that really is at the heart of the Santorum issue. It is akin to the parent saying “do as I say, not as I do,” and how many of us resented hearing that as kids? Well, I know I did. I still do. Most of the people I know do too. For others out there who are still on the fence about Santorum or who, at least for now, support him, think twice. Ask yourself how you felt when your parents said “… not as I say” and then ask yourself how you’ll feel when Ma and Pa Santorum want to legislate what goes on in your home — what you do in the privacy of your bedroom or what your children learn in school, read or watch on TV. For someone like Rick and Karen Santorum (and any number of the ultra-right “moral experts”), there will always be some “other” for them to go after…to bring into the fold. So, just because they may not be attacking you or someone you know right now, it doesn’t mean that they won’t if they decide you somehow do fit into their cookie-cutter mold of what a good, moral, patriotic American should be: It’s only a matter of time and access. So, let’s give them neither.
If questioning the views and words of a political candidate is bullying, then it is a sad day for we all take for granted — freedom of speech and thought. So, to the Santorums and other candidates (and PACs, CPACs, supporters, etc.), if silencing the “other” and making them conform is what you’re after, you should be more afraid of those outsiders who might want to harm us — take away the spirit, ingenuity and diversity that is quintessentially American and you will be left with your flock…sheep, lambs to the slaughter…with no will or reason to defend what we have (or, if you have your way, what we used to have), then what?
Mind you, I’m not an alarmist. I do not believe the whole world is out to get us, to take what we have, but — hypothetically — if they were to do so and you’ve already stripped what so many of us value away away? Think about it … while the Santorums still can’t stop us from doing so.