Back in 1998, Chris Bull published a very good book, Perfect Enemies: The Religious Right, the Gay Movement, and the Politics of the 1990s, about how social conservatives opposing gay rights and gay activists were made for each other. Every time Rick Santorum opens his mouth and says something silly and gay activists, clutching their pearls and reaching for their smelling salts, respond (in the highest of dudgeon) behaving as if the former Senator has just demanded his legions go out and convert gay people — or threaten them with the hell-fire — it seems such folk were made for each other.
A silly statement is not (necessarily) a hateful one. Nor does it amount to bullying, but it is often revealing. “Even in the most private, apolitical moment of the day,” Jennifer Rubin reports,
Santorum couldn’t suppress the urge to judge.” This year it was publicly chastising a boy for using a pink bowling ball. Seriously. The world according to Rick must be preached to all of us.
I couldn’t find video of this, and maybe (as the person who alerted me to the story speculates) the former Senator “was being playful in a pseudo-macho way”, but Rick Santorum is not known for his jocular gestures. More than anything, this comment betrays a certain insecurity — and a failure of discipline. What does it accomplish for a man who knows he’s being followed by a gaggle of press to say such a thing?
Even though press reports provide no evidence that Santorum linked the pink ball to gay men, the folks at HRC found the former Senator contending the former Senator’s comments could harm gay people. Really.
Almost out of breath, HRC Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz said, “This is another example of Rick Santorum intentionally making ignorant statements that have a real impact on LGBT people“. Give a break. Most gay people who hear of this will laugh at the former Senator’s strangeness. Only those who have this need to be perpetually aggrieved will feel threatened by his quip. (more…)