Editorial

opinion.editorial

Boo to the booing of a soldier at GOP debate

POSTED AT 07:49 PM ON Sep. 25, 2011 

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It was the audience, not the candidates, that became the talking point of Thursday’s GOP presidential debate. Gay soldier Stephen Hill was booed after asking about the candidates’ views on the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Though only a few boos could be heard from the large audience, the moment was shocking.

The question was addressed to Rick Santorum, who has been criticized for not speaking out against the lambasting of an
American soldier.

Santorum has since said he didn’t hear the boos.

“I condemn the people who booed that gay soldier,” the candidate told Fox News on Friday. He said if he had heard the boos, he would have defended the soldier.

“We are to thank him for his service,” Santorum said.

Thanking the soldier for his service is exactly what none of the candidates did. It seems just a little out of place for Santorum to demand respect for the troops after promising to once again steal their identities.

“What we’re doing is playing social experimentation with our military right now. And it’s tragic,” he said at the debate.

What we’re doing in the military right now is providing a basic human right to women and men who have been silenced for far too long. Is it really tragedy to repeal enforced inequality?

This is the same attitude that makes people boo an American soldier. It may have been politically conscious for Santorum to denounce the booing, but his proposed policy does nothing but encourage the booing of gays.

His tragically heterosexist position on gays in the military is summed up with this self-parodic gem from the debate: “We would move forward in conformity with what was happening in the past.” I think we have different definitions of moving forward.

Santorum’s hypocrisy almost makes Rick “Most Executions Overseen” Perry seem authentic when he said he will always “err on the side of life.”

Santorum can’t be kept responsible for not acknowledging the boos if he didn’t hear them, but he can be held responsible for using anti-gay language. He would respond to newfound equality by reinstating inequality. And he has the gall to condemn those who boo that equality. It’s a wonder he didn’t later call the kettle black.

Maybe Santorum couldn’t hear the audience boo. But I’m sure he could hear them cheer for his bigotry.

 

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