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It is refreshing to see someone on the right speak out against their party, especially on social issues. In fact it’s so rare these days that I feel like people on the right who do speak up deserve a gold star. I’m happy to report that today I have two candidates. Well, one and a half. Aside from the actual substance of current GOP/TEA politics, I have to say that one of the things that pisses me off most profoundly about the right is their attitude to the party line, which seems to be less a line than a razor wire which will violently decapitate you, should you cross it. Or maybe a cliff. They do seem more and more like unholy crosses between Wile E Coyote and a particularly obedient lemming, desperately running over a cliff and not quite aware that the ground under them is gone and had been for quite some time. [Update: I don't know why it is that the left gains legitimacy by questioning itself and earns points for hearing every view and being flexible and, (fine I'll say it), humoring the extreme opposition, while such mental agility would be suicidal for a right winger. Why is that?]
Alan Simpson, however, gets a gold star today for taking a stand against the anti-abortion nut jobs and homophobes that seem to be speaking for his party. And the especially nice thing is that he is taking an explicitly moral/ideological stand, rather than hiding behind the law. It would have been easy for him shelter behind the current legislation (abortion is legal, remember?) and simply argue to uphold the law. But Simpson is actually going out on a limb and declaring that this anti-woman crap is wrong. Which is awesome. Of course, the fact that we’ve gotten to the point that this seems like going out on a limb is depressing as hell. But be that as it may, Simpson earns a solid gold Death Star for this interview.
SIMPSON: Who the hell is for abortion? I don’t know anybody running around with a sign that says, “Have an abortion! They’re wonderful!” They’re hideous, but they’re a deeply intimate and personal decision, and I don’t think men legislators should even vote on the issue.
Then you’ve got homosexuality, you’ve got Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. We have homophobes on our party. That’s disgusting to me. We’re all human beings. We’re all God’s children. Now if they’re going to get off on that stuff—Santorum has said some cruel things—cruel, cruel things—about homosexuals. Ask him about it; see if he attributes the cruelness of his remarks years ago. Foul.
Now if that’s the kind of guys that are going to be on my ticket, you know, it makes you sort out hard what Reagan said, you know, “Stick with your folks.”But, I’m not sticking with people who are homophobic, anti-women, moral values—while you’re diddling your secretary while you’re giving a speech on moral values? Come on, get off of it.
Fun fact of the day: you know who else crossed the party line? Barry Goldwater, famously spoke out against homophobia, especially with regard to the military. And the dangers of the religious right. Yeah. Him. The father of the modern conservative movement. (Or at least he was, before Reagan got in there) Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from one of his Washington Post articles
Everyone knows that gays have served honorably in the military since at least the time of Julius Caesar. They’ll still be serving long after we’re all dead and buried. That should not surprise anyone.
Some in congress think I’m wrong. They say we absolutely must continue to discriminate, or all hell will break loose. Who knows, they say, perhaps our soldiers may even take up arms against each other.
Well, that’s just stupid.
The conservative movement, to which I subscribe, has as one of its basic tenets the belief that government should stay out of people’s private lives. Government governs best when it governs least – and stays out of the impossible task of legislating morality. But legislating someone’s version of morality is exactly what we do by perpetuating discrimination against gays.
Of course, his most famous quote on the subject was this:
You don’t have to be straight to be in the military; you just have to be able to shoot straight.
FYI, Barry Goldwater was also pro-choice. And every year Planned Parenthood gives the Barry Goldwater Award “to an outstanding public official who has supported Planned Parenthood and reproductive health issues”. So, conservatives, put that in your pipe and smoke it.
I just don’t know what happened to this country Puffin.
Yours, from somewhere between anger and regret