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With Marco Rubio peacing the fuck out, Senator Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are thirstier than ever for the Republican nomination. Like most of society, I have high expectations for our next President. The President is supposed to be reflective of the values of the nation, both morally upstanding and forward thinking. As the primaries continue, it’s important to note that the conduct of the aforementioned conservative men throughout this election campaign has been far from morally upstanding, and almost laughably socially regressive. Two issues in particular have been notably shocking; the condemnation of homosexual individuals and the continuation of racial prejudice.
How can the nation even consider electing a Republican nominee to the presidency that is incapable of acknowledging basic human rights?
On November 6, 2015, Pastor Kevin Swanson hosted the National Religious Liberties Conference in Des Moines. Senator Ted Cruz along with Mike Huckabee and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal attended the religious freedom event, each being introduced by the Pastor. Prior to introducing Senator Cruz, Pastor Swanson decided it was prime time to discuss his own personal (highly controversial and objectively deplorable) opinions regarding homosexual individuals.
Pastor Swanson, through his interpretation of the dusty old Jesus book (The Bible) advocates for the execution of gay people. Oh but don’t worry, he’s not calling for immediate action! He’s emphasized that the time to eliminate the gay population of America is “not yet” here. We have time to grab an E. Coli filled burrito bowl before we should turn against our neighbors and friends. First things first (as Igloo Australia attempts to rap) America has to truly embrace a single true religion. Naturally this makes logistical sense, as the church and state are snuggled in bed together. The next step of action, according to Pastor Swanson, is to allow a grace period for homosexual individuals to be allowed to repent and convert. This is obviously realistic, as the only thing preventing a homosexual person from being heterosexual is just one more Our Father on the rosary. Pastor Swanson, proving himself to be ever the intellectual, is an outspoken advocate of Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill. You didn’t hear it from me, but he also has a micropenis that is eternally infested with angry red fire ants (this is unconfirmed by any official news source).
It quickly became clear that this conference was a glorified platform for Pastor Swanson to reiterate his call for the death penalty to be given to all homosexuals. Within minutes of these inflammatory comments, Senator Ted Cruz (aka The Zodiac Killer or Kevin Malone from The Office) was introduced to the crowd. He immediately graciously thanked the audience for coming, but quickly made it clear that while he may politically disagree with same sex marriage laws, he can not in any capacity accept the endorsement of an individual who wants to incite violence against a large group of innocent people. He immediately rejected the ideas that were spoken literally 5 minutes ago, and left the room in a respectful and thoughtful silence.
No. Not really. Life is not a fairytale, and Senator Ted Cruz is more of a ghoul than a prince defending the lives of homosexual individuals.
By not immediately condemning these comments, Cruz implicitly condoned them.
On MSNBC on November 9, 2015, Rachel Maddow covered the conference at large. She, much like most rational and decent people hearing of this, was deeply troubled and reacted with disgust. In response, she said that this Republican presidential candidates’ political event was in all actuality, “A kill-the-gays’ call to arms. This was a conference about the necessity of the death penalty as a punishment for homosexuality.”
Other than Ms. Maddow’s coverage, the mainstream media didn’t cover the controversial aspects of this event until it started to gain interest in late February, a grand total of 3 months since the death threats were made. This prompted the ever-frantic Cruz communication team to respond via email in a lame attempt to cover Ghoul Cruz’s ass by admitting that, “It was a mistake for Senator Cruz to appear at the event.” Well, no shit. However, even if Cruz had attended the event with no prior knowledge of the Pastor’s political and religious leanings, he still should have immediately spoke against them after he heard them firsthand. Did he forget about the execution threat in the span of 3 minutes before he was called to the stage and given a microphone? We know the man has no bones in his face, but let’s not underestimate him so much as to assume that he can’t remember anything spanning beyond 30 second intervals.
The lack of condemnation of horribly offensive people seems to be #trending throughout the GOP. In an unsurprising turn of events, enter Donald Trump. During a February 28 radio interview, when asked if he embraces or disavows the support and endorsement of the Klu Klux Klan and leader David Duke, Donald Trump dodged the question and feigned ignorance over who Duke was. Yikes. He said, “I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about…So I don’t know. I don’t know…Because I know nothing about David Duke, I know nothing about white supremacists.”
Trump is blatantly lying through his ever-yellowing teeth. In 2000, Trump named Duke as a reason why he was leaving the Reform Political Party, publically condemning him. So let’s not pretend that he’s an unknown character to Drumpf. To play devil’s advocate though (isn’t that Sarah Palin’s job?) let’s make believe that the presidential nominee really didn’t know who David Duke was. The interviewee mentioned the KKK by name three times in this back and forth questioning. As soon as the affiliation between the KKK and Duke was made clear, Trump should have disavowed him. In modern day society, there’s no special case circumstance that makes working with or condoning the Klu Klux Klan permissible.
Much like Cruz, Trump didn’t retract his comments or apologize until he was called out for his bad behavior. In an appropriate response to the racial gravity of the situation, his stubby fingers turned to twitter fingers on March 3rd, when he publicly rejected the support of Duke or the Klu Klux Klan. Nice save. He’s truly the crowning savior of supporting racial equality in American society *cough* anti-Muslim sentiments *cough* getting a hard-on over building a wall *cough*.
So what do these two incidents have in common? They’re representative of a larger societal problem. The initial quiet reaction of these GOP candidates expresses complacency with the issues discussed. Racial and LGBT discrimination continues to prevail in society, and when those in the public eye yielding political power don’t immediately and loudly condemn inflammatory comments, they’re contributing to the larger problem.
Silence in the face of discrimination always benefits the oppressor.
Comments and behaviors such as the Pastors and David Duke’s are still normalized. Why did it take so long for the mainstream media to take notice of the Pastor’s comments? Especially in a more liberal environment such as Fordham, it’s natural to assume that most people agree with same-sex marriage and racial equality in our perpetually divided society. This creates the illusion that the “culture war” is over, and that progressive-minded individuals have won. However, the battle doesn’t cease at the courthouse. It would be narrow minded to ignore the leaders of the religious liberty movement and the influential force of the Ku Klux Klan which actively work to oppress and threaten many innocent people by navigating the courts and state legislatures. This is a harsh reality that won’t go away through simply turning a blind eye and hoping no one notices you skirt around the question.
Regardless of political leanings and partisanship, discrimination and threatening attitudes should always be condemned quickly and with fervor. Presidential hopefuls have a huge influence over national attitudes, and while it may start with just words, threatening ideas quickly turn into action. The opportunity of winning the vote of different demographics is irrelevant if those people perpetuate antiquated and violent racist and homophobic ideals. Political candidates have a unique opportunity to show a united front against violent and radical hate in America. Let’s hope they put their best face forward, regardless of whether or not there are bones under their pasty white skin.