I knew there was a Republican debate last night, and deliberately did not tune in to watch it. I dislike presidential debates in general; the candidates seem to treat it as a campaign platform, never answering the questions, always sidestepping and going off on some other tangent, either to highlight their own successes or insult their opponents. Also, the previous Republican debate really disturbed me. It wasn't so much the candidates that bothered me so much as the audience. I didn't like the way they cheered like a bloodthirsty mob when Rick Perry spoke out in favor of the death penalty, nor the way they booed Ron Paul when he said that the US's high-handed foreign policy leads to unrest in the Middle East and was party responsible for the actions that the terrorists took on 9/11 (they like to think that the US was attacked "because they envy our freedom").
So I'm glad I didn't watch last night's debate. Once again, the crowd displayed shocking behavior, booing openly gay soldier Stephen Hill as he asked candidate Rick Santorum, via satellite, whether as president he would find a way to circumvent the recent abolishment of Don't Ask Don't Tell. Santorum's answer was not surprising. Here's an excerpt from his response:
I would say any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military. The fact they are making a point to include it as a provision within the military that we are going to recognize a group of people and give them a special privilege to, and removing don't ask don’t tell. I think tries to inject social policy into the military.
What the f*$% is he talking about? Who are we giving special privileges to? Is it a special privilege to be able to be open about your sexual orientation and not get fired from your job? As I said, not surprising. Bigoted, close-minded, but not unexpected.
What was truly shocking was the way the crowd booed Mr. Hill. What the double-f*$% were they thinking? And why did no-one on that stage say anything about the boos? Not one Republican candidate had the decency to try and quiet the crowd, to say, "Hey, now, there's no call for that". Sorry, but calling the incident "unfortunate", after the debate, just doesn't cut it. Cowards.
If there's one thing Republicans and Democrats agree on, it's to support our troops. I thought that everyone considers them heroes. They're laying their lives on the line so we can feel safe at home. When I see men and women in uniform at the airport, on a bus, on airplanes, they are always shown the utmost respect. Apparently this respect, for some people at least, ends the moment they realize the person in question is gay.
How awful. How disrespectful. How shameful. Even if your religious beliefs have convinced you that homosexuality is a sin, shouldn't those same religious beliefs tell you to be kind and respectful to people? My heart broke for Stephen Hill when I found out what had happened.
Don't you listen to them, Stephen. There are still some people in America who honor and admire what you do. It doesn't matter whether you love a woman or a man, because it's clear you love your country.
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