As I read Suzanne Pharr’s “Homo-Phobia: A Weapon of Sexism,” I was originally taken back by the radicalness of her views.
The right has used homophobia, sexism, and racism as the magnetic fields for organizing heterosexuals, men, and white people to oppose civil rights and democratic values. It has organized middle and working class people around anti-tax and anti-government sentiment, leading to an attack against services for the poor and increased economic injustice (96).
Yet, as I continued to read I found myself finally admitting the scary truth behind her warnings. Why else would the right be so adamant to deny same sex marriage, reinstate “don’t ask don’t tell,” and decline an already minuscule welfare program?
Republican candidate Rick Santorum’s responses at the most recent Republican Presidential debate in regards to “don’t ask don’t tell” proves a continued and unnecessary attempt at repression by the right. He explains that “any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military” and that “what we’re doing is playing social experimentation with the military right now.” Referring to homosexuals as an experiment is absolutely appalling. What is most scary is that his view is not a singular held view, rather he just happened to be the unlucky candidate who had to answer this particular question. The other candidates that stood by as he stumbled his way through the question were in absolute agreement with him.
The chance that any of these republican candidates could be our next president is absolutely frightening to me. I find myself wanting to scream my brains out when I hear friends discussing how well certain candidates performed in the previous night’s debate. Instead, I keep quiet yet inside I am baffled.
How can people not see the glaring proliferation of repression by the right? Don’t they understand that the future of their freedom is at risk? Candidates that are running on the platform of reinstating “don’t ask don’t tell,” implementing universal bans on same sex marriage, repealing Roe vs Wade, and preventing and or ending affordable access to health care for women are an anachronism in the 21rst century. The fact that people may age, who have grown up in a generally more liberal society, are even considering risking their freedoms by voting for a republican candidate is mind boggling to me and absolutely terrifying.
Amidst an economic crisis, many people are forgetting the importance of other issues. As Milton Friedman points out, our freedoms are tied up in a multitude of political arenas. Thus, I believe it becomes dangerous when society allows one avenue to become the dominant issue. By focusing and voting solely on the economy, Americans are putting other freedoms they enjoy at risk. I just hope people realize this before next fall. For the next year I will be keeping my fingers crossed and actively holding myself back from screaming in people’s faces.