Dear readers, another Republican has come out of the closet. That’s right: Rick Perry has decided that he’s not afraid any more, and has to let a deep secret be known: he’s a privileged, homophobic ass.
Not exactly a revelatory statement. The video really is just a desperate ploy by Perry, previous not-Mitt Romney Republican frontrunner to remain relevant in an election campaign that has long since shot him in the knee and left him for dead by the side of the road. This video is absurd, and awful, and seemingly just the sort of thing that should be ignored and pushed to the side in a supposedly civilized society like ours. But, as I wrote a few weeks ago, that is not a viable option.
See, the reason why this video has resonated so much is not simply because of its blatant bigotry, but instead because its warped view of reality is one that is at the forefront of rightwing policy. Sikivu Hutchinson, one of my absolute favorite writers and someone EVERYONE needs to be reading, put it perfectly:
In American politics, patriotism, race-baiting and faith-based pandering are the last refuge of a scoundrel. And this political season militant GOP appeals to white Christian evangelicals have veered into neo-Cold War hysteria. One of the most powerful scenes in Orwell’s 1984 was when Party member O’Brien succeeds in brainwashing protagonist Winston Smith into believing that 2+2 equals 5. The Religious Right has been practically virtuosic in its 2+2=5 mass doublespeak; convincing mainstream America that Christians are the new minority and that commie pinko “secular progressives” (Bill O’Reilly’s preferred “smear”) are at the helm of a socialist conspiracy.
That’s right, folks. In the United States, the nation with the highest percentage of Christians in the population in the world, the Jesus-lovers are now a minority and the homo atheist socialists are in control. At least, that’s what the Republicans would like you to believe. Personally, I wish with all my might it was true, but that’s just me.
Christian nationalism is very much a thing, people. The Ricks Perry and Santorum would like nothing more than our country to become a theocracy, with Pat Robertson at its head. They may not have poll numbers of any relevance, but they have still been elected, in some cases repeatedly, and they have many, many allies in Congress and other branches of government.
I don’t think I have to tell you what would happen if they actually managed to be elected to higher offices. They all hate non-straight people openly, hate non-whites a smidge less openly, and if Perry’s record as Governor of Texas is any indication, have itchy trigger fingers and plenty of weapons for them. Their platforms are the old fascism of the 30s and 40s wearing new faces. We can deride them, and we should do that, but we must not let that derision stop us from taking these people seriously. They have the capacity to make things awful for all of us, not just make our brains drip out our ears with their inanity.