It’s always funny to me how anti-gay Religious Right figures/wingnuts, in general, never confine their bigotry to just one group. It says far more about them than it ever says about any of the groups whose existence they decry. At the first annual Teabaggers’ Ball in Nashville, crazed anti-immigrant crusader and former congressman Tom Tancredo kicked things off by describing Obama voters in this way:
“They could not even spell the word “vote’ or say it in English and they put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House ‚Äî Barack Hussein Obama!”
He then whined that we have no civics literacy test to determine whether or not citizens can vote. He of course backtracked on that, because even Tom Tancredo occasionally realizes that Tom Tancredo has said something so racist that it’s beyond the pale.
Now, this is funny (gross) on several levels. First of all, it’s gross because that was one of the ways racist white people kept black people from voting. But it’s funny (haha) because Obama won decisively not only among those with the highest education levels, but also among the highest earners in the nation. Tom Tancredo was basically reflecting that core wingnut belief, grounded in no reality whatsoever, that white Republicans are the only ones who contribute to society and that all liberals and dark-skinned people are stoopid.* Over at AlterNet, Dennis Bischof thought the idea of a civics literacy test for teabaggers would actually be pretty hilarious, and suggested the following questions:
- Name the president under whose watch our national security was breached on 911 and to what political party did he belong?
- Name the president who started the illegal invasion of Iraq, under the false pretence of looking for nonexistent WMD and to what political party did he belong?
- Name the president under whose administration The Gramm-Leach-Billey Act repealed part of Glass-Steagall, deregulating the banking industry causing it to collapse just prior to the Obama administration taking office and to what political party did he belong?
- Name the place of birth of the presidential candidate who lost the last election and has yet to produce his birth certificate and to what political party did he belong?
- Name the previous vice presidential candidate who was chosen primarily because of her ability to pageant walk and wink at the same time and helped McCain lose the last election?
Only truthful and accurate answers will be accepted, any attempt at deception will be considered a false statement and result in the applicant being barred from participating in the 2012 presidential elections!
Yeah, that would NOT go well for them! Anyway, the point is that all American citizens should be allowed and encouraged to take part in the political process, no matter how ignorant, because that’s just sort of how we do America.
Anyway, then it was Pastor Rick Scarborough’s turn to up the racist ante:
One featured speaker, a “Patriot Pastor” named Rick Scarborough, told The Times that he was not against legal immigrants “but God has ordained that you are not a nation if you don’t have borders”. Standing next to a pile of books entitled Liberalism Kills Kids, he added: “If this country becomes 30 per cent Hispanic we will no longer be America. We don’t want to become like the UK where in places you have Sharia.
“English is our language. We are Americans. We’re not Hispanic-Americans, or African-Americans ‚Äî we are Americans.”
Have you ever noticed, in big old cities, how they often have a ChinaTown, and a German area, and a Polish area, and an Irish Catholic area, etc.? We’re a nation of immigrants. Those neighborhoods are simply reminders of the fact that, unless we’re full blooded Native Americans, we all have ancestors that came from somewhere else, and who brought their cultures with them, and assimilated at various rates. It just so happens that the largest immigrant groups in the United States right now are Hispanic, and yes, they do continue to speak the languages they’ve spoken all their lives. Why? Well, for one thing, it’s far more difficult for adults to learn new languages than it is for children! You know who ends up speaking perfectly fluent, unaccented American English? The immigrants’ kids. That’s just how it works. But of course, with men like Rick Scarborough, it’s not just about language. It’s not just that he feels emasculated when he has to press “1” for English, though that’s probably true.** No, he’s indeed declaring that if 30% of us are Hispanic, then when you add other minority populations, then you have a United States which is no longer majority white. This is the greatest fear for Scarborough, Tancredo and others like them: In the very near future, Caucasians will indeed be a minority group in the United States.*** For people who have been born and bred to believe that white male Christian heterosexuals are the Superior Race****, I suppose it’s terrifying to realize that the days of dominance for that group are numbered.
And for men like Scarborough, it ties back into anti-gay animus as well. LGBT people come in all shapes, sizes, colors, nationalities, and whatnot, but even WASP-y gay dudes like me are very scary to weak religious leaders like Rick Scarborough. Indeed, he led the teabaggers in prayer on the first night of the Tea Party convention, and according to Time, he “went after homosexuals several times to choruses of amens.” If there is a God, I can imagine he’s probably tired of wingnuts moaning and groaning to him about gay people, but that’s just conjecture on my part.
Anyway, the point is that we have to always remember when dealing with anti-gay sorts that we are never their only target. Anti-gay bigotry does not exist in a vacuum. They tend to hate anything that threatens their little patriarchal perches, because they know, deep down, that they did nothing to earn their favored cultural status, and they know that Western society is finally beginning to figure that out.
*This, by the way, is why I think it’s funny to yell “GET A JOB!” at Tea Party protesters. You should try it.
**I do not get that! Who cares?! And I always find it interesting/revelatory that those who feel threatened by that tend to also speak some of the most pathetic English of any Americans I’ve ever met.
***This whitey says “WHO CARES?!” God, I just don’t get these people!
****I’m not saying Scarborough and Tancredo are Hitler, so shush about Godwin’s law. It’s more the inverse — Hitler was an extremely disturbed man who took the general theme of Aryan superiority, which has been running pretty much throughout Western history, to new frightening levels.