I was going to say something about this the other day, because it’s happening in my backyard, but then I forgot, due to seven tornado warnings and a monsoon. But the guys running as Republicans in the 8th congressional district of Tennessee are a special kind of bigot:

Republican candidates in the 8th Congressional District made candid comments about gays during a recent Tea Party forum that included discussion about the military’s “don’t ask don’t tell” policy.

Physicians Ron Kirkland of Jackson and George Flinn of Memphis were among the candidates Thursday night who talked largely about how they’re against the Obama administration and its policies, according to The Jackson Sun.

The candidates criticized the administration for wanting to overturn the gay policy, which prevents gays from serving openly in the military. President Barack Obama has called on Congress to lift the ban, and military officials are examining how to do that.


Kirkland, a Vietnam veteran, said of his time in the military: “I can tell you if there were any homosexuals in that group, they were taken care of in ways I can’t describe to you.”

Smith, who served in the first Iraqi war, added: “I definitely wouldn’t want to share a shower with a homosexual. We took care of that kind of stuff, just like (Kirkland) said.”

Wow. Just wow.

The funny thing about this part of the country is that this kind of crap doesn’t play well in the big cities, at least not in the city cores themselves. It might resonate in some of the suburbs and exurbs where white people have been fleeing for decades to get away from anything and everything that looks or thinks differently from them (or thinks at all). The code word for this is “lower taxes,” but if you really factor in the associated costs of living out in the sticks, they don’t save much. No, they just want to live in “nice areas,” without minorities.

The Tennessee Equality Project, with which I am affiliated, has called for an apology:

The 8th district, by the way, is pretty wingnut, encompassing a couple of northern Memphis suburbs, and the rest of the rural Northwestern section of the state. For a quick comparison, to understand how many decades you go back in time once you leave the safety of the large city, compare those statements to the record of the Congressman from the 9th District (Memphis), Steve Cohen, who votes like he’s from Vermont.