Thursday, April 24, 2003

The transcript to Sen. Rick Santorum's April 7th AP interview. This is Orwellian stuff. In a brief interview, Santorum spins the Catholic Church sex scandal as "sex with post-pubescent men" and characterizes the abuse as "a basic homosexual relationship." In his attempt to conflate pedophelia with homosexuality, he as much as says that the relationships were consensual (never mind that the priests were in positions of power and authority and the boys were too young to legally give their consent). Later he lumps homosexuality with bestiality (as well as pedophelia again), to argue that he's not "picking on homosexuality".

As incredibly offensive as this is, it's just a small part of his larger project - attacking the "right to privacy lifestyle." Santorum believes that the state has a vested interest in preventing adults from engaging in non-marital, non-procreative sexual activities. As he describes it, "The idea is that the state doesn't have rights to limit individuals' wants and passions. I disagree with that. I think we [here he's referring to the state's right to limit privacy] absolutely have rights because there are consequences to letting people live out whatever wants or passions they desire. And we're seeing it in our society". Santorum doesn't say exactly how he would limit privacy rights - he claims that individual states should decide for themselves about these issues, and they shouldn't be decided on the federal level. I'm not convinced that this is Santorum's true position - it's a fairly common conservative ploy to advocate that the democratic process be used to resolve these kinds of issues, but the reality is that issues like these are not settled in voting booths, but in the legislative process.

Think that this doesn't affect you because you're straight? Think again. Here's a few privacy rights that conservatives like Santorum are eager to take away from everybody:
1. The right to a safe, legal abortion
2. The right to safe, legal "on-demand" birth control. Many conservatives of this ilk believe that iud's and hormonal birth control are, in effect, early abortions. Others believe that access to birth control should be severely limited to married couples who can justify their need, based on life or death circumstances.
3. The right to live with someone you're not married to.
4. The right to engage in sexual activity with someone you're not married to.
5. The right to engage in non-vaginal sex with anyone, whether you're married or not, whether you're different sexes or not.

I realize that there are many conservatives who are good, decent people. But here's the thing, the Republican party keeps turning up these "fringe" elements, who embarrass the rest of them by mouthing off in public - how many of their true faces do we have to see before we realize Trent Lott and Rick Santorum aren't fringe elements? This is the real Republican party boys and girls. They soft-pedal this kind of rhetoric precisely because they know it would horrify most Americans. (After all, it's one thing to persecute gays, but quite another to outlaw good old fashioned blow jobs). When are the good and decent Republicans (like John McCain) going to disassociate themselves from this element in their party? Until they do, it's impossible for me to trust any of them.

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