Republican leaders in California today admonished Orange County official Marilyn Davenport for disseminating racist rhetoric about President Obama. Meanwhile, in Washington, Speaker John Boehner wants government money to reinforce anti-gay discrimination. Is the GOP totally blind to double-speak?
Speaker of the House John Boehner officially requested Department of Justice funds today to fight for the Defense of Marriage Act, 15-year old legislation that prohibits the federal government from recognizing marriage equality.
Referencing the DOJ’s decision not to defend DOMA, which the Department and President deemed unconstitutional earlier this year, Boehner wrote to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, “Obviously, [that] decision results in DOJ no longer needing the funds it would have otherwise expended defending the constitutionality of DOMA.”
“It is my intent that those funds be diverted to the House for reimbursement of any costs incurred by and associated with the House, and not DOJ, defending DOMA,” he said.
It’s an incredible show of politically convenient hypocrisy, especially as the Republicans rally their troops against governmental overspending, and as Orange County Republican official Marilyn Davenport comes under fire for sending a blatantly racist email about Barack Obama.
Davenport’s email, covered here by Carmel Lobello, portrays our president as a chimp, complete with the caption, “Now you know why — No birth certificate.”
GOP leaders in the Golden State have been quick to lambast Davenport’s correspondence as “despicable,” and said that it “drips with racism.”
While the national party has yet to respond to Davenport’s clearly racist email, it’s safe to assume that they would never, ever, not in one million years, endorse such a missive. Yet, they find it okay to back anti-gay politics?
It’s always difficult to compare racism and homophobia. They are different forms of discrimination with varying manifestations. The message, however, remains the same: one “type” — either white or straight — can be quantified as “right,” while the opposite — black or LGBT — qualifies as “wrong.” They’re two sides of the same coin.
Why, then, does the GOP find it acceptable to criticize one form of hate, yet condone another? Clearly politics are at play here: Republican leaders think they can consolidate power by attacking a conveniently marginalized group, gay folk, yet realize it’s wrong to describe black people as apes.
This tactic will backfire; not simply because Americans are becoming more accepting of their LGBT friends and neighbors, but because their fetishization of homophobia flies in the face of the party’s claim that they will unify the nation, as embodied in the official Republican platform, “Our Republican ideals are those that unify our country.”
Some day soon, their base will wise up to these contradictory politics, and when that happens, all bets are off.