Writing this post gives me great pleasure. A short three years ago, U.S. Senator Rick “Man-on-dog” Santorum was spewing his fascist, hateful rhetoric from a prominent podium in the chambers of the U.S. Senate. Two years later, after a monumental defeat in the 2006 election, Santorum is relegated to writing comedy for the Philadelphia
Inquirer. His editorial post yesterday,
shows that two years of reflection haven’t resulted in an appreciable awakening to the realities of the world in which Santorum physically (although obviously not intellectually) exists. Santorum’s editorial, entitled “The Elephant in the Room: Obama vs. United States,” would be more aptly entitled “Obama vs. My (Rick’s) United States.” He starts by predictably taking an Obama comment (appropriate as the comment may be) out of context and contending that Obama apologized for American arrogance and has an antipathy toward American values. In reality, Obama accurately addressed both American and European arrogance and destructive attitudes, pointed out that we are, in fact, allies, and called for greater understanding and cooperation. Rick calls that Un-American, I (and the new majority) call it diplomacy and realism.
Rick went on to assert that Obama’s appointment for top lawyer in the State Department, former Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh, “constitutes further evidence of his disdain for American values.” Koh, who according to Santorum has
admitted to being a transnationalist, looks beyond national interests to the mutual interests of all nations in
a smoothly functioning international legal regime. To Rick, that constitutes surrendering national sovereignty. Predictably, at that point (and likely long before that point) Rick quit thinking with his pea-sized brain and started thinking with his gut (he must have been constipated, because what came out after that point was clearly brown and smelly). He extrapolated Koh’s “transnationalist” views of international law to purely domestic law, contending that Koh would promote redefinition of cruel and unusual punishment, gay marriage, and abortion. This seems to be a little bit of a stretch; just what the hell does the State Department have to do with gay marriage and abortion. In Rick’s small mind, all roads lead to gay marriage (and abortion).
So why does writing this post give me such pleasure? Because a short three years ago, Santorum’s views of America were sadly relevant. Our country had been hijacked by a group that believed that in all issues the concerns the ruling class of a country of 300 million people superseded the concerns of a world of 6 billion people. Today, the majority has elected leaders
that, while not for one second would consider surrendering American sovereignty, understand that we don’t live in a vacuum. The majority has elected leaders that are not arrogant, leaders that understand good ideas are universal, sometimes even originating beyond our borders. We have elected leaders that don’t equate every issue to the wedge issues that they consider moral absolutes. This post gives me pleasure because we no longer live in Santorum’s America. We no longer live in the America where the corporate class is successful in disguising their true agenda of concentration of wealth, disdain for work, and essentially enslavement of the masses by bringing to the forefront social issues that are often accepted at face value by the exploited.
On the other hand, we only deposed this America by a comfortable but precariously narrow margin. These morons are still waiting in the wings, ready to capitalize on fear and xenophobic tendencies of a small but crucial voting bloc that may serve to sweep them back into power. We must remain vigilant, call them on their absurd views, and take advantage of our present majority to advance an agenda that will change society for the better for the foreseeable future.
We cannot depend on our elected leaders to do this; we must continue to pressure these officials to do what we elected them to do, make it clear that we elected them, not their conservative constituents. We must make it clear that we have their backs when they vote for progressive causes like universal single-payer health care and the employee free choice act, and that they will be brought to task when they carry water for Wall Street, the insurance industry, and big Pharma.
Just as importantly, we must be vigilant and take irrelevant morons like Rick Santorum to task when they are given a forum like the editorial page of a major city’s newspaper to spew their hate.