I have an intellectual/emotional problem, and I’m looking for some insight from voices outside my own head. Help a Chili out, wouldja?
I’ve been struggling with this question for a while, but the recent explosion of discussion on my radio and t.v. have pushed the issue back into the forefront of my thinking.
This afternoon, I was listening to some folks talking about some of the candidates on NPR’s Talk of the Nation (now that the primary season is in full swing, I imagine I’m going to hear a lot more of this kind of thing, but that’s not what this post is about). At one point, someone piped up that he knew Rick Santorum (google it!) and claimed that “he’s really a very nice, likeable guy.”
Oh, really? No; really?! That’s not the impression *I* get. In fact, I’m having a hard time imagining ANY of the current batch of Republican contenders as nice people, given the vile and ugly I’ve been listening to them spew over the last year or so.
Let’s review some of Mr. Santorum’s highlights, shall we? We all know (or, we should by now) that he earned his ugly google reputation by spouting this lovely screed within the hearing of others:
“Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman…. In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality.”
Earlier this week, he equated black people to public programs with this little nugget:
“I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.”
He’s also in favor of letting states not just
limit eliminate a woman’s access to abortion, but to ban contraception outright, saying that “The state has a right to do that [outlaw contraception], I have never questioned that the state has a right to do that. It is not a constitutional right, the state has the right to pass whatever statues they have.”
There’s the holy trinity right there – gays, blacks, and women. Our boy’s battin’ a thousand.
Here’s what I want to know – and I GENUINELY want to figure this out, because it’s starting to affect the way I think about people I care about who identify as Republicans – can someone think this way and still be a good person?
I suppose we have to decide what a “good person” is and, to me, that begins with a general compassion and concern for one’s fellows. Thus far, EVERY SINGLE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE has said something – or said that they support something or would eliminate something or, or, or… – that shows a blatant and, to my mind, callous disregard for one’s fellows. If you genuinely believe that women shouldn’t have the right to control their own bodies, or that gays should be subject to (at least) public scorn or (at worst) capital punishment, or that blacks are criminals or freeloaders, or that health care is a privilege only for those who can afford it, does it really MATTER if you’re nice to your wife or you’re generous with your donations or you don’t kick your dog? If you believe these things – or you support people who believe these things – does it really matter that you’re fun at parties or that you’ll pick a friend up at the airport at an inconvenient time or that you always obey the speed limit? Isn’t there more to being a good person – a genuinely good person – than the outward appearances to those closest to you?
I think there is, and it’s something that I’m struggling with.