Patrick Strudwick

Patrick Strudwick

On his wish for Rick Santorum's future

Sometimes, rather than fighting homophobia, rather than trying to expose powerful homophobes for their bigotry, there is a better, neater, niftier way: let them. Sit back and watch them self-destruct. As they do, all their other nasty knee-jerk beliefs will burn with them.

And so it is that I have come to wish - with a Machiavellian heart - that Rick Santorum wins the race to become the Republican presidential candidate. It’s looking distinctly possible. Rupert Murdoch, humankind’s master puppeteer, has raved about Santorum, one of the most homophobic men to ever run for the Republican ticket. (Which, with its bravura let-fags-die history, is no meager accolade.)

Just days after joining Twitter, Murdoch wrote: “Can’t resist this tweet, but all Iowans think about Rick Santorum. Only candidate with genuine big vision for country.”

Let’s look at Rick Santorum’s “big vision”, or, at least, one segment of it: his policies surrounding homosexuality. First are his plans for gay marriage. Savour this “vision”; chew it carefully and notice the taste in your mouth. If elected, he would not only change the constitution to prevent people of the same sex marrying each other, but he would render void the weddings that have already taken place.

“Their marriage would be invalid,” he told NBC. Yes, thousands of loving couples across America would see the legal ties that enable them to leave property to their spouses in the event of death, to be the next of kin in the event of emergency, to prevent them from being deported or to simply feel that their relationship is valued by their country, would be rendered no more useable than a $3 bill. It’s certainly a vision: a myopic plan for misery.

This anti-family (we should never let heterosexuals keep the word for themselves) policy is but a wink, however, on Santorum’s gurning, hate face.

He believes that we should not have sex. He has “a problem with homosexual acts”. (Someone should advise him to use lubricant.) Sodomy, he opines, “undermines the basic tenets of our society and the family”. He described the repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, prohibiting gay people in the military from coming out, as “tragic”.

But what’s tragic is watching a man look for the cause of society’s problems and deciding it is people who love the same sex. What’s tragic is that millions of Americans agree with him. And what’s tragic is that they all fail to notice the real culprit, the real problem underpinning American society: hate, the hate that they themselves promote.

Hate is everywhere in the US. The country was founded on it: hatred of the Native Americans and hatred of black slaves. The hate lives on. It lives on in its foreign policy, in its determination to keep asylum seekers out, in its refusal to look after the poor, in its inability to provide social healthcare, and in its continuing oppression of gay people. It lives on too in its presidential hopefuls.

Santorum has compared homosexuality to sex with dogs. He also sees no distinction between gay men and paedophiles. When asked about child abuse in the Catholic church he described the rape of boys by priests as a “basic homosexual relationship”.

So why, given all this mad bile, do I hope Santorum becomes the Republican candidate? Simple: because he’ll lose. The American people might include millions of evangelical Christians and social conservatives, but they are outnumbered. A 2008 Gallup poll found that 57% of Americans believe homosexuality should be acceptable. And so, for Santorum to be so vocal about his hatred of it will help the majority of Americans decide to put a mark by the name that stands for tolerance: Obama.

When they do, Santorum will lose the opportunity to enforce all his other regressive, destructive views: that “there is no such thing as global warming”, that women shouldn’t have the right to choose abortion, that children should be taught creationism and that poor Americans shouldn’t have access to healthcare.

My hope that Santorum becomes the Republican candidate is not isolated. As much as I despise religious institutions that blare out homophobic rhetoric, I am unable to suppress the thought: “Keep up the crazed, crazy, anti-logic, anti-science, anti-human nonsense. For it will be your undoing.” The more religious leaders tell their followers that gay people are sick, in a world with advancing education and expanding forms of communication where more and more citizens are exposed to out gay people and the plain truth that we are natural and normal and just as a good, the more their message will fail. And as with Santorum, the more their other dangerous messages will fail along with it. Where there is religion there is racism and misogyny. Where there is dogma there is disease and war and famine.

But the human race is progressing rapidly. The American presidential race is hurtling forth. Morally and actually, Santorum, along with religious homophobes the world over, is losing. History will discard them all.

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