That sound you keep hearing is the death rattle of the Republican party. After years of trying to pretend otherwise, the party’s establishment has come to the bitter realization that theirs was no longer the party of lower taxes and less government. It’s now the party of white resentment. Donald Trump’s willingness to slime the parents of a slain soldier solely because they are Muslim (and not Trump fans) proves once and for all that the party cares only about hatred.
Which makes Marco Rubio’s decision to be a speaker at a virulently antigay convention all the more disgusting.
Rubio will be a guest at “Rediscovering God in America,” to be held on August 12. Among those in attendance will be Mat Staver, Kim Davis’s legal counsel; David Barton, the faux historian who had a big hand in this year’s hateful GOP platform; and David Lane, a religious right leader who said that car bombs would be an appropriate response to gay visibility.
In a particularly sickening twist, the event will be held in Orlando, just two months after the Pulse massacre.
Marco Rubio was supposed to be the future of the Republican party, at least until he revealed himself to be a defective android during this year’s primary season. The party still pins its hopes on him to save it from its current mess at some future date.
But if the party is ever to recover from the complete meltdown it is now experiencing, it’s going to have to start denouncing the hatred in its ranks. And a good place to start would be with the vicious antigay right.
Bill Clinton perfected this strategy when he condemned hip-hop artist Sister Souljah for making remarks about blacks killing whites instead of each other. The decision, which is known politically as a Sister Souljah moment, signaled to voters that hateful speech had no place in Clinton’s party.
It’s that moment that Republicans desperately need.
Of course, maybe this is expecting too much from Rubio. After all, where other people viewed the carnage of the Pulse massacre and saw tragedy and heartbreak, Rubio surveyed the scene to discover a career opportunity. Perhaps he’s every bit the ambitious lightweight that his critics make him out to be. Maybe he’s too enchanted by the antigay rhetoric or too cowardly to say otherwise.
But somebody has to. Not just for our sake, though dampening the hateful language could end some of the hateful acts against us. But also for the Republican party’s sake. Every other major conservative party in the Western world is perfectly fine with us. It’s only the fringe extremists who are not.
Until some Republican leader can step forward and break the grip that hatred has on his or her party, the GOP is condemning itself to remaining on the fringe and watching its future slip away.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore