The Spectacle Blog

Re: RE: Thoughts on Santorum & DADT

By on 9.23.11 | 4:37PM

I'm afraid David N. Bass misses the point of my critique of Rick Santorum's statement on DADT and the question from Stephen Hill which prompted it.

I challenged Bass' assertion that Hill's question was loaded. Bass begins his retort by stating he was approaching the question as a reporter and that as a reporter he would not have asked the question the way Hill did. But then Bass noted that Hill "isn't obligated to ask a fairly worded question." Yet I fail to see what was "loaded" about Hill's question.

The fact of the matter is that people were invited by Fox News and Google to submit questions to the GOP candidates and this is what Hill and thousands of other people did on a score of issues. One of those issues is DADT. The Obama Administration has repealed DADT so that otherwise excellent soldiers do not have to fear being thrown out of the military because they happen to be gay and lesbian. Should a Republican defeat President Obama next year, it is certainly a possibility that DADT will be restored. To borrow Hill's words it certainly would "circumvent the progress that's been made for gay and lesbian soldiers in the military." Given that Hill is a soldier serving in Iraq who happens to be gay, it is a matter certainly relevant to him and others in his situation. Bass might not have liked the question but it was certainly relevant and so was Santorum's answer.

Bass then reiterates his main point was that the debate audience was jeering Hill's question, not Hill himself. Yet I made no comment concerning the audience's reaction to Hill. My commentary was confined to whether Hill's question was loaded and to the merits of Santorum's answer.

With regard to Santorum's answer, Bass picks up on the issue of race and sexual orientation and notes from his personal experience how African-Americans do not care to have the aspirations of the gay and lesbian community likened to the struggle for racial equality. I am well aware of this dynamic. Indeed, as African-Americans in California voted for Barack Obama, they also voted in favor of Proposition 8 which deemed same sex marriage unconstitutional.

Notwithstanding this dynamic, Bass utterly misses the point when he states, "To equate a man having sex with a man being black is a stretch." My approach here is from a historical perspective. Santorum is arguing in favor of DADT on the basis that the U.S. military is no place for social experimentation. Seventy years ago, the U.S. military used that same argument in opposition to the integration of our armed forces. Santorum deserves to be criticized when he uses the sort of rhetoric justifying the prohibition of gays and lesbians from being in the military that was used to keep the armed forces segregated. Bass might want to familiarize himself with the history of the integration of our armed forces. So too might Rick Santorum.

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