In an earlier post, “A Rhetoric of Demonization and Exclusion” [https://academeblog.org/2013/05/23/a-rhetoric-of-demonization-and-exclusion/], I discussed the lunatic-fringe rhetoric of the GOP nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, Bishop D.W. Jackson. That post included a re-post of a post to Right-Wing Watch, which drew on public pronouncements by Jackson that have been reported in the print media or are available on video.
Writing for ThinkProgress [thinkprogress.org], Scott Keyes has culled the following tweets from Jackson’s rather prolific contributions to the Twitterverse. As might be expected, his rhetoric is not any less filled with blatant prejudice, dogmatic thinking, and demagoguery when it is even more extemporaneous.
I am going to be at the Justice Dept. on Monday speaking at a press conference opposing the Hate Crimes Law as anti-Christian bigotry.
6:55 PM – 13 Nov 2009
The President has proclaimed June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Pride Month. Well that just makes me feel ikky all over. Yuk!
8:34 AM – 3 Jun 2009
If Bill Clinton was the “first black President,” Barack Obama is the “first homosexual President,” based on their respective affinities.
10:20 PM – 10 Oct 2009
The homosexual movement is a cancer attacking vital organs of faith, family & military – repositories of traditional values.
12:25 PM – 12 Oct 2009
This “Christian” Pres. believes homosexuality is right and the Bible is wrong. He thinks he’s Pres. of Sodom & Gommorah! Or he’d like to be.
6:46 PM – 10 Oct 2009
By allowing open homosexuality, liberals have made clear that they are their own gods with their own morality.
11:24 PM – 19 Dec 2010
When you worship a human as if he were God, you always end up with a dead god ala Michael Jackson.
5:35 PM – 27 Jun 2009
Harvard endows first Gay, Les, Bisexual Transgendr Professorship. Named for Harvard Scholar who killed himself over Gay lover. What?
11:50 PM – 3 Jun 2009
Tony Perkins was disinvited as spkr at Andrews AFB because he opposed Obama promoting open homosexuality in the military. This the Gestapo?
3:08 PM – 26 Feb 2010
Frank Gaffney – Washgtn Times – wrote an excellent article on Obama & Islam. “First Muslim President?” Chk it out.
6:27 PM – 13 Jun 2009
Did you know that Obama appointed 2 “devout Muslims” to the Homeland Security Department? Email me at email@example.com I’ll forward it.
10:53 AM – 17 Nov 2009
I do not believe Obama is the anti-Christ. But “Christians” who follow Obama would probably follow the Anti-Christ. Are they Christians?
4:52 PM – 27 Sep 2009
Admittedly, for anybody willing to face the truth, Obama’s radical anti-American, anti-Christian ideology was apparent.
4:08 PM – 14 Jul 2009
I love America. I love God. I am black. Obama does not love America & does not love God. His being black is not enough!
11:37 AM – 14 Oct 2009
I don’t like to name call, but you have to be a disloyal idiot to stand with a foreign leader who condemning your own country and citizens.
7:39 AM – 21 May 2010
Are Obama & his admin anti-semitic? They bow & shake hands with every two bit dictator, but feel the need to come down on Israel?
2:29 PM – 14 Mar 2010
Scott Brown was sent by voters as the 41st vote against Obamacare. So Obama’s Marxist brigade decided “no more Senate votes.” Democracy?
8:06 AM – 21 Mar 2010
Obama was apparently suppressing a report debunking the global warming hysteria. Transparency? Sure! Like an iron curtain.
7:30 PM – 29 Jun 2009
Obama & comrades are totalitarianists. Their Unholy Alliance will destroy this country if we let them. Uprising in 2010 elections!
7:36 AM – 20 Dec 2009
Can we repeal the Demoncrats who are giving us economic, social & military degeneration? No. I guess we just have to cast them out at th …
11:11 PM – 19 Dec 2010
So to sum all of this up, President Obama is a totalitarian, Nazi, Communist, anti-semitic, anti-Christian, anti-American advocate of both Islam and homosexuality—as well as a Democrat.
The GOP defense of this candidate for Lieutenant Governor of a fairly major state seems to be basically that, in voting for a party’s ticket for the governorship of the state, no one bases a vote on the candidate for Lieutenant Governor.
And, perhaps, Jackson’s being on the ticket offers a useful contrast and, in effect, accomplishes the seemingly impossible by making the candidate for Governor, Ken Cuccinelli, seem even a few degrees less of a Right-wing extremist.
Of course, neither Cuccinelli nor Jackson probably considers himself an extremist. I make no claim to being a mind-reader, but their public pronouncements seem to suggest that they are absolutely certain that they are expressing mainstream views.
Of course, the underlying question would then seem to be why defending mainstream views would require such virulence.
Jackson certainly belives that one must be completely opposed to homosexuality or completely embrace it (though I am not sure what he would think that the latter position would entail beyond eternal damnation). Of course, almost all polarized arguments that seem to offer nothing beyond either-or options are spurious–are being framed in an expediently simplistic way: that is, very few issues truly present only either-or choices.
But, even a polarizing issue—and at this point, I can list a number of issues that I believe are much more polarizing than gay rights—allows for a number of less extreme positions. Huffington Post has just published a piece by Meidi Hassana that illustrates this point–“As a Muslim, I Struggle with the Idea of Homosexuality–But I Oppose Homophobia.” There is always unease in significant social and cultural transitions, and I think that it is helpful for people who are struggling with that unease to be honest about it. And as Hassan explains, there can be some very real costs to being so honest.
Hasan’s piece is available at http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/mehdi-hasan/as-a-muslim-struggle-with-idea-of-homosexuality_b_3306168.html