They say they never personally gay-bashed anyone. Smith goes so far as to say the following:
“I heard guys that said, ‘If there was a gay dude I knew about, he’d fall down the line or get pushed over’ … but I haven’t actually seen anything like that or seen a blanket party or anything like that,” he said. “… I’ve never known anybody personally to do that.”
So, not only did he never gay bash anyone, he doesn’t know of anyone who did. Kirkland’s people refuse to say.
But let’s remember how this whole thing got started–because someone at the debate asked a question about how gays in the military “drive up federal health care spending because gays live an extremely medically destructive lifestyle.”
The second that bullshit got spewed Kirkland, who, let’s not forget is a medical doctor, had a medical obligation to refute it. He did not. Instead, he joked about how folks in the military “take care of” gay people. And Smith concurred.
Let me just repeat–when faced with factual untruths (what we better know as lies), both Kirkland and Smith lied in return, in order to make a joke about violence against gay people.
Smith’s daughter is gay. People, what do you even say in the face of that?
I don’t know. This whole thing shows that Kirkland and Smith have an incredibly low opinion of our armed forces, basically saying that, if gays openly served, the military is too weak to successfully integrate them. This is just so patently false I don’t know how active duty folks or their families could vote for them. I don’t know how they’d dare look active duty folks in the eye after this.
Our service members wouldn’t follow orders? The military would fail to deal with rulebreakers appropriately? I mean, just how inept do they thing the current military is?
Just because you’re an asshole doesn’t mean everyone you perceive of as being like you is an asshole.
And Kirkland’s not apologizing because he hasn’t been asked.
Like gay people need to grovel before him before he’ll deign to apologize.
Jeez, good luck moderate Republican voters in the 8th. You’re going to need it.
Edited to add: I’m more and more bothered by the underlying assumption here. It’s one we talk about all the time, I know, but it’s so clear here that I can’t let it go by without comment. Kirkland and Smith think that men are monsters. They think that men who sexually desire other men would rape or molest men in the showers. They think that straight men could not be told not to bash their openly gay comrades. They think that, even if they don’t personally know of any men who’ve assaulted or killed gay men, that it’s a great joke to make at a political event because of course “everyone knows” how men are. They just can’t help themselves. They have to be violent.
Let me be clear. Being a man does not equal being a monster. We can expect more from men then monstrosity. Men who care about their families and who take care of their children and who live their whole lives without ever raping anyone or assaulting gay people are the vast majority.
And yet, the stereotypes we hear about men from men are filled with these monsters who cannot really be trusted to be a part of society.
It’s insulting and it needs to stop. It’s not good for anyone for us all to assume monstrosity is the norm.
A big ole hat tip to my friend, Matt, who introduced me to this song.
I’d like to assume this and this are mostly bravado, but who knows? Even if it is bravado, it’s disgusting–grown men, who want to make the laws that govern us bragging about committing violent crimes?
Tennessee, I ask you, even if you are uncomfortable about gay people, why would you elect anyone who wants to make the laws you have to live by who admits, openly, and with glee, that he’s broken criminal law and hurt other people? It’s like some disturbing game show, where you pick with violent bragging psychopath you want to think he’s better than you.
And let’s just be honest here–when it comes to publicly bragging about “taking care” of someone, there are only two reasons you would do that. Either you’re an evil jerk whose minister should introduce you to this guy, Jesus (I know, Jesus sucks compared to the parts of the Bible where you get to run around kicking the asses of people who are weak and vulnerable, but what can you do? When you called yourself Christian, I expected you to be trying to act like Christ. Bragging about beating up people who are different than you is hardly even trying to act like Christ.) or you are trying too hard to assure people that you’re not gay. People who are sure in their sexuality don’t act like this, you know?
I don’t know. I was going to go off about how men who behave this way are pretty much signally that they have issues and are extremely vulnerable to embarrassing, but hilarious, sex scandals (since they so obviously have some weird sexual hangups), but I’m sidetracked by the idea of how much it must suck to be a guy like this.
I know a lot of men, liberal, conservative, gun-nut, etc., and, while many of them might have been assholes as teenagers about people’s sexualities, once they got their own stuff under control–figured out what they wanted, who they wanted, their likes and dislikes, they became completely disinterested in whether some dudes, somewhere, off in the distance, were gay. By the time you get to be our age, if you’re still worried about who’s gay, it’s not about the gay folks.
I mean, not like it ever was, but really, if you are of legal drinking age and you find yourself obsessed with gay people and what they’re doing as a group, like if you think they’re undermining the military or looking to rape you at any second or leading politicians astray or what have you, it’s time for you to seek therapy. You are stuck in some conspiracy-theory level rut.
But when I read about guys like this, bragging about this stuff in public, I think this must be a very different way to approach sexuality from the guys I’m friends with. This is not an understanding of yourself based on what you like and who you love. It’s an understanding of yourself based basically on “hurt them, before they can hurt you. The person least hurt wins.”
And it’s not that I don’t think that’s one current of American sexual identity. There are a lot of people, of all genders, who move through the world interacting with sexual “partners” (and I use that term loosely with this dynamic) as if it is a struggle to see who can hurt whom first.
But its a sad way to move through the world. It cuts you off from real connection with the people you could love.
So, this whole thing nags at me. I find it really scary that these guys are sitting around bragging about assaulting innocent people, just because they know their audience will eat it up (and shame on you, audience, for eating it up, instead of seeing it for the evil it is). But I also find it really sad and gross, like these are people whose intimate lives must kind of be a nightmare for them and for others.
I mean, because, if not, if they are just imitating this level of fucked-up-ness? Because they think it will get them votes?
All the alternatives are sad and scary.
Edited to add: Holy god. As if it’s not bad enough that they sat around joking about gay bashing, afterward Ron Kirkland tried to claim it was a “joke” and that he has gay friends (and supposedly had them in the military) and that his condoning of violence against gay people SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN AS CONDONING VIOLENCE AGAINST GAY PEOPLE. I don’t even know what to say in the face of that. I mean, if this is even remotely true, if this goes beyond anything I’ve talked about in this post, and is now straight into evil territory.
I mean, imagine that you have an attribute, like maybe you’re a long-haired hippie or you wear those really tight jeans the kids rave about these days, or you’re gay, whatever, you have some characteristic that other people don’t like, and you heard the Republican candidates going on about how they hate those long-hairs or those kids with their tight jeans. If you think they don’t know anybody like that, you can make a case for them just being an asshole.
But when they tell you, “I have friends who have long hair” or “I have friends who wear their jeans way too tight” and then the joke about beating them up? It’s… I don’t know. I want to say “vile” but that seems like an insult to vile things. Kirkland thinks it’s funny to imagine someone kicking the shit out of his friends.
Or he somehow thinks it’s better if we believe he thinks the idea of someone kicking the shit out of his friends is funny rather than we think he’s condoning kicking the shit out of his friends.
And let me be very clear about something. The 8th District has seen the Westboro Baptist folks show up to protest a soldier’s funeral–Sgt. Dustin Laird. That kid wasn’t gay, but those evil fuckers didn’t care. The fact that he’d give his life for a country where gay people aren’t supposed to get the shit kicked out of them pissed them off.
It is not hyperbole to point out that last night, at the 8th District Republican debate, Ray Kirkland and Randy Smith aligned themselves with the Westboro Baptist folks–they are also upset that they live in a country where gay people aren’t supposed to get the shit kicked out of them. In a district where people know so clearly what people who hate gay people will do when motivated, because they’ve seen them at a soldier’s funeral, we’re supposed to believe that a little gay-hating for funsies is okay, that it’s just something soldiers do?
That we should all just be able to take a joke about a little gay-bashing?
Tell that to the people who had to protect Laird’s family from the gay bashers.
Edited to add, again: I don’t want you to think that I don’t think you can follow a link, but over at Speak to Power, they have a post that illustrates exactly what “taken care of” meant in the military when these two guys were in the military. This is what they were joking about.