8th District Republican Candidates Brag about Gay Bashing

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.

20 thoughts on “8th District Republican Candidates Brag about Gay Bashing

  1. Pingback: La Rive Droite : Post Politics: Political News and Views in Tennessee

  2. Pingback: Ron Kirkland Comes Out Against Unisex Bathrooms | Speak to Power

  3. You read that in a way completely different from me.

    When I read at Newscoma’s site the quote about 50 guys sleeping on top of one another I thought it was an admission. So along with the manpiles I figured when he said “We took care of them” he was just being a good buddy.

    I guess by your interpretation he’s trolling for least common denominator votes…but I prefer to believe it was a coming out statement.

  4. Aunt B. – Were you there? Do you know the context of the rest of the quote? Are you even interested in the facts, or do you want to hide behind this blog and attack people of character by trying to make a comment something it is not?

    I know this man personally, and your attempt to tie a statement of fact (that gays are targets in the military) to his personal belief of gay people (assumed by you to be anti-gay) is both reckless and damaging to a good man’s character. He DOES have gay friends – and way beyond politics, your misinformation about his views is highly damaging to very personal, real life relationships. Your attempt may only be to cause personal turmoil for others (I admit that this is my first visit to your site), but I hope not.

    The question was about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. Kirkland stated the reality that openly gay people in the military aren’t treated well. He didn’t say he agreed with it. IN FACT, he said that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” helps protect gay people from any form of bashing – something he said he is adamantly against!!

    I have not served in the military (maybe you have), but I would tend to agree that the more openly gay a person is that the more hazing they would probably receive. While I don’t agree with the hazing and think it’s despicable, these are 18-22 year old living in tight quarters. Hazing (whether related to gays or not) is an uncontrollable reality.

    Are you saying that no one should say out loud that “Gay people in the military are hazed”? What is wrong with facts? John Adams said that they are “stubborn things”.

    Are you suggesting that we should not have any serious conversations about the facts? Are meaningless sound bites better? Should we just stick to that in all public discourse?

    I hope that experienced people like Dr. Kirkland are elected so that compassionate policies founded in real life experience can be promoted in Washington.

    I apologize for the lengthy response, but unnecessary misinformation about Dr. Kirkland is very damaging to him and to others. I thought it important to try to insert some truth into this conversation.

  5. No, you know what’s damaging to others? Joking about gay bashing, joking about folks in the military just “taking care” of gay people.

    That nonsense is damaging.

    If Kirkland’s reputation is damaged, good. Let me be clear — He was joking about criminally assaulting people. He even said so to Nicholas Beadle–that it was a joke.

    Don’t be outraged at me. Be outraged at this supposedly “good” man who thinks it’s funny to joke about assaulting and killing people.

    He damaged his reputation when he opened his mouth and spewed this shit.

    Don’t come after me like I’m the problem here. He said it. You take it up with him if you’re not happy about it. Don’t try to act like it’s my fault for telling folks what he said.

    You tell me where the compassion in joking about people getting beat up and killed is, because I’m not seeing it.

  6. The only truth to be told is that he suggested that gays in the military had a good old-fashioned beat-down coming to them.

    I hope to God that such a position *will* damage Kirkland’s political fortunes in the state.

  7. I also want to be very clear that any discussion about what to do about “group x” that doesn’t include any people who belong to “group x” is not public discourse. It’s cowardice.

  8. “…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. ”

    From Bob Altemeyer’s book, “The Authoritarians”:

    “As I said earlier, authoritarians’ ideas are poorly integrated with one another. It’s as if each idea is stored in a file that can be called up and used when the authoritarian wishes, even though another of his ideas–stored in a different file–
    basically contradicts it. We all have some inconsistencies in our thinking, but authoritarians can stupify you with the inconsistency of their ideas. Thus they may say they are proud to live in a country that guarantees freedom of speech, but another file holds, “My country, love it or leave it.” The ideas were copied from trusted sources, often as sayings, but the authoritarian has never “merged files” to see how well they all fit together.”

  9. Hey LGTFS – I am in the military and DADT is all about the witch hunt. It does NOT protect gays. It forces them to hide an important aspect of themselves.

    If DADT was repealed gays would at least be able to fight back against those who are targeting them with the law at their backs.

    I imagine it would wind up being rather like race was when I was growing up as a military brat. No one gave a fuck what color you were. Everyone puts on the same uniform and the ones who insisted on being assholes got the hammer dropped on them via the military non-judicial punishment and legal systems. If you broke a rule and were a blatant racist it wasn’t the POC who was kicked out. It was the racist, for being a detriment to good order and discipline.

    In addition, having gay friends does not justify one’s hideous stance that they don’t deserve to serve their country.

  10. To Let’s Get the Facts Straight – Don’t ignore the fact that Kirkland and Smith condoned violence. He said it. He owns it. And if it enlightens his gay friends to a different side of him, then so be it.
    Hammering at Aunt B. doesn’t erase what he said. She is just bringing it into the light, not hiding behind a “joke.”

  11. “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.”

    That’s a great line.

  12. I’m so tired of the fringe element always crying fowl.
    “That was racial profiling.”
    “You’re gay basin.”
    “You believe in killing animals, you are a murderer.”

    Shut the hell up people.

  13. No shit. How do they get those gay people in those tiny pipes anyway? Clearly, it’s an urban legend.

    And you know what they say about those urban people…

  14. redneck: “They were dealt with” in reference to gay people in the military is pretty clear language saying they were hurt/killed/driven out of the force for being gay.

    That’s gay bashing. literally. You might want to think for just a half second before typing a comment. I’m pretty sure that you can get it.

  15. Aunt, I was at the event and immediately after his now infamous statement, Dr. Kirkland pointed out that discrimination or violance towards homosexuals in the military is not okay and that he was totally against it. However, this part of his statement failed to be reported. But I promise you that he said it.

    Second, the whole “it’s a joke” thing, I think was a realization that what he said on stage could have been really the wrong way, as it obviously has, and was a quick, albeit not thought out, attempt to soften what he had said. Consider it a gaffe. After a full day of campaign activities and being grilled on stage for two hours straight, this response flew out of the mouth at 9:30 at night – you’ve never put your foot in your mouth, right?? Thought so ;)

    That’s all I am going to respond to because the rest of what you wrote is completely outlandish, basisless, and seemingly, nothing more than a crack-induced overreaction.

  16. J.D.

    There is nothing redeeming about either candidate’s comments. Even if it were a ‘joke,’ which is as thin as an Olsen twin on crack, it was unforgivably stupid to go there.

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