Every now and again, in the increasingly firehose-like flow of data that is our modern 24/7 internet information-delivery system, I still run across a story that simply demands to be read a second or third time, and remarked upon. This is one of those stories, because it very clearly gives a peek behind the curtain of what America is facing in the tea party:
Given how savagely anti-gay the mainstream Oklahoma Republican party is, it’s no surprise that the state’s Tea Partiers are so rabidly hateful that they come across more as dark satire than as serious bigots. To wit: This week, an Oklahoma magazine discovered that last summer, Tea Party state House candidate Scott Esk endorsed stoning gay people to death: “I think we would be totally in the right to do it,” he said in a Facebook post.
That’s right: stoning of gays, just like they call for in the Bible. In 2014 America. And yes, never mind the obvious retorts and debunkings of this man’s selective adherence to the Old Testament to justify his own bigotry – he assuredly wears “mixed threads” (wool and linen or cotton together, etc.), eats shellfish, etc. Those have become comically easy to do…and they have had no effect upon either the people they’re directed towards, nor the larger public consciousness. Such skewering may have served to lower tea party favorability ratings or make the average “non-political” person view the tea party skeptically, but it has done nothing to move the dial on how badly we need to reject this entire culture, politically.
A vote for the tea party is NOT a vote for “constitutional conservatism,” it is a vote for every dark, bigoted, medieval, previously-thought-extinct impulse in the American psyche. This kind of frank admission by a man who could very well be holding public office soon is rare enough that it deserves to be highlighted. Here is your tea party, folks. This is what the GOP made a Faustian bargain with to allow them to cobble together a coalition that could still be relevant in today’s world. This is the hateful lunatic fringe that has always existed but which, now that it has tasted what it feels like to sit at the table, clamors to dominate that table — or take all of the rest of us down with them – a la Jerad and Amanda Miller.
This is what we’re up against. And, like the line the Reese character delivers to a stunned Sarah Connor in the very first Terminator movie by way of trying to explain what she’s up against: “It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever…” – this is what we now confront. People like Mr. Esk feel their holy text tells them they are RIGHT to think and behave thusly, and in that, they are no different from the Taliban. Not one iota. There is no compromise with such ideology: it simply must be defeated. Period.