Democratic Underground  

Rick Santorum's Sweeping Social Reaction
May 7, 2003
By Joanne Murphy

Lately Sen Santorum (R-PA) has gotten a lot of controversial press over his remarks in a recent AP interview. In the interview he made some colorful comments comparing gay relationships to bigamy, bestiality and a host of other questionable practices.

But buried in the AP transcript was the face of a GOP far more sinister and extreme than one that would simply criticize consensual same-sex relationships. By focusing only on what Santorum said about gays, and allowing the GOP to defend him purely on that basis, the mass media has done the nation a disservice: it has helped to obfuscate the facts of exactly how extreme Santorum's views really are.

Unfortunately, a great number of Americans still are not ready to embrace gay rights - particularly, I presume, the ones who comprise the GOP base. But take a look at what old Hardwick Rick actually says:

"...And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does. It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn't exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution, this right that was created, it was created in Griswold - Griswold was the contraceptive case - and abortion. And now we're just extending it out. And the further you extend it out, the more you - this freedom actually intervenes and affects the family. You say, well, it's my individual freedom Yes, but it destroy's the basic unit of our society because it condones behavior that's antithetical to strong, healthy families. "

Many Americans are not old enough to immediately "get" the Griswold reference The 1965 Griswold vs. Connecticut decision gave married couples in this country the legal right to access birth control. Apparently, Rick thinks this decision was a mistake. When I read this, my heart stopped. "Geez Louise," I said to myself. "If this guy's got a problem with Griswold vs. Connecticut - what does that mean for us? Exactly how far back would he like to see the country taken?" The seventeenth century, perhaps - with pillories in the public square?

It has become a GOP mantra lately to remind us all that there is no "right to privacy" explicitly guaranteed by the Constitution. Well, explicitly, no - but the Supreme Court knew that in 1965 just as anyone who can read, knows it now. The esteemed Justices of that day, after deliberating, concluded in a 7-to-2 ruling that there was an inherent right to privacy which would subsequently grant Americans the right to make private decisions about their birth control and sexuality outside the purview of government surveillance and regulation. Stating over and over again that "there is no right to privacy in the Constitution," then, is merely fatuous and ignores the role of the Supreme Court in interpreting the law. Must we all now be Constitutional "Fundamentalists" as well as Biblical Fundamentalists, to please the Republican Party?

The Constitution also does not explicitly guarantee the right to digital cable. Does that mean it's okay for it to be outlawed? The notion that one is only entitled to the rights explictly guaranteed by the Constitution is a dangerously narrow and fascistic interpretation of our body of laws.

All due respect to the gay rights issues notwithstanding - it is crucial that Americans are made aware that Santorum's cultural views are far, far to the right of what would be generally accepted cultural thought in this day and age. Even if many Republicans would not argue in favor of gay rights, I think precious view of them would agree with Mr Santorum that married couples should not have the right to legalized birth control.

This is part of a pattern of the GOP working to conceal the extremism of much of its party while attempting to present a "moderate" mask to the nation. Even if one buys the flimsy argument that they should have the right to this kind of deception - and I certainly don't - the media should not be their handmaidens in this dangerous charade.

Printer-friendly version
Tell a friend about this article Tell a friend about this article
Discuss this article
Democratic Underground Homepage