Bachmann and Santorum spark furor over slavery, "family values"

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WASHINGTON - How much slack are voters likely to cut Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum for signing a racist, gay-bashing "family values" pledge as they pandered to the bigots in their campaigns for the Republican presidential nomination?

Bachmann and Santorum backpedaled furiously when the media exposed a clause in the pledge proclaiming "sadly, a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African American baby born after the election of the U.S.A.'s first African American President."

Incredibly, that clause ignored one of the most genocidal practices in chattel slavery, the systematic selling of mothers, fathers, and the children on the auction bloc, a form of legalized abduction that smashed families - often forever. The practice was so atrocious that in some states, after the abolition of the African slave trade, "slave breeding" became a hugely profitable, if loathsome, enterprise.

Harriet Beecher Stowe immortalized slave mothers' fightback in "Uncle Tom's Cabin," depicting Eliza fleeing across the ice floes of the Ohio River with her child who was slated to be snatched from her and sold down the river.

Equally racist is the pledge's attempt to pin blame on President Obama for the devastating economic crisis of mass unemployment and poverty inflicted on African American families  by 35 years of "first fired, last hired" discrimination in the "trickle-down" economics initiated and implemented mainly by the Republican right.

Titled "The Marriage Vow - A Declaration of Dependence Upon Marriage and Family" and authored by a far right Iowa outfit called "The Family Leader," the clause extolling the benefits of slavery for Black families ignited such outrage that Bob Vander Plaats, head of the group quickly deleted the clause.

But Bachmann and Santorum should not get off so easily. They claim they didn't read the "marriage vow" before signing it. This begs the question: Is the pledge really any better with the racist clause stripped out? The fact that it was removed only after a firestorm of protest suggests that it was done not out of a change of heart but rather to assuage that mass indignation.

Rival GOP contender Mitt Romney refused to sign the pledge. And former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, said he would sign no pledges of any kind during the campaign.

Bachmann and Santorum enthusiastically endorse the rest of the pledge that commits the signer to oppose all measures aimed at recognizing equal marital rights of gays, lesbians, bisexual, and transgender people.

This runs counter to the clear trend across the nation in upholding equal marriage rights, most recently in Massachusetts and New York.

Bachmann, as the clearest threat to GOP frontrunner Romney, is getting the most attention for her gaffe-prone campaigning. Critics are remembering her blast at the NAACP last year when the civil rights group assailed "racist elements" within the tea party, citing videos showing tea partiers spitting on African American lawmakers and screaming the "N" word as they walked through a crowd of rightwing hecklers on Capitol Hill. Bachmann, founder of the Tea Party Caucus, said she was "shocked" by the NAACP charges and demanded that they "back them up."

There is growing evidence that Bachmann is an anti-gay hatemonger. She has a longstanding, cordial, alliance with Bradlee Dean, a radio talk show preacher whose main focus is bashing Muslims and Democrats, but especially lesbians and gays. He was recently recorded on the air praising some "Muslim nations" that, he claims, execute gays and lesbians (as Adolph Hitler's Third Reich did).

Dean, who did not mention which Muslim nations engage in this practice, added, "They seem to be more moral than even the American Christians do because these people...know that homosexuality is an abomination...If America won't enforce the law, God will raise up a foreign enemy to do just that."

LGBT leaders are charging that the "Christian counseling" business, Bachmann & Associates in the Minneapolis area, run by Bachmann's husband Marcus engages in the discredited, if not outright dangerous practice of attempting to "cure" gays and lesbians, ignoring evidence that sexual orientation is "hard wired" into the human psyche. Psychologists warn that the concept of "curing" homosexuality is a form of stigmatizing that inflicts guilt, self doubt, depression, and even leads to suicide for vulnerable gay and lesbian youth.

R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, "an organization of Republicans who support fairness, freedom, and equality for gay and lesbian Americans," says Bachmann's gay bashing "will hurt her if voters see the Republican Party, if they see us, as intolerant and attacking a certain population of fellow Americans. It is not a winning strategy."

Photo: Chicago family, 1992. Doug Atkins/AP

 

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  • Bachman, Cantor, and their ilk need to be defeated. They are a poison in this country. If they could turn back the clock to 1860, they would.

    Posted by Ronald Humphrey, 07/20/2011 1:59pm (3 years ago)

  • Why would I vote for anyone whom takes the position that slavery was better than liberty?

    Posted by Larry Linn, 07/15/2011 7:41pm (3 years ago)

  • It is long past the time that the Log Cabin Republicans assail Bachmann for her hatred of gays and her willingness to sell out our US Constitution! Why are you sleeping??

    Posted by wayne, 07/15/2011 5:32pm (3 years ago)

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