The right to hate

The two young straight men who killed Matthew Shepard robbed him, pistol whipped him, tortured him, and left him to die, tied to a fence in remote, rural Wyoming. The man who found him the next day at first thought he was a busted up scarecrow.

Last night was the 11th anniversary of that hate crime.

Did Representative Louie Gohmert (R, TX) know thatwhen he attacked the pendingMatthew Shepard Hate Crimes Bill last night on the house floor? It would be interesting to find out, especially since Gohmert was there to speak on an entirely different matter. He was there to deliver a response to the floor speeches made during a special session convened to discuss the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), convened by Rep. Patrick Murphy ( D, PA).

“Screed” is a word best not used lightly, but it’s an accurate description of Gohmert’s rambling, blatantly hateful assault on the LGBT community. He started out by labeling the potential repeal of DADT as a “perverse… social experimentation” that would hold American soldiers hostage to an aberrant sociological agenda, gave props to Alan Keyes and Chuck Colson in the same breath, and went on to bring up the hate crimes bill, envisioning that the legislation would turn America into an immoral Nazi wasteland of pedophilia, necrophilia, and bestiality.

If you’re oriented toward animals, bestiality, then,
you know, that’s not something that can be used, held against you or
any bias be held against you for that. Which means you’d have
to strike any laws against bestiality, if you’re oriented toward
corpses, toward children, you know, there are all kinds of perversions,
[…] pedophiles or necrophiliacs or what most would say is perverse sexual orientations but the trouble is, we made amendments to eliminate pedophiles from
being included in the definition. […] But people have always been
willing to give up their liberties, their freedoms in order to gain
economic stability. It happened in 1920 and 1930’s. Germany
gave up their liberties to gain economic stability and they got a
little guy with a mustache, who was the ultimate hate monger. And this is scary stuff we’re doing here when we take away what has traditionally been an important aspect of moral teaching in America

Gohmert’s standing on the same rhetorical ground here as Virginia Foxx was when she described the notion that Shepard’s murder was a hate crime as “a hoax” during a House session when Shepard’s mother was present. She later excused her statement as “a poor choice of words.”

But Foxx and Gohmert aren’t really sorry. They’re never sorry for these kind of statements, or the resulting (understandable) outrage and media coverage. It’s how they do business, and the stakes here are high: their right to hate as they see fit.

12 thoughts on “The right to hate

  1. What? I mean … what?
    How do these people get elected to Congress? This guy isn’t even coherent. WHAT?
    I need a nap.

  2. First of all, what you describe is exactly what convinces me that we need “Hate Crime” laws.
    But, just as a utilitarian argument, DADT provides an avenue for blackmailing a soldier; it is a security breech.

  3. A.–
    and this is only four minutes of it. He also did some reading from the Bible, mostly Romans.

  4. I saw this jerk when flipping past C-Span in the (vain) search form something useful. Appalling. But, you know people like this are SOOOOOO projecting their own desires (experiences?) when they bring crap like this up.
    For a guy from what is arural red lean district (thanks Tom Delay), all I could think of when this guy was talking was how many sheep he might have violated on his way to an esteemed position in the People’s Congress.

  5. Well, Rep. Gohmert should know a bit about necrophiliacs.
    Anyone he’s ever had “relations” with would have to be a necrophiliac.
    Gohmert being brain-dead and all.

  6. Resulting outrage and media coverage? What media coverage? The real problem is that there isn’t enough media coverage.

  7. Everybody has a right to hate. (It’s a good thing, too, because so many of the anti-hate people are quite hateful themselves.) What you don’t have a right to do is beat up, torture, and kill people because you hate them. I’m not sure why this distinction is so hard for people on both sides of this issue to grasp.
    In fact, you shouldn’t even beat up, torture, and kill people you love. But that’s even harder, historically, for Christians to grasp. And why not? Their New Testament God of Love is the creator of Hell.
    Another reason, by the way, that I hate the rhetoric of diversity managers against “hate” is that it treats bigotry as something based in the emotions of individuals. It’s not. But talking about anti-racism, for example, entails talking about economics, class, who has the power in a society. Ditto for sexism. It’s so much safer, in institutional contexts, to blame the individual.

  8. I would argue, Duncan, that a US Congressman speaking in Congress about pending legislation doesn’t have the luxury of being “an individual.” Public servants using public forums and laws to enforce or spread their own bias isn’t legit. (yeah, obv. it happens anyway) Louie Gohmert the private citizen can jaw all he wants to his friends down at the hardware store about hating queers. As you say, he has that right. But Congressman Gohmert shouldn’t have the right to legislate based on his private feelings/religion/etc.
    And Sue, Maddow covered it last night and also promised some kind of special segment on Friday wherein Gohmert will apparently be ridiculed and scorned.

  9. Erm, virgotex, I’m afraid you’re wrong on several points. First, I presume that you have no objection to proponents of hate crimes bills and of civil rights enforcing and spreadingtheir own bias; if not, then you don’t really object to public servants using public forums and laws for that purpose, you only object to people with different biases than yours (or mine, to be fair). Second, members of Congress do have the right to say almost anything — they’re usually exempt from libel laws as I recall, when they’re speaking on the floor. Third, Gohmert was not speaking as “an individual” — he was pandering to his constituency.
    Maybe I should make something else clear. I am not arguing that people shouldn’t say nasty things about Gohmert, that he shouldn’t be held up to ridicule and contumely for the vicious things he said, that he shouldn’t be called a bigot or anything else you like. But I don’t think that when we do so, we shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking we’re doing so out of “love.” As I said (and take a look at GentillyGirl’s loving comment above), the people who agitate against “hate” are almost always big haters themselves. Hate is just fine; violence is not, whether or not it’s motivated by hate. (Is Obama’s violence against Afghan children, for example, motivated by hate? Who cares?) Yammering about “hate” is simply irrelevant as well as hypocritical.

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