Rush Limbaugh - a thrice divorced study in misogyny - who is a sycophant and cheerleader of Donald Trump (another man who cares little about the sanctity of marriage) recently attacked Pete Buttigieg and maligned his marriage to his husband. This after Trump awarded Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom, thereby severely denigrating the value of the award. In doing so, Limbaugh - and by extension Trump - clearly was pandering to the anti-gay Christofascists who, along with white supremacists make up the core of Trump's base. The entire episode underscores the continuing evil of homophobia and hate based religion belief that continues to foster it. A piece at CNN reminds us of the work that needs to be done to rid the world of the evil of homophobia and those who continue to fan the flames of hate and bigotry. Here are highlights:
This week lawmakers in Iowa are debating whether a teacher can say "Pete Buttigieg is gay" in the classroom without first notifying parents. I wish I were kidding but I am not.
The bill, which was introduced by 13 Republicans and advanced to the full House Education Committee on Monday, would require that lessons touching on the topic of sexual orientation or gender identity first be approved by parents, who would then have the option of sending a note to the principal excusing their children from class. It's the kind of story that supports the uncomfortable truth Rush Limbaugh spoke of during a homophobic rant he delivered on his radio show Wednesday, a week after Melania Trump hung a Presidential Medal of Freedom around his neck. Limbaugh mused about the discomfort some voters would experience watching Buttigieg kiss his husband on the debate stage, especially if he's standing next to, as he put it, "Mr. Man, Donald Trump."
As offensive as Limbaugh's remarks about Buttigieg were (and as ironic as his holding up Trump as the epitome of manliness were, considering it was the gay dude who volunteered to fight for this country and the straight one who pleaded "bone spurs"), the reality is homophobia is not theoretical. As the lawmakers in Iowa are showing, it is actively practiced. There will be people who will see Trump's many alleged infidelities (which he denies) as well as his well-documented bullying as quintessential masculine behavior and will dismiss Buttigieg's levelheadedness and affection toward his husband as effeminate. And because homophobia is ultimately an extension of misogyny — that is, to be female is to be less than a man — some of the same prejudices that women seeking the highest office face also plague Buttigieg. That doesn't mean fair-minded people should placate homophobes, misogynists and or racists to win an election — although that does happen. It only means that when a loudmouth like Limbaugh spews his vitriol, people should not be surprised. Remember, he would not be a millionaire if a significant number of people didn't agree with him. So, the question isn't whether or not we should chastise the blowhard messenger, it's what are we doing to challenge the hateful message? Prejudice did not go away. The people who listen to Limbaugh did not and will not go away. This is not meant to conflate supporting Buttigieg with fair mindedness. Only to remove who he loves off the list of reasons to not vote for him. Limbaugh recently revealed he was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. He may survive it. He may not. But one thing for sure is the attitudes of those who delight in his hateful speech will remain.
So be mad at Limbaugh all you want. Just know there is a difference between how things are and how things should be. The bridge between the two is not constructed from denial and despair but rather acknowledgement of the enemy — in this case, it's prejudice — and a determination not to allow it to prevail.