Flowers: Why Santorum's values matter

Santorum, in Gettysburg on Tuesday announcing he will suspend his campaign. JEFF SWENSEN/GETTY IMAGES
Santorum, in Gettysburg on Tuesday announcing he will suspend his campaign. JEFF SWENSEN/GETTY IMAGES
Posted: April 13, 2012

A LOT OF PEOPLE were smiling Tuesday afternoon.

People who excel at irony and sarcasm, especially when writing about a certain breed of conservative.

People who think that talking about “good” and “evil” as if they were quantitative, tangible things is a sign of mental illness.

People who pretend to tolerate differences, but only when those differences don’t offend their own personal sense of fairness.

When Rick Santorum announced that he was abandoning his campaign at the most sacred site in Pennsylvania, you had the sense that there was joy in newsrooms and campaign headquarters and colleges across the Keystone State.

And when you read the comments to the article that appeared on in the moments following his announcement, there was confirmation, as if you doubted it, that Santorum might have had some friends in Pennsylvania. But they weren’t here.

Personally, I’m not smiling. Personally, I’m deeply saddened by this political turn of events. I would have voted for Santorum if I could have, but not being a registered Republican mooted that point.

Still, I was happy to see someone out there on the campaign trail who reflected my values and my vision, and who had the ability to stare down his ill-prepared critics with a simple weapon: the truth.

When they accused him of calling gay sex “bestiality,” he repeated the actual quote he’d made in context: “In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality,” he said. “That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing.”

I suppose that on the other side of the looking glass, where Alice frolicked and the Mad Hatter had tea, saying that homosexuality is not ‘“man on child, man on dog” actually means it is “man on child, man on dog.”

But as far as I know, there are only 50 states (57, according to President Obama) and none of them is called Wonderland.

When they accused him of wanting to ban contraceptives, he answered that although he thought they had a negative impact on society (and given the breakdown in the family structure, he’s not far from the truth) he would not impose that belief on the country. The mere fact that people tried to paint him as the Carrie Nation of prophylactics was another example of anti-Catholic bigotry hiding as tolerance.

When he tried to steer the discussion toward jobs and the economy, tried to describe his immigrant origins and his respect for the working class, tried to talk about his monumental efforts on behalf of AIDS funding in Africa and providing assistance to destitute women and children abroad, the people who hated the fact that we were wasting time talking about social issues kept … asking him about social issues.

The thing about Santorum was, he gave them answers. And the powers that be in the GOP who were hell-bent on unseating President Obama (a worthy goal) kept pulling out their hair in frustration because he was making it hard for them to win over independents. You know, the people who tend to use birth control and may engage in alternative forms of sex when the curtains are pulled.

Liberals, on the other hand, were quite happy to have him speak because they thought that he was their secret weapon, ensuring that they’d be able to keep their death-grip on women, racial minorities, the sexually diverse and people who hated even the slightest whiff of God.

And yet, liberals loathed what he stood for, because he held up a mirror to their flawed and flaccid characters and showed them that being tolerant of everything means you stand for very little.

Winston Churchill once said, “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”

Yes, it does. n

Christine M. Flowers is a lawyer. Email Blog

comments powered by Disqus