Saturday, September 24, 2011

Some additional notes on the booing...

After the presidential debate on Thursday night, I wrote a late night post about what I had personally witnessed regarding a few individuals who booed after a gay soldier's question to the candidates. The post got a lot of very passionate responses and has more comments than any other post on this blog.

I received criticism from those who felt I didn't condemn the booing strongly enough and from those who did not believe my depiction of what happened. As to the first issue, my apologies. As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, it was very late at night and my goal was to just write and publish my observations about the booing at the debate, not take the time to discuss broader issues.

So let me be clear: I absolutely, positively do not support booing a soldier for asking an honest question, period. I absolutely, positively do not support booing a gay man for asking an honest question, period. I strongly believe that the few individuals who booed were awful, classless, jerks. They were an embarrassment to my state, my Republican party, and all the wonderful people who worked so hard to plan the Presidency 5 events this week, and they should be ashamed of themselves.

And, for the record, I stated my opinion about DADT back in June 2010:
Sunshine State Sarah | Don't Ask Don't Tell = Hypocrisy + Liberal Logic
The standard arguments in favor of keeping the policy tend to fall into two categories: (1) concerns about sexual relationships causing drama among those serving together, and (2) the belief that gays in the military present some sort of security threat by endangering a unit's camaraderie or morale.
...The second concern is the one that really drives me bonkers.  If gays in the military are really a security problem, or a threat to a unit's morale, if they are really so "dangerous", then how can they magically not be dangerous anymore if they lie about it?  I cannot think of any other situation where the rule is that a particular prohibited activity is fine as long as you lie about it first.  
Is it OK if someone on the No-Fly List gets on a plane, as long as they have a fake ID?  Is it OK if someone opens a credit card in your name, as long as they've stolen your identity first?  Is it OK for someone to get a well-paid job, as long as they lie on their resume?  Of course not.  So if being gay is really, truly, a "threat" to morale, national security, or whatever, why do we allow them in the military if they lie about it?  Isn't dishonesty a threat to morale and security too?
Now, whether gays are really "dangerous" or "security threats" or whatever, count me among the skeptical.   I don't pretend to have life all figured out.  I certainly don't have all the answers and I cannot pretend to know how we really will be judged in the end.  I do see a distinction between certain radical liberal groups that advocate things like teaching graphic sexual information in elementary schools, and gay couples that just want to buy a nice little house in the suburbs and be left alone to live their lives.  I find myself unable to condemn anyone whose actions are motivated by genuine love for another human being. 

Now, regarding the skeptics: it was only a few individuals who booed. And I'll admit my 3:30 a.m. writing may have been a little inartful: "resonated" is much more accurate description than "echoed" for the effect of the concrete floor. And yes, even with the chairs and the people, the concrete floor was noisy. Another thing to remember is that the media were in a separate room, on another floor, and completely removed from the concourse space where the debate was held. Most of the press did not hear the debate "live" - they watched on video screens set up in the Google-sponsored media room:

Photos by Local 6 WKMG reporter, Lauren Rowe
In other words, the vast majority of the media who reported on the booing did not hear it live. Two people who were there live are Fox News' Megyn Kelly and presidential candidate Rick Santorum. Here's a video interview from yesterday in which they discussed the controversy:

Santorum: 'I Condemn The People Who Booed That Gay Soldier'

(Hat tip: American Power)

Note that Kelly confirms that it was only a few individuals and Santorum says he didn't even hear it. As I mentioned, the booing was about 100 yards from the stage. I've helped set up events like this and they often try to manage the acoustics in a way to minimize what crowd noise can reach the stage. 

Finally, I would like to address one of the comments from yesterday's post that really struck me, by a woman who listed her name as "Angie:"
I wish there was a home for me in the Republican party. Obviously, there is not. It ain't even about the booing. It's about the policy positions/platform and statements from the candidates themselves. How is the mother of a gay son supposed to feel at home with this bunch?
Angie, many Republicans agree with me, especially the younger generations. And there are differences between the candidates' positions on this issue. Even the candidates who are the most socially conservative, many of them are speaking from a place of wanting to promote happy, stable, healthy families, not judge anyone. I'm not willing to budge on the pro-life issue - I believe that abortion ends a life, and I don't see a way to "negotiate" that - but as I wrote last year, "I find myself unable to condemn anyone whose actions are motivated by genuine love for another human being."

I don't know where you live or how old you are, but I would invite you to check out your local Young Republican meeting or county's Republican Executive Committee meeting and talk to the people there and judge for yourself. I'll be honest, there are Republicans who believe that homosexuality is a sin and are opposed to gay marriage, but there are Democrats who believe that as well. If you'll allow me to just be bluntly practical for a moment, I spend a lot of time at Republican and conservative events, and the overwhelming focus is on the economy, the national debt, and out-of-control government spending. Gay marriage, DADT, etc. are simply not going to be factors in this election, and if we elect a new Republican president, he or she will have been elected by voters who are angry about the economy and the waste and corruption of the federal government. There just won't be any strong grassroots demand for turning back the clock on these issues.

So, for all my new readers, thanks for visiting my website, reading what I have to say, and sharing your thoughts. I hope I have clarified things a bit for you. Today is another busy day with the presidential straw poll and wrap up of Presidency 5. I'll post more updates later from all the events this week.


  1. Sarah,

    I respect your take on things, but the problem I have with Santorum's claim is that if you watch the original video it seems obvious that he does hear the boos. Seriously, I've watched the video several times and tried to interpret it in a way that doesn't involve Santorum hearing the boos, but I just can't do it. He should have just apologized for not saying something and left it at that, because now he seems like a liar.

    Disclaimer: I am a Republican who is currently supporting Romney, but I try to look at things fairly.

  2. I hate to tell you this but people have certain freedom of conscience so if they want to say homosexuality is a sin then so be it. I'm tired of people telling me what moral values I should replace mine with. I always thought we had a right to choose as individuals what we believe is moral or not so save the drama about the booing.

  3. My problem was not so much with the booing, 1 person or 100, it doesn't matter. What upset me is that not one person thanked Stephen Hill for his service to our country; therefore, not one person on that stage is deserving of becoming Commander-in-Chief.

  4. New reader here.

    Do not keep apologizing and explaining yourself. You have already condemned the morons who booed; you do not have to emulate Obama's apology tour and prostrate yourself, explaining/apologizing ever more profusely.

    Example -- I think Al Sharpton's a jackass, I have no use for him whatsoever, but ^from^ ^his^ ^standpoint^, he doesn't go around in sackloth and ashes atoning for -slash- explaining his misdeeds (which were many and egregious). He goes on the offensive and presses his point(s) all the more urgently. Rambling here . . .) I guess a good role model could be Governor Christie.

    If you're in the right, go for it; explain -slash- apologize ^once^ when/if appropriate (Reverend Al doesn't even do that, much to his discredit), and then move on, confident in your standpoint.

    Well-wishes . . .

  5. Sarah,
    I thank you for your thoughtful post and your condemnation for those who booed the solider. As a gay man, however, I take issue with your assertion that the Republican party is in any way gay friendly or even tolerant. You and your friends may personally not be homophobic, and that's great, but the Republican party is a good 20-30 years away from that. You said that some Democrats are against gay rights too, and that's true, but the overwhelming majority aren't, and the overwhelming majority of Republicans decidedly are. I could never look myself in the mirror if I voted for someone like Cain or Bachmann or Perry, all of whom have said despicable things about gay people.
    You claim that Republicans only care about the economy, but I know that's not true. Bush ran as a "compassionate conservative" and when the going got tough, launched an all-out war against gays in 2004 in order to get reelected. Obviously, this current crop who are even more socially conservative than Bush would do the same. (It also helps that I completely disagree with Republicans on the economy and their coddling of the rich and corporations as well).
    I know a lot of Young Republicans feel differently, but they're not running the show yet. Check back with me in another thirty years, and I might consider voting for someone with an "R" next to their name.

  6. On the original post re: booing, I put an example of how this DADT debacle could put lives in danger. There was no offensive language and I was not in the least insulting. IT didn't get published, apparently b/c it was not approved. Then the lady that publishes this blog goes out of her way to explain herself because she was browbeaten by over-sensitive 'gays' or pro-'gay' types. Political correctness has us cowering. And we honestly think we're going to win this country back?

    I have a question for the all the 'gay' rights people here: why is it so all-important to you that your sexual behavior be a part of public life? For when you decide to politically and publicly identify yourself by 'orientation', that's what you're doing. I also notice you love to throw the word 'bigot' around a lot. Aren't your views of traditional christians like myself bigoted and intolerant, seeing as how you apparently (through comments like those posted here, and through hate crimes laws, which many of you support) support the suppression and punishment of those who do not agree with you or your lifestyle? If you really want to be treated like everyone else, why don't you do like most people and keep your sex life private?

  7. Hi. The original post went viral and received tens of thousands of hits in a few hours and got over a 100 comments. The comment moderation system is not very high-tech right now and I'm thinking of changing it. Each comment sends me an email and I have a link to mark it as "Publish," "Delete," or "Mark as Spam." I tried my best to get the comments up but missed some, some were delayed, and I think some the software marked as spam without my input.

    In all seriousness though, I encourage you to start your own website. Then you can write whatever you like and not have to worry about me.

  8. Well, forgive me if I am wrong. IT is all too common to see such things happen as a result of PC, and you're certainly bending over backwards to accomodate the feelings of the 'gays'. I don't worry about you; you're entitled to do what you want. It served as a nice example of what can happen when people cower for PC. I worry about the readers. But that's fine. It's your party and you'll cry if you want to. I'm not the type to threaten to take my toys home. In all seriousness.

    Have a nice day.

  9. Oh, Anonymous. In case you're not aware, Hate Crime laws protect Christians too, and Christians are not in any way, shape, or form being oppressed in this county.
    To answer your question, it is important for me for my "sexual behavior" to be a part of my public life for the exact same reason it is important to you. We're both human beings, and we both like to share the details of our lives with those around us. And of course, no one on earth keeps their "sex life" private unless they're an international spy or something. Everyone is completely upfront and unashamed to admit that they have a spouse or boy or girlfriend. It's part of our everyday language. But people like you unfortunately hear someone man saying, "I went out to dinner with my wife last night" as simple small talk, while if a woman said the exact same sentence she would be "discussing her sex life". So unless you're advocating that heterosexuals shouldn't discuss their spouses or boy/girl friends in public, then you're holding gay people to a different standard than straight people. And yes, that's bigoted.

  10. Oh, and Sarah. The fact that people like Anonymous there out number people like you in the GOP by a factor of 10 to 1 is why I won't be voting for Perry or Romney next year.

  11. "you're certainly bending over backwards to accomodate the feelings of the 'gays'."

    1. Not sure why you put "gays" in quotes. What did you mean by that?
    2. I'm not bending over backwards or cowering or whatever. Just saying my opinion and critiquing where I feel people misstated or misinterpreted my words.
    3. I think I've made it pretty clear that I am not anti-gay. Not to overuse the cliched line "I have gay friends," but that's honestly where most of it comes from. I know for a fact that there are many gay people who are wonderful, good people. (And some of them are also conservatives!)

  12. I disagree with hate crime laws. If someone is murdered, it's wrong because killing a human being is wrong. The fact that the killer committed the crime because of racism, sexism, homophobia, or any other bigotry is relevant only in that it proves there was no justification for causing the death (i.e., not self defense or accidental).

    My life (as a white female) is NOT worth more or less than a man's, a Hispanic person's, a child's, a Buddhist's, or a gay person's.

    Same thing for any other crime where hate crime laws are imposed. If someone is assaulted or their property is vandalized, THAT is the crime, not the fact that the criminal wasn't just a criminal, but also a hateful bigot.

  13. I attended the Fox/Google debate and heard the boos in person. I can't defend the motivation of the individual(s) because, honestly, I don't know them. HOWEVER my own reaction to the question was that it was a cheap-shot ambush question worthy of a boo. As you said, "at Republican and conservative events, the overwhelming focus is on the economy, the national debt, and out-of-control government spending. Gay marriage, DADT, etc. are simply not going to be factors in this election." Exactly my point. Why was this question selected, and why was it presented in video from a DEPLOYED soldier?

    The off-topic QUESTION and the EXPLOITATION of a deployed soldier were heinous. The day after the debate, Megyn Kelly convinced Rick Santorum the crowd was booing the soldier, and he took the bait, as did many others.

    I'm a veteran and I was not offended by the boos. I truly believed Fox/Google posed an ambush question that EXPLOITED a deployed soldier immediately after DADT was appealed, without concern for unintended consequences so soon after repeal.

    Fox/Google could have presented the question in text or from a moderator, but decided to exploit this soldier. And we're all playing in this controversy they concocted.

  14. RTR, first of all, unless you have the statistics to prove that "people like anonymous" outnumber Sarah 10-1, you have no case.

    Second, to say that Christians are not oppressed in the U.S. is a contemptible lie, and your unwillingness to tell the truth is what keeps you out of the Republican party. If you had one ounce of honesty, you'd know a little bit about a law that forbids churches from advocating politics, the first amendment curtailment that occurs around abortion clinics, the persecution of the Boy Scouts, lawsuits, lawsuits, and more lawsuits, and this little thing called PC that keeps Christians in fear of mentioning what the Bible actually teaches lest a homosexual be offended.

    Third, RTR, anyone who makes their entire lives about their sexuality is both weird and abnormal. There are men and women who do this, but most people aren't obsessed with it. Homosexual men, however, are typically obsessed with it.

    Now just in general -- if you think that homosexuality is motivated by love, how many male partners does the average homosexual man have in his lifetime? That's the reality, right there, and not some made-for-TV "oh they are just like us" whitewash. Go and read what it's like for those in the lifestyle and get informed.

  15. Its amazing that you rely on a Fox employee's view that it was only one or two "jerks" to confirm your story. Really, no one even remotely credible was in that entire crowd?

  16. Hi Anonymous - I don't have to "rely" on a Fox employee. I stand behind my words and my recollections of the events, but regardless, a number of people have posted here who were at the debate and confirm my account. I don't feel it's necessary to get the dozen friends who were sitting near me to fill out affidavits to satisfy some internet troll, but some of them did post on their twitter/Facebook accounts.

    The truth is out there, it's just hard to see when you're blindly focused on your hatred for all things Fox News.

  17. @ In Russet Shadows, churches get to operate tax free in this country. If they advocate a political point of view, they are no longer a religious organization and instead a political organisation, and thus must pay taxes like the DNC, RNC, or any other political group. There is no "law" that forbids churches from advocating politics. They just have to be honest and admit they are a political advocacy group if they do so. And no, the Boy Scouts haven't ever been "persecuted". Complaining out the Boy Scout's discriminitory policies is not persecution. I also love how you take me to task for saying homophobes dominate the Republican party and then prove me right by saying gay men don't love each other and are obsessed with sex and their sexual identity. Why the hell would I ever vote for someone you voted for? It's ridiculous. And Christians are in fear of condemning homosexuality? Really? It seems to me they're quite open about their contempt for gay people. All the time, everyone. You people are far more obsessed with gay sex than us gays actually are.
    @Sarah, hate crime laws don't say a certain group's life is worth more than another group's life. If a gay man attacks and kills a straight person because he hates straight people, he will also be charged with a hate crime. The point of Hate Crime legislation is minimizing the risks that the criminals pose, not to say that any one group of people is more important than another. Like for example, a hired hit man who lies in wait to kill someone will get a harsher sentence than a junkie who accidentally shoots someone during a robbery. Similarly, if a man kills his neighbor because the neighbor slept with his wife, he'll get a lighter sentence than if he killed his neighbor because his neighbor was a Christian and he hates Christians. The reason is because he's far more likely to kill again if he killed for that reason. He's a greater risk to society than someone who killed in a moment of passion.
    And BTW, I believe you when you say that people shushed the men booing, but I don't believe Santorum when he said he didn't hear the booing. Gary Johnson already admitted that he heard it, so obviously they all did. The reason why they didn't say anything is that obviously the overwhelming majority of Republicans are bigots like Russet Shadows and condemning the booing would hurt their standings in the polls.


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