American Proscenium

Santorum, the Supreme Court, and Sodomy

Sen. Rick Santorum is the latest Republican political leader to walk down Trent Lott’s trail of tears.  Why do Republicans continue to make these gaffes?  Most politicians, after all, have spent their entire lives since elementary school telling people what they want to hear, and they ought to realize that the power they hold in their hands does not belong to them: Political power is a p.r. creation, a gift from the media, a will-o’-the-wisp that can be dispelled the first time they step out of line and speak their minds.  Why do they never learn?

If Trent Lott’s sin was to persist in thinking that a Mississippian did not have to repudiate the South and all it stood for, Santorum’s sin was to believe that he might articulate the moral attitudes held by most Americans until nearly the end of the 20th century.  Even during the Carter years, the very concept of “gay rights” evoked mirth even from liberals.  Even though most Americans still recoil from the notion of gay rights, it is now the public consensus, watched over by homosexual-advocacy groups and policed by the media.

Senator Santorum’s fatal gaffe was his comment on a Texas case before the Supreme Court.  Two men, convicted of sodomy according to Texas law, were basing their appeal on the right to perform sexual acts within the privacy of a home.  Santorum, known for making off-the-cuff statements,...

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