Point of View Columns

Truth and Consequences

In a few days the South Carolina presidential primary will be held for the G.O.Tea Party candidates. In politics during the Age of Obama the bizarre has become the ordinary and the ridiculous has become routine. Lies are now so commonplace that the truth is treated as a stranger. Indeed, truth is now stranger than fiction.
To prove a point, you are asked to read the following statements and try to determine which one is not true (no peeking allowed):

1. Mitt Romney has over 30 relatives who are Mexican citizens. Indeed, Mitt Romney’s father, who also ran for president, was born in Mexico. Nevertheless, Mr. Romney proposes to deport over 11 million undocumented immigrants, millions of whom are from Mexico.

2. Rick Santorum has built a career of taking right wing positions on social issues. He is on record as favoring a constitutional amendment that would make abortion illegal. Mr. Santorum is also in favor of making contraception illegal which would eventually entail making the possession of a condom a federal crime.

3. In light of continuing questions regarding President Obama’s birthplace (and citizenship), Donald Trump has demanded a review of the marriage license of President and Mrs. Obama. Pointing to the high rate of unwed mothers in the black community, Mr. Trump has stated the need to make sure that President and Mrs. Obama were actually married at the time of the birth of their two daughters.

4. Ron Paul and his son have both gone on record as questioning the need for the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Not a single one of the Teapublican presidential candidates has questioned or challenged this position.

If you chose #3 you made a good guess and you have probably been a frequent Point of View reader. However, an argument can be made that any of the other three items are too crazy to be true. But they are.

Mitt Romney’s grandparents were Mormon missionaries in Mexico when his father was born. A number of Mr. Romney’s relatives have been born in Mexico and over thirty direct relatives are currently residents and citizens of Mexico.

Despite this set of facts Mr. Romney has advocated a zero tolerance policy regarding undocumented immigrants which will ultimately translate into the forced deportation of over 11 million men, women and children. Aside from the irony of a nation built by immigrants (and presidential candidates who are the direct descendants of immigrants) taking such draconian actions against immigrants, there are only a few demented right wing of the right wing zealots who believe that such a policy could ever be enforced.

Rick Santorum’s fixation on the sex lives of every American is a matter of public record. His position against abortion can be respected. His desire to criminalize this most personal of medical decisions reflects unfounded moral superiority on his part.

His objection to contraception crosses the border of bizarre and goes into a very twisted territory. In Mr. Santorum’s view contraception encourages people to engage in sexual behavior that should be prohibited – whatever that means. That he would seek to criminalize possession of a condom or a birth control pill is pathetic – and supported by millions of men and women would seek to impose their will on the rest of the country.

Ron Paul has taken his libertarian philosophy to an extreme that absolves and excuses racism as a private act. His retrospective opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is vile and despicable as it reflects a sanitized view of American history. This is a view that recognizes segregation and institutionalized racism as being unfortunate at worst.

This is a view that simply erases the history of this country that included federal, state and local governments sanctioning the oppression and torment of black Americans simply because they were black. The civil rights movement was never just about drinking fountains and seating arrangements. Men, women and children risked their lives and died endeavoring to take a rightful position in this country, a position that had been denied as a matter of American history since the Constitution ratified slavery in 1789.

Shattered dreams and broken lives, fear and the burning shame of discrimination were the fuel that fed the fire of the civil rights movement. And while the Civil Rights Act has most assuredly not erased the stain of racism from the American fabric, civil rights legislation has most assuredly brought black Americans closer to the attainment of full citizenship.

The other Teapublican candidates have neither challenged nor questioned Mr. Paul’s position. That is the truth and that is a shame.

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