Last week was a rough one for Carl Paladino, New York’s Republican candidate for governor. In a speech to a group of Jewish leaders, he made several controversial remarks about gay people. He said that our children were being brainwashed into thinking homosexuality was acceptable and he criticized Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic candidate for governor, for marching in a gay pride parade.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Paladino refused to back down from these comments, going on the morning talk show circuit to continue his campaign strategy of saying things that make him sound ignorant. He said on the "Today" show last Monday that children should be kept far away from gay pride parades because they feature scantily-clad men "grinding at each other and doing these gyrations." Paladino has sinced apologized for these comments.
I found these comments hilarious and sad at the same time. They were funny because the language Paladino used made him sound like Dana Carvey’s Church Lady character from "Saturday Night Live." Even funnier is the story that came out later in the week. According to several media outlets, Paladino was the landlord for two gay clubs in Buffalo that are run by his nephew. So a large gathering of gay men is immoral…unless they pay rent. Congratulations Carl, you are a hypocrite.
By the way, have you noticed that most of these homophobic politicians turn out to be gay or connected to the gay community?
I find these comments sad because it is 2010 and we still have to deal with people like Carl Paladino and Newt Gingrich, who said last year that there is a "gay and secular fascism" and they will use violence and harassment to impose their will on America. It’s one thing if it was still 1950 and nobody knew any better, but it’s mind-boggling that in 2010, we still have the kinds of people who think gay people are building an army of children and that "Brokeback Mountain" is comparable to "Triumph of the Will" in terms of overt propaganda.
I never understood the whole gays-are-brainwashing-children-and-want-to-take-over-the-country theory. There are two major fallacies at work here. First, it’s just plain ridiculous. This is the real world, not "1984." Just the thought that gay people are using children to advance their agenda is pretty moronic.
Second, let’s pretend they really are building a child army of some sort. Let’s be honest; an army of kids isn’t a threat. This is the United States. We have the most powerful military on Earth. Kids are stupid, even under mind control. Who do you think will win? If gay people were really trying to build a nation based on their "agenda," I think they would create an army that would give America a fair fight. That’s just a hunch.
I’ve said a lot about this issue, but I keep mentioning it because homophobia has moved away from built-in ignorance to stupidity so enormous that it’s bordering on psychosis. It’s one thing if the average person has this kind of prejudice (and if they do, they need to get over it), but people who hold office in this country need to expand their horizons, face the facts and drop their delusions. Politicians should be smarter than that. Sadly, that is still wishful thinking. People like Gingrich say that the American people as a whole don’t support homosexuality. He may be right, but he’s forgetting the greatest lesson you learn in life: people are stupid. That’s why we have courts and equal rights instead of just voting on everything. The Founding Fathers understood that people are stupid; that’s why we have a Senate and not just a House of Representatives.
What America needs, on this issue at least, is a large dose of enlightenment and common sense. People like Carl Paladino lack both.