Santorum, Social Conservatives, and Sanity

Rick Santorum is one of the few candidates to whom I have a visceral reaction. It is not a pleasant one–less like the fluttering of puppy love than the nausea of seeing a man torture puppies. Santorum, who upset the Republican apple cart yesterday by scoring a win in three states, has revived what I had hoped was a dead campaign. He embodies nearly everything I have come to despise about Republicans. If he gains traction and wins this nomination, it will mark the sad and twisted victory of social conservatives in the 2012 race.

What is it about him? Rick Perry shared some of the same religious beliefs, but Perry was more of a carnival barker–hard to take seriously. He was goofy; Santorum is evil. Mitt Romney is wishy-washy; Santorum is steadfastly sinister. Newt Gingrich bloviates mindlessly; Rick Santorum spews focused hatred. The man is disgusting. He must be stopped.*

While the libertarian busies him/herself with figuring out how to leave others well enough alone, both progressives and conservatives occupy themselves with thoughts of how to make the rest of the world look like them. Unable to fathom that gays pose absolutely zero threat to them or anyone else, they spend endless hours working on mechanisms to influence something that should be left to the individual. Note to Santorum: Read the following sentence–twice. There is no reason for the state to have any say whatsoever in marriage. Were marriage a contract drawn up voluntarily among free individuals, you could spend your time figuring out how to block the KY** commercials with your DVR.

Worse is Santorum’s view on abortion. People who have not parked their brains on an abandoned road somewhere recognize that this is a monumentally tough issue. The rights of a new life have to be balanced against the rights of the woman carrying that new life. No answer I can give will satisfy more than one person–me, but I can tell you this. Something has gone horribly wrong with someone who says that a victim of rape must carry that pregnancy through. A woman is not a soulless vessel for the seed of a vicious misogynist. It is her decision, not Santorum’s. Santorum’s reassurance that his god has a plan to make everything OK may be the most revolting thing I have ever heard a politician say.

Our nation is not suffering because we have slowly, painfully recognized that gays and women should join the ranks of free individuals or that we have drifted from the shallow platitudes of Bible School to an understanding that people worship (or choose not to) in a thousand different ways. It is suffering because some of us cannot stand the thought that we rarely know what is best for others and even more rarely have any justification for imposing our wisdom on others.

The ranks of social conservatives who rally behind Santorum and his ilk are not likely to be as elated when the shoe is on the other foot. A socially progressive agenda can be imposed just as easily as a socially conservative agenda. Both sides need to remember that as November nears.

________________________________________

*Don’t EVEN think I mean anything other than through the peaceful process of politics.

**Not Kentucky–the other KY.

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About Terry Noel

I am an Associate Professor of Management and Quantitative Methods at Illinois State University. My specialty is entrepreneurship.
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One Response to Santorum, Social Conservatives, and Sanity

  1. Dick Richards says:

    Well said. I particularly like “The ranks of social conservatives who rally behind Santorum and his ilk are not likely to be as elated when the shoe is on the other foot. A socially progressive agenda can be imposed just as easily as a socially conservative agenda.”
    .
    I have tried to make a similar counterpoint on the Obama requirement that healthcare plans MUST provide contraceptive coverage. People in favor of such a thing need to look at what happens when the other side gets power.

    Like

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