For the last month, the loons competing for the chance to lose to Barack Obama in next year’s presidential election have been running around Iowa campaigning, and because the GOP base is what it is, they’ve been working their hardest to prove that they each deserve the title of America’s Greatest Bigot. It’s sad that this is what’s now being reported out of Waterloo, Michele Bachmann’s hometown:
A brutal fight that claimed the life of a Waterloo teen started with taunting, witnesses said.
Police confirmed that 19-year-old Marcellus Richard Andrews was officially pronounced dead at about 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Relatives and acquaintances said he died after being removed from life support at an Iowa City hospital.
“It’s just not fair,” said friend Nakita Wright. “I don’t wish that to happen to my worst enemy.
She said the problems started at about 12:45 a.m. Friday when she and Tudia Simpson, her cousin, went for a walk down the street. Andrews opted to stay behind, waiting on the enclosed porch, she said.
The two women hadn’t made it as far as Adams Street a block away when they heard yelling back at the house. They ran back and found a truck stopped in the street, and the occupants were taunting Andrews, calling him “faggot” and “Mercedes,” a feminization of his first name, Simpson said.
It does seem that the victim knew his attackers and that there was history there. It also seems that, despite what some in the Waterloo police department are now saying, there was a significant amount of anti-gay bias involved.
What does this have to do with Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and the other has-beens competing with them? We certainly don’t believe that Michele or Rick would advocate for violence of this sort against gay people, but they participate in verbal violence against LGBT people every single day. Moreover, every Sunday in every town in Iowa, bigoted, backwards religious leaders take to the pulpit and participate in the same sort of verbal violence against gay people. The end result of that is a climate where, sometimes, and tragically, an event like the one reported above will happen. Political and religious leaders who daily demonize an entire minority population help create the environment where, once in a while, a young guy will get beaten to death while his attackers call him a “faggot.” It’s truly perverted and sick that these politicians and pastors do this while claiming to defend “traditional family values.” But then again, it’s nothing new: conservative religious movements over the course of history have always had the most blood on their hands.
The good news is that the anti-gay beliefs of Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and their ideological cohorts at hate groups like the Family Research Council and the American Family Association, are no longer socially acceptable; the majority of the population finds them abhorrent. But we’ve still got a ways to go before people like that are remembered, simply and disdainfully, like the slaveowners of old, as a stain on America’s history. That time will come, but until then, light a candle for Marcellus and speak out loudly every time an anti-gay politician or a yokel pastor injects hate into the discourse.