Are Words Of Hate Ever OK?

By Columnist Lewis H. Goldstein

Many of you will recall that in this year’s Democratic Primary there was an elected official running for higher office. He lost. During the campaign a video surfaced in which he condoned the government of Uganda which has extreme anti-gay laws. He also called for the election of more people from one religion over all others clearly rebuffing the separation of religion and state in this nation, state and city and sanctioning the dogma of one religion to be the law of this nation, state and city.

I find his statements and positions against same sex marriage, the right of gays to adopt and his position on the rights of women to be very wrong and distasteful and contrary to human rights. I also recognize his positive actions while in office including his support of a legal path to citizenship and his being in favor of animal rights. In the long run it is up to his constituents to decide if they want to re-elect him. I know how I would vote if I lived in his district.

My major issue is with other electeds and leaders who supported him and continued to support him after the video tapes became public. I have spoken to three of those electeds. I know them for years and I know that none of them are homophobic. They are progressive and support social justice. Yet, they refused to back away from supporting another elected who opposes equal rights for all. They related that they were friends of that elected and had worked closely with him. I know that if it surfaced that a close friend of mine with whom I had worked closely was exposed as a racist, as being anti-Latino, Islamaphobic, anti-Semitic, etc. I would immediately drop my support and of course any friendship with that person would end immediately. I imagine that the three electeds I am referring to would want me to do that and rightfully so.

Are we now getting to a point where words of hate and bigotry against some are acceptable? I hope not. As a gay man I expect all who support equal rights and social justice to demand that not only their group be free of words of hate directed at them but that all groups are defended in the same way. We would be in a sorry state if a person said “I will only condemn words of hate against my group’s race, ethnicity, culture, gender.” We need “One for all and all for one” in fighting for social justice for all.” Just as all of us hopefully would not support any candidate who supported Jim Crow laws or the apartheid laws in South Africa we should not support anybody who supports the government of Uganda, its philosophy of hate directed against gays and its extreme anti-gay laws.

What do you think?  I welcome your comments.

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