Which-word-don’t-you-understand? Dep’t

Kennedy: “The Republican leadership is asking us to spend time writing bigotry into the Constitution.”
Hatch: “Does he really want to suggest that one half of the United States Senate is a crew of bigots?”
Why, yes.

From the debate over the anti-gay-marriage amendment:

“The Republican leadership is asking us to spend time writing bigotry into the Constitution,” said Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, which legalized gay marriage in 2003. “A vote for it is a vote against civil unions, against domestic partnership, against all other efforts for states to treat gays and lesbians fairly under the law.”

In response, [Orin] Hatch fumed: “Does he really want to suggest that over half of the United States Senate is a crew of bigots?”

Ummmm … yes.

Yes he does, and yes they are.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

10 thoughts on “Which-word-don’t-you-understand? Dep’t”

  1. …and no, this should not come as a big surprise. Remember slavery? The disenfranchisement of women? Jim Crow laws? Segregation? There is, sadly, *absolutely nothing surprising* about large numbers of Americans being bigoted. I'm sure that even Hatch would have to agree with this upon a bit of reflection.
    The good news is that we've repeatedly shown that we can get over it.

  2. Moving back to Louisiana and the deep south after many years away has been an eye opener. The racsim is so noticeble that I am surprised that they do not have signs in the windows of shops telling certain people to stay away.
    Yes, half of America is bigoted, and our President is one of them.

  3. Except that in the end, it wasn't quite over half, Senator Hatch.
    So perhaps there is reason to be encouraged.

  4. I think it's sort of unfair to say that "half" of America is bigoted with nothing but your own anecdotal evidence. First, you are obviously equating red state with racism. Not everyone that is non-liberal is racist. Second, there is the problem of what is racism. If you take the attitude that any remark that suggests the least bit of prejudice is racist, then you will obviously find a lot of racism. It sort of depends on how high or low you set the bar.
    Now, I'm not suggesting that what you saw in Louisiana was not racist. I'm sure you have seen a lot of true racism. (I grew up in the South, so I know about that.) My point, though, is that when you say x number of people are racists, it depends on what your standard for racism is. IMO, racism is more or a continuum than an absolute state. There are people that may be prejudiced about Jews, for example, but don't necessarily hate them. I found that growing up. And I think there is a big difference between that and the kind of virulent racism that you saw in the sixties, for example. It's not just a difference in degree. Lots of people have stereotypes to one extent or another about groups but I wouldn't necessarily call them racist.

  5. How about this:
    Less than half of America is bigoted against minority races.
    More than half of America is bigoted against homosexuals.

  6. Marriage for gays?
    What can they possibly produce? And isn't that why we get married? To reproduce and propogate the human race.
    Here is the word again, just in case you didn't understand it the first time: NO!

  7. Look at it logically. It's not a matter of what families can 'produce'. Are you outraged that infertile couples are allowed to marry?
    I'm guessing no.
    I keep hearing that argument and it hasn't gotten any less stupid than the last time.

  8. My wife and I didn't get married to propogate. We have not reproduced, nor do we plan on doing so.
    Should the state revoke our marriage?
    And I'd have to agree with Ned that most of America is homophobic to some degree. There's a significant minority that is virulently homophobic, and this is a pretty close parallel to the situation with racism.
    In the 1950's, we integrated schools and legalized mixed-race marriages. This was done by legal fiat, not popular demand, and much of the country fought these changes tooth and nail.
    That's about where we are with regard to homophobia today: stuck in the 1950's.

  9. Just to herd us, late, back on point — nobody suggested that more than half of America is bigoted. Kennedy called the Republican leadership of the U.S. Senate a crew of bigots, and Orrin Hatch did some sleight-of-hand to imply that every Republican Senator is a memboer of the leadership.

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