Recently, a strange man appeared on campus with an even stranger message of fire and brimstone. He stood outside the Student Center and told us we would all go to hell for our indecent lifestyles unless we repented and found God. I was proud to take part in the protest against this crazed zealot, for reasons that bear repeating because they are so vitally important. First and foremost, I am proud to stand in solidarity against homophobic bigotry. But there is another reason I am compelled to speak out: because I want it to be known that the voice of the crazed zealot is not the representative voice of the American Right. I am a staunch Republican who voted for John McCain. I supported Guantanamo, the Patriot Act, and the War in Iraq. But I can’t support bigotry, and I am sickened when men like the crazed preacher spout it in such a way as to make it seem representative of my party.
I see the Tea Parties on the news, with protesters showing up by the tens of thousands to cite legitimate grievances against their government. I hear the pundits denounce them as racists; they say we are rioting because we cannot accept the authority of a black president. I hear this and I grow angry. When Bush was president, was I not told that dissent was the highest form of patriotism? Why am I now a racist for disagreeing with my government?
I ask myself, how do people get these perceptions that the rank-and-file of the Republican Party is racist, sexist, and anti-gay? Then I see the crazed preacher spew his hate, and I see how easily misperceptions get started. So I wish to make it known: this madman does not represent us. The average Republican is not a bigot. The average Republican is repulsed by the vitriol put forth by fundamentalist homophobes, and will stand against it when confronted. We are not racists. We are not homophobes. We are not bigots.