April 23, 2003


Josh Becker

          The Senate's third-highest ranked Republican, Rick Santorum, R-Pa., is quoted today by the Associated Press as saying, "I have no problem with homosexuality -- I have a problem with homosexual acts." Maybe I'm stupid, but isn't that just like saying, "I have no problem with cats -- I have a problem with cat actions"? When cats act like cats, it drives me insane! Santorum goes on to elucidate this theory by adding, "I have nothing, absolutely nothing against anyone who's homosexual. If that's their orientation, then I accept that. And I have no problem with someone who has other orientations. The question is, do you act upon those orientations. So it's not the person, it's the person's actions. And you have to separate the person from their actions."
          You do? Can I separate my three cats' actions from the cats? When Anna brings me a dead mouse to admire, should I admonish her for acting too cat-like? Or is she only cat-like enough when she's asleep on my lap?
          And have I somehow missed the point of the word "accept"? There are nine definitions in my Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, but the first three cover the concept: 1. To take or receive (what is offered) with a consenting mind. 2. To receive with approval or favor. 3. To consent or agree to; as, to accept the terms of the contract. So that's blatantly not what he means.
          What Santorum seems to be saying is that he doesn't accept homosexual's orientation. But, like all politicians, his first inclination is to lie because the public is unworthy of the truth ever, so he says that he does accept when he clearly doesn't.
          Maybe it's the word "orientation" that's confusing the issue. The first definition is,
1. To turn or be directed toward the east, as a church. Well, that certainly can't be what he means. How about number 2. To adjust to a situation. Do we believe that homosexuals have "adjusted" to their "situation" by having sex with partners of the same gender? Or is that just part and parcel of the "situation"? My cats are not "orientated" to being cats, they are cats. Whether or not I am oriented toward being heterosexual, that's what I am.
          It's really the English language that's getting Santorum down. What he's trying to say, but having difficulty with big words like "orientation," is "Homosexuality is wrong." Obviously you can't be a homosexual and not act like one at all; then you wouldn't be a homosexual, you'd be an asexual. Ergo, to be a homosexual you must act like one at some point. And ditto for heterosexuals. If you never act on it, you're not that thing. You cannot logically call yourself a pianist if you've never played the piano.
          Santorum says, "I have a problem with . . . acts outside of traditional heterosexual relationships." I'm not sure what the exact tradition is in Pennsylvania where Santorum hails from, but it's probably the missionary position between a married male and a female without a condom. Since I've never been married, do occasionally have sex, and always use a condom, I too would be outside the "traditional heterosexual relationship," even though I'm not gay. Perhaps it's my orientation and I simply need to adjust to my situation of being single by getting married. Then I could be like Rick Santorum, which clearly everyone ought to be -- married, heterosexual Republicans from Pennsylvania.
          Senate Majority Leader Bill First, R-Tenn., said, "Rick is a consistent voice for inclusion and compassion in the Republican Party and in the Senate . . ."
          Why do I have such difficulty understanding these guys? "Inclusion and compassion" for whom? Obviously not homosexuals. Or anyone outside of "traditional heterosexual relationships."
          So, if may again interpret what I believe Mr. Santorum is actually trying to say within his circumlocution is, "I am appalled by homosexuality and I wish it would go away."
          Well, I'm appalled by exclusionary, uncompassionate Republican senators and I wish they'd go away, but I have enough common sense to know they won't. Which is why I generally don't come out with stupid statements like, "I have no problem with Republicans -- I have problems with Republican acts." I do have problems with Republicans, and it's because of their acts and their statements.
          My late homosexual friend Rick Sandford had a big problem with heterosexuals. Rick's logic went like this -- Fact, we're living in a highly overpopulated world; Fact, heterosexuals continue to have children in spite of this knowledge. Therefore heterosexuals are irresponsible, completely lack foresight, and don't care at all about the world they live in or the well-being of future generations.
          He had a point. I didn't agree with him, but, like a good American, I always respected his right to have his own position. And I'll defend it, too.
          Rick Santorum is against the basic American principal that other people can have different ideologies, religions, or sexual "orientations" than him and still be good Americans -- just as good as him. He is not a better American nor a better citizen for being a heterosexual, a male, married, a Republican, or being from Pennsylvania. We're all Americans, and we're all equal. To deny anyone their rights in this country is in fact un-patriotic and un-American.
          You're supposed to be a leader, Mr. Santorum, you might try understanding the rights and rules within the country where you supposedly lead.