Ted Cruz, an actual senator who is actually running for president, says gay people are launching a “jihad” by “going after people of faith who respect the Biblical teaching that marriage is between one man and one woman.”
I try to keep an eye on what the conservative fringe is doing, and I’ve been noticing a certain troubling escalation in the Republican vocabulary lately. They are now openly and repeatedly using terms of war, of terrorism, to describe gay marriage. Right Wing Watch, who posted the above video, also posted audio from a radio show hosted by Family Research Council’s Craig James. In the recording, a caller asks James if it’s possible that the Pentagon fired a “gay bomb” on America to make us more gay. “Just a thought,” the caller said. I guess you can’t argue with that!
You might want to dismiss this as laughing at a few stupid Teabaggers, but it’s not that simple. Language matters. Words leave impressions. And if a bunch of people who the media tells us to take seriously start saying that Adam and Steve are terrorists who want to blow up innocent Americans, it’s well within the realm of possibility that some heavily armed loner somewhere might decide to bring the fight to the “terrorists.” The drums of war are not a toy.
Cruz’s platform as senator legitimizes him, endowing upon him a certain responsibility. The fact that he’s shirking his responsibility in such a flagrant way ought to be an actionable offense. You can have your petty little arguments about what your God does and does not believe. That’s your right as an American. But when you’re a public figure and you start accusing innocent Americans of terrorist actions, I believe you’re shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater. This video very could well come back to haunt Ted Cruz one day.
UPDATE 12:40 PM: And just a few minutes ago, Bobby Jindal called the backlash against Indiana and Arkansas an “attack on our Constitution.” Tell me this kind of language isn’t spinning out of control.