Category Archives: speeches

Tea Party speaker gay-baits Lindsey Graham


At a Tea Party rally in Greenville, S.C., last week, a speaker tried to figure out just what, exactly, is wrong with Graham. “Barney Frank has been more honest and brave than you. At least we know about Barney Frank, nobody’s going to hold it over his head.”

He continued, “Look, I’m a tolerant person. I don’t care about your private life, Lindsey. But as our U.S. senator, I need to figure out why you’re trying to sell out your own countrymen, I need to make sure you being gay isn’t it.”

This is the language of a political movement that sees itself defending a peculiar, limited version of democratic politics. Academics have a term for this idea: herrenvolk democracy. The basic idea is that there is supposed to be equality, and even unanimity on crucial matters, among qualified citizens. And if someone breaks the consensus, it’s not so much a sign that there needs to be an argument about this or that issue. It just casts doubt on whether that person was a legitimate member of the group in the first place. (Note that Graham himself has criticized the use of “racial epithets” on the right.) [Read the whole story from]