Former 5th District Congressman Virgil Goode’s recent bigoted comments calling Mitt Romney “the father of homosexual marriages” in a statement released to the media before the Republican presidential nominee’s visit to Liberty University over the weekend is as telling as it is unconscionable.
It is a rare moment when I feel Romney needs to be defended against his opponents. But in the face of such blatant inflammatory political rhetoric, a change of course is warranted.
First and foremost, there isn’t a single shred of evidence that Romney is “the father of homosexual marriages,” if such a ridiculous claim could even be objectively tested.
What is most interesting about Goode’s public statement to the media is his foremost rationale for restricting the rights of marriage to heterosexual couples. Goode states that “If homosexual marriages become normal across the country…State taxpayers will have to pay for the expanded health insurance costs and State retirement costs.” Essentially what Goode is saying is that fundamental human rights can be denied to individuals if the economic costs outweigh the economic benefits. Welcome to the conservative version of capitalism in the 21st Century U.S.
In a similar vein, would Goode have also argued that slaves in the U.S. should not have been freed because of the supposedly huge economic burden this would have on the U.S.? One shivers to think of his answer.
Goode is far from alone in making these types of economic arguments (even if they result from a slightly different direction). It is a line of argument that has all but captured many on the far right of the political spectrum, a line of argument and a way of viewing the world that allows for nothing less than “economic growth” and “job creation” at almost any cost.
I once heard an instructor say that “Everything has a cost.” But individual freedom and dignity do not have a price tag because they are the essential constants of our society without which our entire notion of politics, economics, and social life would collapse.
I would urge however that we as progressives, liberals, fair-minded individuals, and some libertarians not focus exclusively on drilling individuals like Goode for their bigotry and utter absurdity. Rather, we must continue to champion a vision of our own that encompasses a brighter future for all Americans: poor and wealthy, business owner and employee, young and old, civilian and non-civilian, retiree and employed, and so on.
We take back our country’s future by advancing a brighter pragmatic path forward.