Putting people like Pat Buchanan on television legitimizes their hateful worldview and make it much easier for like-minded bigots to find wider social acceptance.
I’m not sure why exactly Pat Buchanan has managed to last so long on MSNBC. I suppose it’s partly because he’s viewed like something of an asshole vaccine — a weakened and inert strain of paranoid Conservative used to help inoculate progressives for encounters with stronger, more dangerous parasites. Somehow over time Pat Buchanan had devolved from rabid right wing warrior, into a rumpled, cartoonish figure whose misguided and bizarre ramblings were easily ignored.
To be honest, I had pretty much forgotten about him. I can’t keep my eye on every wacko who’s given national stage time, and old Pat seemed harmless enough. Perhaps age had even mellowed him a little. Original Recipe Pat Buchanan was prone to Holocaust Denial, or outright racism. Older, wiser, Pat Buchanan could be counted on to write entire books attacking the Neocons. Rachel Maddow calls him “Uncle Pat.” He can’t be that bad, right? Let’s take a look at an excerpt from his new book, as reported by our own David Badash:
In the name of equality, the Supreme Court has declared the practice of homosexuality to be a constitutional right. Vaughn Walker, a gay federal judge in San Francisco, has ruled that same-sex marriage is guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. Can anyone believe this absurd notion of equality was intended by or written into the constitution by the Congress that produced the 14th Amendment? Although gay marriage has been rejected in 31 states in referenda, judges continue to declare that such unions be treated as marriages. An idea of equality rejected democratically by voters is being imposed dictatorially. In December 2010, a repudiated liberal Congress imposed its San Francisco values on the Armed Forces, by ordering homosexuals admitted to all branches of the service. Indoctrination of recruits, soldiers, and officers into an acceptance of the gay lifestyle will transfer authority over the military, the most respected institution in America, to agents of a deeply-resented and widely detested managerial state.
Well, screw you Pat Buchanan. I know one washed up political hack who is officially off my Christmas Card list.
That is classic, 100% USDA Prime anti-gay hate speech. It is also pretty tame for Pat. Here is something he said in an article he wrote for the New York Post back in 1983 about how hilariously ironic he found the AIDS epidemic:
The poor homosexuals — they have declared war upon nature, and now nature is exacting an awful retribution.
Buchanan concluded by saying no homosexual should be permitted to handle food and that the Democratic party’s decision to hold their next convention in San Francisco would leave delegates’ spouses and children at the mercy of “homosexuals who belong to a community that is a common carrier of dangerous, communicable and sometimes fatal diseases.”
With his new book, Pat Buchanan seems to be saying to the world, “Hey guys, Remember how horrible I used to be? Well I’m back, bitches!”
Pat has earned his place alongside the many other prominent homophobes of our day. He is a pioneer in modern anti-gay hate speech, and if he wants to claim that mantle with pride, I’m not here to stop him. He has every right to be a miserable bastard.
The problem isn’t Pat Buchanan. There are now, and will always be, plenty of bigots. Don’t get me wrong, Pat Buchanan is a horrible, horrible person, who believes awful, terrible things. It’s just that Americans, as a culture, do not find his views all that objectionable.
The simple fact of the matter is that in large and varied sections of society, it is perfectly acceptable to hate gay people. While this is changing, and the basic, undeniable humanity of LBGT people is becoming increasingly apparent to even the most apathetic of citizens, the issue of our equality continues to offer countless opportunities for friction. Of course, as the human boll weevils that people the 24 hour cable news landscape can only survive in a world where every single issue on the planet has two equally valid sides, they must give air time to every hate-filled pile of excrement that has some ax to grind with the gay community.
Let’s be clear about one thing: Pat Buchanan is paid by MSNBC to hate gay people. That’s his job. Granted, he’s employed to hate all kinds of other people too, but his history of incendiary rhetoric regarding social issues is a big part of his resume. While I respect and appreciate the effort to get Pat Buchanan fired, honestly, I can’t really see why MSNBC would capitulate. He is doing exactly what they’ve paid him to do. They didn’t hire Pat Buchanan because he’s a hoot at the office Christmas Party, they hired him because he’s been a prominent member of the far right for 40 some odd years, and is guaranteed to stir things up.
This is the only reason why anyone ever hires Pat Buchanan. He got his start working in organized crime, or if you prefer, the Nixon White House. They called him “Mr. Inside” because his job was primarily to write speeches that would communicate directly to the psycho, nougaty center of the Republican Party. He did essentially the same thing for both Ford and Reagan, and has been a professional bigot ever since. It’s not like that history is a secret. He ran for president three times on this platform. He was put on television to be Pat Buchanan.
When does this stop? When do we get our tipping point? If we ask nicely, can we be declassified as a political football? When you put people like Pat Buchanan on television, you legitimize their hateful worldview and make it much easier for like-minded bigots to find wider social acceptance.
Cable news loves these people for the same reason that Morton Downey, Jr. liked to put KKK members and Black Panthers on stage together. They are guaranteed to fight, and a good brawl always makes for good television.
Look at Tony Perkins, Grand Wizard of the Family Research Council, certified hate group and all around anti-gay fun factory. If you go to his website, and I encourage you not to bother, they have posted about 75 appearances this man has made on major cable news programs, and those only represent the occasions they have deemed acceptable enough to consider appropriate marketing material. As of this writing, the most recent appearance is on, you guessed it, MSNBC. This makes Tony Perkins another in their stable of paid bigots. Even if he doesn’t draw an actual appearance fee, he gets a little bit more time to promote his website, or books, or crude chalk drawings, or whatever media he expects his supporters to consume.
Ever notice that there are no out and out racists on television? They exist, to be sure, but you never see them debating Cornel West on Hardball. Ever wonder why? Because being a racist in public is completely unacceptable. You are not allowed to both be openly racist, and participate in polite society. It simply isn’t done. How do we get this deal in the LGBT community? Is there a certain amount of hardship we must endure before we stop letting anti-gay bigots participate in civilized public discourse?
Just this week we have seen hate crimes involving this openly gay bartender, who was beaten and then set on fire, and this gay school kid, who was stalked and then beaten by his homophobic tormentor, in public, while everyone around him did nothing. The violent criminal who administered this hate based beat-down did get a whopping three day suspension, so that’s justice? Right? Anyone? No?
And I’m not even warmed up.
Should we bring the guys who lit the match on MSNBC to chat about the importance of Family Values? It might make for good ratings. I suppose we can just let Tony Perkins or Pat Buchanan make the case for why it’s OK to dehumanize and torment homosexuals. You’ve got them on TV fifteen times a day anyway, and who cares if it helps perpetuate the hatred and violence directed toward our community. Why should that matter when we have so much commercial air time to sell?
Yes, Pat Buchanan should be fired. And Tony Perkins should be ridden out of town on a rail. Give me the petition and I’ll sign it. I just don’t want to lose focus on the larger issue. What we really need is a blanket agreement, as a culture, that we will not tolerate anti-gay bigotry, and that we will certainly not put those who fuel these fires on television so they can continue to try and make things worse.
Benjamin Phillips is a Humor Writer, Web Developer, Civics Nerd, and all around crank that spends entirely too much time shouting with deep exasperation at the television, especially whenever cable news is on. He lives in St. Louis, MO and spends most of his time staring at various LCD screens, occasionally taking walks in the park whenever his boyfriend becomes sufficiently convinced that Benjamin is becoming a reclusive hermit person. He is available for children’s parties, provided that those children are entertained by hearing a complete windbag talk for two hours about the importance of science education, or worse yet, poorly researched anecdotes PROVING that James Buchanan was totally gay. If civilization were to collapse due to zombie hoards or nuclear holocaust, Benjamin would be among the first to die as he has no useful skills of any kind. The post-apocalyptic hellscape has no real need for homosexual computer programmers who can name all the presidents in order, as well as the actors who have played all eleven incarnations of Doctor Who.
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