“I’m Listening”

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There is audio of a speech by Oklahoma State Representative Sally Kern circulating on YouTube. In the speech, which she apparently did not know was being taped, Kern went on an anti-gay tirade. In part, she parroted some old chestnuts; for example, she said that the”gay lifestyle”is not healthy, that gays have a shorter life span, and that gays are trying to recruit/indoctrinate in the schools. I was surprised, however, to learn from her that the city council in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (where I teach):along with a number of other city councils around the country:is controlled by gays. And, of course, I can’t forget to mention that she asserted that”the homosexual agenda is destroying this nation”and that gays are the biggest threat to this country:even bigger than the threat posed by terrorism.

In a video posted on CNN’s web site, Kern refused to apologize, and she defended herself by stating that she has a right to say what she thinks:a defense that was echoed by at least one person on the video and by others in the comments on YouTube.

Of course, Kern has the right to say what she thinks. But that doesn’t mean that she should get a free pass for being a bigot. She can say what she likes, but others are equally free to question both (1) the accuracy of her assertions and (2) whether she exhibits the type of judgment that citizens should expect of their legislators. Hopefully, the people of Oklahoma will hold her accountable for these truly outrageous statements.

-Anthony C. Infanti

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