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Archive for January 8th, 2012

Boo. Hiss.

I live in New Hampshire, a state that every four years subjects Presidential candidates to a pretty thoroughgoing grilling concerning their stance on the issues of our times.  I’m not sure how we got this exalted status, but over the years we’ve become pretty savvy at picking front-runners; there’s a statement that sums it up, “As New Hampshire goes, so goes the nation.”  The only time I recall this failing was in 1996 — can’t recall who New Hampshire selected as an opposition candidate, but it wasn’t Bob Dole.

This quadrennial circus is preceded by the Iowa caucus, and they do their own fair job of winnowing candidates.  Dark horses can become front-runners as a result of two pretty “mainstream” states, in the sense that neither Iowans nor New Hampshirites generally have millions stuffed in their mattresses or bank accounts, but live the same lives as millions of other Americans:  some farmers, some factory workers, with everything else thrown in between (except millionaires.  They’re pretty thin on the ground).  And that’s what happened on this last round, when Rick Santorum, who up to now has been running a pretty quiet campaign, surged into second place after the Iowa caucus.

As a result, he’s been getting a lot of attention around the Granite State, showing up as a quiet, fairly conservative, well spoken gentleman.  He isn’t as flamboyant as Newt Gingrich.  He isn’t as well-known as Mitt Romney, son of Senator George Romney (late of Michigan, I think — George Romney was a while ago).  He isn’t a Minority candidate, both of whom have already dropped out of the race.  He is from Pennsylvania, which has its own mainstream population, farms and factories and everything in between, only more so than either Iowa or New Hampshire.

I was startled when he came out flat with the fact that his views are shaped by his religion:  Rick Santorum is a Catholic, and says so up front.  Among the views shaped by his Catholicism, and I’m not sure what else has been influenced by that mildly socialist religion, is his opinion that marriage between homosexuals is wrong.  In Catholicism, the main point of marriage is the ensurance of the human race; there was a time when coitus that didn’t result in a pregnancy was considered a mortal sin, though that time is long past.  But marriage, in the Catholic viewpoint, was never about two people who love each other having mutual “rights,” whatever those are in a marriage.  And this is a part of Mr. Santorum’s makeup.

So he gets up onto a stage at a meet-and-greet that includes college students.  Now, college students generally lack the life experience to be able to make rational decisions about pretty much anything, and over the years, they have become increasingly infantile and incapable of critical thinking.  The “education” they receive amounts to little more than brainwashing (having been in a college setting as recently as 2007, I’ve seen this first-hand).  This is the audience to whom Mr. Santorum tries to explain his views in a rational and reasoned manner.

The reaction is that as he leaves the stage, he is booed.

I’m sorry.  College education is supposed to produce educated people, people with a certain amount of class and polish.  Booing is what people do at baseball games when they don’t like the umpire’s call.  (From what I’ve seen, fisticuffs are reserved for football and hockey.)  You don’t boo somebody because his views are different from yours.  I don’t boo the Community Organizer current incumbent of the White House, and I come from a class of people that does boo the umpire.  But not the President, and not presidential candidates.

I will say this, not that any college students will read it:  If you don’t like what the man says, leave the room.  That’s all.  But before you do, consider this:  The President of the United States should be a man of principle, a man with rock-solid ethics, a man who knows where he stands and is capable of articulating why he stands there.  If elected, his views still will not constitute the will of the people; that’s what Congress is there for.  They have this nifty little counterbalance to the presidential veto:  It’s called a two-thirds override.  If Mr. Santorum becomes the Republican candidate, and if he is elected President, he can only disestablish gay marriage if the two-thirds override fails.  And if it does, then it wasn’t the will of the people to begin with.

That’s how this republic works.  Not with boos and catcalls and other jejune behavior.  You oafs are an embarrassment to the State of New Hampshire.  Go home and stop wasting your parents’ hard-earned money and get a real job.  Selling french fries at McDonald’s may not be your definition of a real job, but it involves hard work, something you’ve never done in your lives.

Meanwhile…I wasn’t actually gong to vote for Rick Santorum.  But in light of his firm stance on his ethics, and his reasoned response to a hatful of unreasonable spoiled children — I may think twice about my vote.

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