I’ve been mildly surprised by the reaction of crowds at recent GOP debates. The crowds have had morally repugnant reactions as of late. They have even turned against the military. I’m not sure how it happened, but I think Ronald Reagan is crying somewhere right now.
It started with cheering of the death penalty. I’m not sure where the Christian Right went, but my guess is the window. Why? Because if you were ever to ask yourself “What Would Jesus Do?” and you come up with “cheer at people being put to death” you might need to pick up your Bible. Even if you look at it from purely a moral standpoint, should we ever celebrate the death of an individual? Even if you support the death penalty, shouldn’t you feel sad that it had to come to putting a fellow human being to death? But when Rick Perry was asked about his record breaking numbers in Texas, the crowd cheered. Rick even got away without being asked about the execution of a man that is believed to be innocent or how he’s fired people to keep the issue hush-hush. The crowd cheered for how many people were executed under his watch. It seems death is quite the issue to cheer about in GOP debates.
There was more cheering over death at another debate when the conversation turned to health care. When Ron Paul was asked about the government insuring a man who didn’t have insurance, the crowd cheered at his response that the man should “take responsibility” for his actions. I’m sure that he knows all about uninsured since Texas has the highest percentage of uninsured people per population than any other state. I guess that would make Ron Paul and Rick Perry experts on the uninsured. The shocker wasn’t so much that people cheered that the man should take care of his own problems, it was the next question that got the inhuman crowd response. Paul was asked if he thought that if they should let the man die. The crowd cheered. The “pro-life” party was cheering death. Just when I thought I’d seen it all, they turned on our troops.
At the latest debate, a gay soldier asked a question via video. He asked about the recent repeal of DADT, and if they would try to reinstate it. It didn’t even need a response from a candidate. He was booed by the crowd. The GOP crowd turned against our own military. A man was putting his life on the line for his country, but because he was gay, they they no longer supported him. Seeing the GOP crowd turn against our troops was unsettling. If you turn against one good soldier, how can you say you support the military? What happened to it being unpatriotic to go against our troops? Those who are giving up their own freedoms and lives to help protect ours. Of course, Rick Santorum went on to talk about how he would reinstate DADT. Santorum is notoriously anti-gay-rights. Just Google “Santorum” and you’ll see what his detractors think of him. However, his response was expected. The crowd’s wasn’t. If they had waited until Santorum spoke, at least then they wouldn’t be specifically mocking our soldiers. But they did.
I’m not sure what to make of the current GOP candidate field. Rick Perry sounds more like Dick Durbin when he talks about the children of illegal immigrants. Michelle Bachmann is talking without thinking. Ron Paul is still too fringe for the mainstream, while Mitt Romney is trying to beat down Rick Perry. Everyone else is falling into the shadows. However, what I make of the current GOP debate crowds is that they are not the Republicans of Ronald Reagan. They are a new breed of Republican. One that is pro-death and anti-military. One that is accepting of bigotry and hatred. Is that really what the GOP wants as its base?