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Tuesday, July 02, 2013

After marriage equality ruling, conservative leader plays the victim card

Wow, who could’ve seen that coming, huh?
Steve Benen: The Heritage Foundation’s Jim DeMint published a daily essay this morning on marriage equality, which struck me as … what’s the word I’m looking for … hilarious.

The crux of the piece is that opponents of equal rights for all Americans “deserve to be treated with dignity" — the classic “be tolerant of my intolerance" sort of schtick. Consider this gem:
[The Supreme Court’s ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act] denies dignity to the millions of Americans and their elected officials who have voted to pass laws that tell the truth about marriage.
I’ve read that sentence several times, trying to make sense of it, but I’m at a bit of a loss. In fact, I’m not sure if DeMint even knows what “dignity" means, exactly. The former senator seems to be arguing that the nation has a choice: we can extend basic human decency to all Americans and eliminate the need for second-class citizenship or we can make proponents of discrimination feel good about themselves. We’re apparently supposed to endorse the latter.
Benen has more, but the point I want to make is that — no matter what the issue — Republicans are always the victims. DeMint has no legitimate argument to make, so he lays down the well-worn conservative victim card.

But DeMint’s op-ed isn’t meant to change anyone’s mind about marriage rights. What it’s meant to do is solidify the base who dearly cherish their own victimhood. Always outraged, always convinced that America is beset by enemies from within and without, always certain they’re the heroes in their little drama-queen narratives, the rightwing Tea Party base loves nothing more than to be told that they’re being disrespected/deprived of their rights/attacked by forces that only Republicans are capable of resisting.

Jim DeMint’s sad defense of institutional homophobia may be hilarious, but it’s also calculated to anger the Republican base with their imaginary status as perpetual victims.

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