State Rep. Leslie Herod precisely summed up state and national cankers that resulted in five people being murdered and dozens more injured Sunday because of spite for who they are — and were.
“We must stop driving the hate-filled rhetoric that gives license to the dehumanization of our community,” said Leslie Herod, a Denver Democratic state lawmaker and mayoral candidate. Herod attended high school in Colorado Springs and is the first openly gay, Black woman elected to the State House. “Such hate combined with laws that make access to firearms far too easy have only one result. I wish I could say it was unbelievable, but that is not the case. Instead it is all too predictable.”
Herod is right.
Americans here and across the nation use religion to cloak their bigotry and disdain for people who are gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual.
Even worse are those who blanket their bigotry and hatred in patriotism.
It’s not just morally obscene, it’s deadly.
Ostracizing, bullying and abusing LGTBQ people isn’t novel in the history of bigotry. Nearly everyone who isn’t Christian, white and Protestant has been subjected to gruesome generations of abuse. Many still are.
But while laws and public sentiment have for generations sought to at least root out systemic and legalized bigotry, that’s not been the case for gay or trans Americans.
Large segments of America believe that our institutionalized protection from a state religion is a defense and justification for their bigotry and hatred toward LGTBQ citizens.
Political leaders like GOP Congressperson Lauren Boebert regularly behave like self-righteous tyrants, bludgeoning all of us with their homophobia and antipathy for trans Americans.
In 2021, Boebert praised Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ success at signing the so-called “don’t say gay” law in that state, prohibiting LGTBQ issues from being discussed in public schools.
“When we take back the House, Florida’s education system is the model for the nation. We’re going to save our nation from the ‘woke’ curse on education,” she said in a tweet, according to a Sentinel story about the recent mass murder at Club Q in Colorado Springs.
She and others use “woke” as a bludgeon against Americans who demand not just tolerance for all races and sexual identities, but acceptance.
Horrifically, Boebert has regularly accused LGTBQ people and liberals of “grooming” children to become gay, being especially critical of popular drag-queen reading events at local libraries.
“Take your children to CHURCH, not drag bars,” she tweeted during a flash rant this past summer.
Also this summer, after learning about a Western Slope drag queen inclusivity reading event, “Sending a message to all the drag queens out there: stay away from the children in Colorado’s Third District!”
Taunts and similar abuse from right-wing politicians, and TV and radio personalities, normalize and legitimize for some the abuse and even the murder of LGTBQ people by making them less than non-LGTBQ people, and often even less than human. Bigotry, legitimized by some political and religious leaders, and even the courts, created a perfect environment for Sunday’s gruesome murders, coupled with an obsession with guns. It’s an obsession shared often among those who struggle with LGTBQ bigotry.
Just like racist bigots found comfort in the courts to prevent Black Americans and other people of color from renting hotel rooms, dining in restaurants and even buying a home, some state laws and errant courts allow this anti-gay bigotry to thrive as a test against religious rights.
State and federal lawmakers must shore up legislation ensuring equal rights are equally applied to LGTBQ Americans, and that gun control laws — and enforcement — pull back access to firearms by people who are clearly a danger to themselves and others.
And all of us must call out the bigotry and spite propagated by Boebert and those like her.
Colorado’s first trans state lawmaker had this sound advice for Boebert after she tweeted on Sunday “thoughts and prayers” and her shock about the Club Q shooting.
“Thanks for the ‘thoughts and prayers’ but that does nothing to offset the damage that you directly did to incite these kinds of attacks on the LGBTQ+ community,” state Rep. Brianna Titone tweeted in response. “You spreading tropes and insults contributed to the hatred for us. There’s blood on your hands.”
Boebert, and several like her, were recently re-elected to their state or federal positions. It will be imperative for constituents and the media to hold them accountable for their dangerous charges and actions.
Condolences to the families, friends and the city of Colorado Springs. The emotional trauma on the first responders shouldn’t forgotten.
With respect to the editorial, I largely agree but would add one key fact. The duopoly that artificially underpins our political system convinces us that it’s always good (us) vs. evil (them).
The duopoly makes efficient use of the wealthy donor’s money— special interests’ funds too. It also makes for two tidy market segments for the news media, the lobbyists, and political consultants. But unfortunately the duopoly also lends itself to extremism in both major parties. Now sprinkle in some social media…
This is why we have both Lauren Boebert and AOC in Congress. This is also why we may be choosing between two unfit octogenarians for POTUS in 2024. The duopoly is also the root cause of both January 6 and the political weaponization of the DOJ in the 2016 elections.
Both Ranked Choice Voting and nonpartisan primaries would have a healthy moderating effect on our democracy which has been tainted by the GOP and Dems working together. The duopoly that guarantees their survival is THE PROBLEM.
The false equivalency you lay out between Boebert’s hateful bigotry and AOC’s advocacy for Medicare for All and getting money out of politics (which you ostensibly support) is why your “radical pragmatic centrism” is difficult to take seriously.
I get your point. Jeff also has a point. Of course AOC is a educated informed articulate Representative whereas LB is just an uneducated strutting blowhard.
Meanwhile, in the real world:
“The public defenders for the suspect in the mass shooting at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub that killed five people said in a Tuesday night court filing obtained by the New York Times that their client is non-binary and they use they/them pronouns.”
And? He was a radicalized Republican raised under GOP and religious propaganda by an abusive/neglectful father. In the interview with his father, his father was actually relieved that his son was at a gay club not because he was gay, but because he was only there to kill people.
These are the nutjobs and terrorists that hateful GOP and religious rhetoric creates.
You: “He was a radicalized Republican raised under GOP and religious propaganda by an abusive/neglectful father.”
LA Times: “Aldrich was born on May 20, 2000, to Laura Voepel and Aaron Brink in California, according to Orange County court records. The next year, Brink filed for divorce, and Voepel was given full custody of their child, with no visitation rights granted to Brink.”
Aldrich was inactive in the church and was the result of a highly dysfunctional upbringing but (despite your moniker) the facts do not support you.
HM already destroyed your wishful thinking below, but I’ll add that perhaps your side should have considered the long-term consequences of mainstreaming mental illness as something to embrace, rather than exploiting it as an avenue for subversion to advance your political power.
Specifically done to confuse don’t you think?
Funny how your side suddenly flees from accepting someone’s pronouns when it makes you look bad.
Excellent opinion piece. My issue is this: “It will be imperative for constituents and the media to hold them accountable for their dangerous charges and actions.” How? Her constituents just re-elected her!! Where’s the accountability?? MTG was overwhelmingly re-elected as was Desantis. WHERE’S THE ACCOUNTABILITY??? I always believed that education was the solution. But the Republicans have attacked that as well. As they have voting access as well as using gerrymandering (SCOTUS approved!) to extend their power base. America as we know it is in peril.
Don’t you have some kulak you should be oppressing, comrade?
Splain yo’self FWO
Well, Mr. King, it’s obvious to me that you have just been called a communist because of your communistic comments throughout this website.
Read a book, Doug.
Strap yourself in: With the new majority in the House, it’s going to be nonstop investigations, with no time for actual, you know, lawmaking. We’ll have endless Hunter Biden idiocy and impeachments of various administration officers. It’ll be Benghazi II: Revenge of the Clueless.
“who demand not just tolerance for all races and sexual identities, but acceptance”.
The above quoted language appears in this editorial. The law can demand tolerance, but not acceptance. The first goes to behavior, the second to thought.
“Boebert, and several like her, were recently re-elected to their state or federal positions. It will be imperative for constituents and the media to hold them accountable”: here’s the thing, which “constituents”? Broadly, “Christian, white and Protestant” are the culprits. They vote for these people. How can others how them accountable?
I don’t mind that you hate yourself for the original sin of your skin color or your upbringing, Doug, just don’t demand that others share that sentiment. And you don’t hold “them” accountable, unless you want to be personally held accountable yourself every time your side does something that theirs doesn’t like. But we all know that, as a leftist, you never want to be held responsible for anything.
I hate to burst your bubble, but Bobert doesn’t care what anyone but racists and the head racist, Donald Trump, thinks. I would certainly vote for anyone but Bobert if I could! She is not in my district, so I listen to her rants and am disgusted both with Bobert and the rest of the silent Republican Caucus. I don’t understand how an unprincipled and undisciplined person like Bobert can garner a single vote, much less squeak by. She does nothing but search for the next microphone. What’s her agenda for Colorado?