What's the difference between a progressive politician and a conservative politician? The progressive politician's goal is to provide and protect freedom for everyone, equally. The conservative politician's goal, on the other hand, is to steal as much freedom as possible for himself or herself, while denying the same freedoms to others.
This description sounds unfair at first, but there is such a strong pattern of this kind of hypocrisy about freedom among conservative politicians that it's hard to come to any other kind of conclusion.Just a few of countless examples:
The latest example of this pattern of conservative hypocrisy about freedom comes from Virginia Congressman Ed Schrock.
Ed Schrock has been one of the most conservative Republicans in Washington D.C. - so staunch in his cultural conservatism that his voting record earned a 92 percent approval rating from the Christian Coalition. Mr. Schrock not only voted for outlawing same-sex marriage, he actually co-sponsored the Federal Marriage Amendment, a piece of legislation that would have made same sex marriage automatically illegal nationwide.
In his time in Congress, Schrock has sought every possible opportunity to persecute gays and lesbians. For example, Congressman Schrock made a big deal about publicizing his opposition to Bill Clinton's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy, which attempted to prevent discrimination against gays and lesbians in the United States military. In his speeches against toleration of gays and lesbians in the military, Ed Schrock raised his voice to a shrill pitch in order to emphasize how icky he believed homosexuals to be. "You're in the showers with them!" he screeched. "You're in the bunk room with them, you're in staterooms with them!"
In short, Republican politician Ed Schrock used his power as a member of Congress to prevent gays and lesbians from having access to the basic freedoms that other Americans enjoy. You'd think that Mr. Schrock was himself a strict heterosexual family man. You'd think that, but you'd be wrong. Here's the kicker: It turns out that Ed Schrock himself regularly engaged in gay sex.
In August 2004, activist Michael Rogers used his Blogactive web site to carefully research and then expose Ed Schrock's hypocrisy. Before outing Schrock, Rogers gained corroborating evidence from several sources, including an audiotape of Schrock calling up a gay dating service in order to request a good-looking, fit young male with whom to have casual sex. On the tape, Mr. Schrock explains that he's not looking for anything serious, but just wants a man who he can go down on and who will go down on him, then see how things develop from there.
I know, it's disgusting. Oh, not the gay sex part. The really disgusting thing is the way that Ed Schrock used his power to persecute people for doing the very things that he did in secret.
Not only did Ed Schrock give heated sermons about the immorality of homosexuality while he himself was engaging in gay sex, but Schrock claimed to be standing up for traditional family values, accusing his opponents of condoning promiscuity, while all the time he was using telephone dating services to set up appointments for casual sex!
The problem with Ed Schrock isn't homosexuality or casual sex. The problem with Ed Schrock, and with other prominent Republican conservatives, is that they are happy to grab all the freedom they can get for themselves, even as they do everything they can to prevent other Americans from having the same freedom.
These conservative politicians aren't any more morally principled than their progressive opponents. In fact, they're less principled. Progressives have the courage to stand up for freedom, even when it isn't popular. Conservative politicians cower behind the mask of outraged bigotry in order to gain the support of voters, attacking other people's freedoms and encouraging attitudes of hate and persecution, even when they don't really believe in it.
The only thing worse than a bigot is someone who pretends to be a bigot in order to get ahead. That's Ed Schrock all over.
The really sad part is that even though Ed Schrock has been exposed, he still refuses to stand up for the sexual freedom that he has privately pursued for decades. Instead of admitting that he is gay, and belatedly defending the right of gays and lesbians to live in freedom like everyone else, Schrock has dropped out, withdrawing from his campaign for re-election in order to allow some other anti-gay Republican to take his place.
If only Ed Schrock had been honest, his personal sexuality would not have ended his political career. There are other members of Congress who are openly gay, and they have strong support from voters. The truth, actually, is that Ed Schrock's personal life had nothing to do with the end of his career in Congress. Ed Schrock ended his own career by being dishonest in his public life. The Ed Schrock scandal has nothing to do with "the politics of personal destruction". It has everything to do with conservatives' public policies of hypocrisy.
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