At some point, the brouhaha over the anti-gay Governor of Indiana, will blow over. Arkansas, Arizona or Oklahoma will do something stupid and the people will take the pressure off the Silverback anti-gay Governor of my native Hoosier state. That would be a huge mistake.
A few months ago, Pence tried to set up his own in-house government news agency to report on his activities. His Putinesque attempt was laughed into oblivion. Pence said his intent was misunderstood. Besides homosexuals, he has disdain for others. He and his party’s hatred of Planned Parenthood resulted in the closing of Scott County’s only HIV testing Center. Predictably, HIV cases have since spiked. Emergency measures have been taken in reaction to the epidemic that should never have taken place.
But back to the future: Pence said that this current controversy had nothing to do with discrimination against the LGBT community, despite his well-documented history of doing so. If all was just for religious freedom (nobody’s against that), why did he sign the bill in a private, press-free, invitation-only ceremony, where conspicuously present were leaders of Indiana’s most virulent anti-gay organizations? If his was such a great law, why wasn’t it shouted to the rafters? We know. Pence, when pushed, finally indicated that civil rights for LGBT people were “not on his agenda.” But, he continued to claim, he doesn’t discriminate.
Meanwhile, the state’s business community is being crushed. Company expansions have been postponed. The NCAA may move from Indianapolis,* “the amateur sports capital of the country.” Conventions and concerts have been cancelled. Indiana is losing a fortune and is the butt of international jokes. Still he plays his sad little violin while Indy burns, all because he is trying to save face.
On national television, Pence had the same empty run-out-the clock answers to every question. He’s been misunderstood, he said. It’s the media’s fault, he said. Later he even said it was Obama’s fault. Good grief. He used the same strategy during his election campaign when asked if he believed in evolution as he did when asked if gays should have civil rights. He equivocates, changes the subject and answers a question he wasn’t asked. He is an ignorant man, and his actions indicate he might even know that. But he doubles down.
Perhaps Pence thinks this is his big chance to catch up in the Republican presidential primary, getting to the right of Cruz, Rand, Rubio, Jindal and New Jersey’s ultra-right swerving thug governor Chris Christie as well as Jeb Bush who ought to know better, at least politically.
Historically, what Pence has actually done is put himself in league with former Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus and former Alabama Governor George Wallace, not to mention Indiana’s own KKK Governor Edward L. Jackson. And this is an important note almost lost in the conversation. The wording of the bill not only threatens gays, but all minorities. Remember, past interpretations of the Bible have justified segregation laws. No wedding cake for a mixed-race couple. No room at the lunch counter.
The sound and fury of Pence’s folly may blow over quickly, but it is vital he’s removed from Indiana governance before he destroys the state completely.
*Credit goes to Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, also a Republican, for calling Pence out on this crass piece of legislation.