Ari Armstrong, Exclusives, Politics

Armstrong: Pride goeth before the state GOP’s destruction

Congratulations to the Colorado Republican Party, I guess, for routinely out-crazying the Democratic Socialist wing of the Democratic Party. I wouldn’t have thought it possible if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.

Fresh off a hysterical anti-trans campaign, the GOP suggested on Twitter that people “burn all the pride flags this June.” What great campaign video! June is Pride Month to honor LGBTQ people, in case you’ve been living in a cave.

Then the GOP sent out an email to members declaring that “God hates flags,” which apparently GOP leaders regard as a hilarious variant of the Westboro Baptist Church’s line “God hates,” well, you know.

The GOP email demonized LGBTQ people as “godless groomers [who] want to attack what is decent, holy, and righteous so they can ultimately harm our children.” Meanwhile, as GOP leaders slander all LGBTQ people as “groomers,” they remain silent about actual sexual groomers, say, among Denver Catholic clergy. The GOP proceeds, selectively, on the premise of collective guilt rather than individual accountability.

But gay and transgender people are not the only problem! The GOP email also singles out popular 9News reporter Kyle Clark, a Christian, and claims that he is “intolerant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Apparently Dave Williams, the GOP chair double-dipping as a candidate for the Fifth Congressional, is better equipped than God to judge another person’s faith.

Finally, the GOP email, quoting anti-gay pastor Mark Driscoll, claims that “Progressivism is a demonic lie.” Now, I have my own problems with progressive ideology; I advocate actual progress rather than the statist shackles on progress often favored by the “progressives.” But demonic? Give me a break. Cue the Church Lady. Incidentally, popular Republican president Teddy Roosevelt was a progressive.

The GOP’s message is not coming from a party serious about regaining political power in Colorado or helping to responsibly govern the state. Aside from being factually and morally wrong, the GOP’s message also is politically disastrous. Have Republicans so quickly forgotten that Jared Polis, a gay family man, crushed Heidi “Attack of the Furries” Ganahl in the last election? Bigotry just is not a big seller in Colorado.

In the spirit of individual accountability, I want to emphasize that the message of the state party’s leadership, although coming from official spokespeople for the party, does not reflect the views of many other Republicans. Valdamar Archuleta, for example, the Republican candidate for the First Congressional and president of Log Cabin Republicans of Colorado, denounced the hateful message and rejected his party’s endorsement.

Archuleta said, “I spoke with many LGBT and non LGBT Republicans . . . who also found the message in the email disgusting and offensive. This email does NOT Represent the Republican voters of Colorado. I know the Republicans in our State and in our city. They’re kind, accepting, loving, and welcoming people. They’ve become some of my best friends. They love this country, they love this state, they love our city, and they love their neighbors.”

The meaning of pride

I’m partial to Ayn Rand’s understanding of pride as “moral ambitiousness.” In everyday language, pride often refers to justifiable respect for one’s self and for one’s accomplishments. In the context of Pride Month, the term means that LGBTQ people should be happy with who they are and not be forced to live in shame by bigots. In these senses, pride is good.

Another sense of pride is captured by Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” It is precisely in this sense that the state GOP under Dave Williams’s leadership has become prideful.

Bible Gateway describes this sort of harmful pride as bound up with “arrogance, presumption, conceit, and especially vanity and self-satisfaction.” Synonyms include swagger, boasting, and haughtiness. I can hardly think of a better string of terms to describe current Republican leadership.

Pride, Bible Gateway continues, involves “scorn of all others” and “is a perversity of nature that is profoundly indifferent to the opinions and favors as well as the virtues of others.” Again that is the current Colorado Republican Party, as represented by its leaders, in a nutshell.

Republicans who elected Williams and crew to current leadership need to do some serious soul searching. How did the Republican Party of Colorado become this corrupted, this bigoted, this ineffectual?

In all seriousness, I challenge Republicans to go back and read the old KKK newspapers and see if they can tell the difference between that hateful rhetoric of a century ago and the rhetoric of today’s state GOP, except substituting LGBTQ people for Catholics.

No Republican candidate who fails to repudiate the party’s hateful message deserves anyone’s vote. That most will not repudiate it says a lot about the current state of the GOP. LGBTQ people deserve better. Republicans deserve better. Coloradans deserve better.

Ari Armstrong writes regularly for Complete Colorado and is the author of books about Ayn Rand, Harry Potter, and classical liberalism. He can be reached at ari at ariarmstrong dot com.


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