Today is a big day for Georgia. The most expensive congressional race of all time is in full swing with a battle between Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel today. Handel is known for anti-LGBT comments and her stance against a liveable wage, but House Majority Whip Steve Scalise just gave her his endorsement on Twitter anyway. This even though Republican lawmakers’ lives were saved by a lesbian woman, Crystal Griner last week. She was one of the Capitol Police special agents who came to the rescue the day of the shooting at the Congressional Baseball Game practice.
The Hill reports that Scalise (R-La.), who is recovering in the hospital from a gunshot wound was able to get a tweet out today:
“.@KarenHandel is a great candidate, and #TeamScalise is pulling for her! #GA06”
— Steve Scalise (@GeauxScalise) June 20, 2017
The Washington Post reported earlier that the race between Jon Ossoff and Karen Handel is extremely tight, with Ossoff at a 55% chance of winning. A Democratic win would send a message that Republicans are in trouble going into the 2018 midterm elections.
Ossoff also has made it clear he is an ally to the LGBTQ community.
Just days ago, Handel reaffirmed her stance against LGBT adoption, citing her faith as the reason. She lost her bid for Governor in 2010 running on a platform of outlawing same-sex marriage, civil unions, and even domestic partnerships. Slate reported that she “boasted” about voting no on domestic partner benefits while a chair of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners. When asked point blank why she thought gay parents weren’t legitimate, she offered an evasive answer, “Because I don’t” without any other explanation.
It’s just sad that Scalise would throw any support toward Karen Handel, who would seek to outlaw basic Civil Rights for LGBTQ heroine Griner and her wife, Tiffany Dyar. Handel and Scalise’s politics have real implications for the lives of all LGBT people in the state of Georgia and everywhere in America. Would they even see the irony here?
Crystal Griner placed her life in jeopardy, putting politics aside, to save Republican lawmakers, and this is how Scalise repays her? Then again, Scalise himself has been a leading opponent of LGBT rights on the Hill, authoring an amendment to “protect marriage” for one example. Not even his life or death experience could prompt an evolution on his anti-LGBT stance if he believes Karen Handel is the best candidate for Georgia today.
In fact, the GOP in Georgia has attempted to exploit Scalise’s near-death injury for political gain themselves. The GOP chairman of the 11th District of Georgia, Brad Carver told The Washington Post:
“I’ll tell you what: I think the shooting is going to win this election for us,” Carver said.
Carver later apologized for his remarks.
Both Ossoff and Handel have reported receiving threats leading up to the election today. Both condemned an attack ad from “Principled PAC,” that used imagery of the shooting to incite fear of an “unhinged left” that they claimed endorses and applauds Republican shootings. Handel’s spokeswoman didn’t call for taking the ad down, even after calling it “disturbing and disgusting.”
Let’s make this very clear: Nobody on the right or left endorses shootings of anyone, apart from extremists on the fringes. Liberals want more common sense gun control, not shootings.
What Steve Scalise and Karen Handel fail to see here is that the person who came to the rescue of Republican lawmaker’s lives on June 14th deserves the same Civil Rights as other Americans. Republicans have endorsed taking away Civil Rights of minorities for too long. That’s the politics of hate in action, and it is trickling down from the White House today.
It’s time to stop the politics of hate, and the best way to do that would be to stop silently supporting politics and politicians who stand against equality for all Americans. We hope Georgia elects Jon Ossoff today, and wish Steve Scalise continued health, and hopefully a change of heart.
Featured Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)