Completely improbable presidential candidate Herman Cain said he would hire a gay man or woman for his hypothetical cabinet, but remains firm in his prohibition of Muslims. Why? Because the gays, Republican Cain claims, won’t impose Shariah law.
Asked by ThinkProgress reporter Marie Diamond whether he would “be opposed” to appointing an “openly gay, qualified person” to his cabinet, Cain replied, “Nope, not at all. I wouldn’t have a problem with that at all.”
“I want them qualified, I want them to basically believe in the Constitution of the United States of America. So, yup, I don’t have a problem with appointing an openly gay person.” Cain then cackled, “Because they are not going to try to put Sharia law in our laws.”
Cain’s comment today, made at an Iowa conservative event, was an allusion to why Diamond asked the question in the first place: Cain last March said he would not appoint a Muslim to his inner circle because they may try to usurp American law.
“There’s this creeping attempt, there’s this attempt, to gradually ease Shariah Law, and the Muslim faith into our government. It does not belong in our government,” said Cain, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza who started a radio show, became a wildly popular conservative darling and is well on his way to becoming this election’s best side show.
Cain’s supporters will point to the candidate’s gay preference as proof he has fair-minded roots. The candidate can now tout superficial gay tolerance. But tolerance and acceptance are far different emotions, and Cain remains far from recognizing LGBT people’s humanity: He still supports Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, loathes marriage equality and works hand-in-hand with the devotedly homophobic Family Research Council.
Basically, Cain hates gays, hates Muslims and double-hates gay Muslims.
But it’s all still hate, and Cain’s illusory gay good will is nothing short of loathsome. But more offensive than Cain playing nice with the gays, and even more odious than the fact that he pulled the Constitution into his vile swamp of bigotry, is his remark’s utter transparency.
People and governments hoping to gain or hold power have always pitted minority groups against one another to maintain the status quo. That’s precisely what South Africa’s apartheid government did between various black populations and Indian populations, and it was done with American slaves, with lighter skinned people often granted privileges darker skinned men and women weren’t afforded. The same thing happened during Brazil’s segregated past.
And blacks and LGBT people were erroneously portrayed as enemies as pollsters skewed data to make it seem African-Americans were responsible for the passage of Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California.
Cain’s comments on preferring gays to Muslims follows the same thought process, one that courses through so many Republican strategies: divide and conquer, no matter how much rubbish you have to spew.