Wajahat Ali at the Daily Beast has absolutely no qualms about where he stands on the question headlining this piece.
Asking “what it will take for CNN to fire Rick Santorum” and referring to Santorum’s “latest ignorant, bigoted, and controversial comments “ on Native Americans, he writes, “It’s comforting to know that it still pays to be a bigot during a pandemic and recession…” Read more HERE
Flavio Zanchi, at Quora, discusses the more generic question “At what point does ignorance become bigotry?” After discussing and connecting knowledge, facts, beliefs, opinion and, yes, ignorance, he concludes:
Then we grab our still infinite ignorance and fit it within our system of beliefs. From that very moment, we are bigots. Willfully ignorant, dogmatic, fanatical, stupid bigots. Offensive, dangerous, murdering bigots.
And, O so very righteous! We have Faith, see?
I have been following former Senator Rick Santorum’s positions on social issues since his first failed presidential run in 2012, have used the word “ignorance” and have pointed out his intolerance.
For example, in February 2012, I wrote a piece on “Santorum’s Incredible Display of Ignorance on Euthanasia in the Netherlands.”
In it, I commented how “Rick Santorum ignorantly — and falsely — claimed that in the Netherlands euthanasia makes up ten percent of all deaths, and that forced euthanasia accounts for five percent of all deaths there.”
Santorum also said that people are euthanized involuntarily because they are old or sick and he further claimed that elderly people in the Netherlands don’t go into hospitals out of fear that they will not come out if they go in there sick — because of ‘budget’ reasons — and rather go to other countries.”
Santorum’s misrepresentation of Dutch culture, tradition and morality merely to make a political point back home, provoked a storm of criticism and indignation in the Netherlands, the United States and elsewhere and was widely condemned, mocked, fact-checked and totally discredited.
A couple of weeks later, while scavenging for delegates in Puerto Rico, Santorum displayed a similar “lack of knowledge.”
While discussing conditions for Puerto Rico to become a state, Santorum not only mangled the Constitution, but also managed to inaccurately interpret U.S. law and to offend many Puertorriqueños.
In an interview with Puerto Rico’s El Vocero, Santorum said that if Puerto Ricans wanted their Estado Libre to become a state, they must make English their principal language. He also suggested that under American law, English must be the principal language.
The U.S. Constitution does not designate an official language, nor is there a requirement that a territory adopt English as its primary language to become a state.
Once again, Santorum’s “lack of knowledge” and insensitivity were roundly criticized.
At the time I wrote:
While one may overlook Santorum’s ignorance of Dutch euthanasia laws, it is not too much to expect that the man who claims to have been referred to by many as “Senador Puertorriqueño” to be at least conversant with U.S. law when it comes to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
Santorum ran for president again in 2016 in a short-lived campaign.
Not to be outdone by the likes of Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, Santorum boosted his “credentials” by pledging to sign legislation making it legal to discriminate against same-sex couples and by offering a spirited defense of mass deportations, among other.
As a Senator, as a twice-failed presidential candidate and as consultant and news contributor, Santorum has held and continued to promote rigid social conservative views, including on abortion, same-sex marriage, immigration, LGBTQ rights women rights and equality — especially in the military.
He has opposed amnesty for illegal immigrants.
In 2011, after the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” he said “his administration” would reinstate the ban on gays in the military.
He has supported the wall along the U.S.–Mexican border and the stationing of National Guard troops along the border. He told a Dreamer to leave the U.S.
During his stint as a CNN commentator, Santorum has continued to unabashedly exculpate Trump’s morally, legally, intellectually bankrupt ideas, words, and deeds until even he, Santorum, could not defend them anymore.
Then, a week ago, at a Conference for the Young America’s Foundation, Santorum dropped a bombshell of ignorance, insensitivity and disrespect.
Tony Norman at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette refers to it as “into an octopus’s garden of bigotry, lies and insincerity.”
Commenting on how the culture of “countries like Italy and Greece and China and Turkey and places like that…has sort of evolved over time,” Santorum said about “us,” the United States:
“We came here and created a blank slate. We birthed a nation from nothing. I mean, there was nothing here. I mean, yes, we have Native Americans, but candidly that—there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture. It was born of the people who came here, pursuing religious liberty to practice their faith.”
There was nothing here?
How about — “more recently” — the significant and heroic contributions made by Native American “Code Talkers” to help our country defeat the enemy in World War II?
Native American activist and podcast host Nick Estes tweeted, “The erasure of Native people and histories—which existed before and survived in spite of a white supremacist empire—is a foundational sin of a make-believe nation.”
As with his Dutch Euthanasia gibberish, Santorum’s most recent outburst drew quick and fierce condemnation, even from other conservatives such as from “The View” co-host Meghan McCain who tweeted that Santorum “has always been an absolute asshole – this is so ignorant and dangerous. I was raised learning, respecting and appreciating Native American culture in Arizona, specifically Hopi and Navajo. So much so that a Navajo flutist and drummer performed at my dad’s funeral.”
At what point does ignorance become bigotry?
CODA: Mr. Santorum has stated that he had “no intention of minimizing or in any way devaluing Native-American culture.”
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.