As more information come in, it becomes clearer and clearer that for Omar Mateen, the great motivator was not Islam- though he was willing to use it as an excuse. The thing that drove Mateen to murderous rage was his hatred of homosexuality- a hatred that was, it would seem, self-hatred.
And if this were only about one man’s inability to accept his own identity, this tragedy would not be so terrifying. But Mateen’s rage and hatred were nurtured by religious and political leaders- here and abroad. And those religious and political leaders remain. Thus, it is not surprising that Republicans do not want you to notice the way that their rhetoric encourages bigotry, hatred and violence.
Republicans want to convince you that Mateen was a jihadist, influenced by foreign nationals to kill Americans. Republicans want to erase the fact that Mateen targeted his victims because of whom they loved.
And you can’t really blame Republicans, right? Because if they have to admit that this was actually about homophobia, then they have to acknowledge their own complicity.
They will have to admit that their party encourages a fundamentalist religious zealotry steeped in hate. Where are the condemnations for Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick who tweeted “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows” as victims of this massacre were still bleeding in Orlando hospitals? (You can condemn him here )
When President Bush said they hate us for our freedom, Americans agreed. And one could certainly argue that Mateen hated those people at Pulse for the freedom they had to be who they were and love who they loved.
But Republicans do not actually want Americans to have that freedom. Not to marry. Not to adopt children. Not to go the bathroom. There are over 100 Republican sponsored anti-gay pieces of legislation currently being proposed.
This is why Republicans want to erase the fact that Pulse is a gay night club. They want to erase that the people killed were from the very community that the Republican party has been targeting. They want to erase that the victims are members of the LGBTQ community, that they are people of color.
Because if the attacker’s name was not Omar but Tom, or John or Rob, and he prayed not at a mosque but at an evangelical megachurch, Republicans would not call this terrorism.
Sure, they might have a moment of silence– because that’s what we do for mass shootings. But we would not have Newt Gingerich calling for a re-opening of the House Un-American Activities Committee (seriously???!!!!) because Republicans have decided there is nothing more American than hating gays.
Republicans would not want a new HUAC to look at this because well, they have attended rallies where Christian preachers call for the rounding up and execution of gays. That would make them fellow travelers wouldn’t it?
I have been moved by those who say the way to respond to this tragedy is with love- Because only love can conquer hate. But I think we need to call out those who hate as well. And I’m calling out the Republican party. When you sow hate, you reap violence. This is your bitter crop.