’Anti-gay’... I mean, ’pro-family’

Why are mainstream media adopting Rick Santorum’s hideous euphemisms?

Everybody’s talking about Rick Santorum, a.k.a. the previously ignored Republican primary candidate from Pennsylvania (also Jerry Seinfeld’s unfunny, Roman Catholic doppelganger) who couldn’t get a word in edgewise at any of the GOP debates. Until this week, he was far better known for his “Google Problem” than his warmongering, privacy quashing political aspirations. Today Santorum is a rising star, setting his socially conservative sights on the state of New Hampshire, after placing an extremely close second to Romney in the Iowa caucuses this week. He seems to think his near-victory in Iowa is proof that you don’t have to be a moderate to win a general election.

Iowa, however, isn’t America, something the former senator was rudely reminded of at a New Hampshire university last night, when his gay-marriage-will-lead-to-polygamy argument was met with unanimous boos:

That Santorum will flounder is almost certain (it’s only a matter of time before talking heads and comedians start lambasting him as fiercely as they did Bachmann and Perry) but mainstream and liberal media could quicken the process if only they’d avoid using the manipulative terminology Santorum and friends use to espouse their anti-gay rights, and anti-privacy beliefs. For too long, grossly dishonest phrases like “pro-family” and “family values” (phrases invented by and for America’s religious right) have been used by mainstream publications to describe the political profiles of Republican candidates. Take this example (one of many) from the Boston Globe:

Santorum, a Catholic, has campaigned on a strong family values platform.

The above is simply not true. Santorum may say he is campaigning on a “strong family values platform,” but it doesn’t take a Ph.D. in ethics to understand that revoking adoption and marriage rights for gay people (something Santorum has expressed keen interest in doing) is not in the best interest of families. Then again, Santorum’s definition of what constitutes a family is decidedly limited (let’s just say he doesn’t see eye to eye with Mrs. Doubtfire).

Anyway, enough with this doublespeak. It’s lazy journalism for reputable publications to use terms like “pro-family” and “family values” out of context in reference to a political candidate. Just because Santorum and company cloak their bigotry in euphemisms, doesn’t mean we have to follow suit and use their language. Rick Santorum is not running on a “pro family platform.” He is running on a pro-heterosexual-family-and-no-contraceptives-please!-platform. Just as “pro-life” is a gross euphemism for “anti-abortion,” “pro-family” is a gross euphemism for “anti-gay.”