Someone needs to start checking the lunar calendar. Maybe we've been getting more full moons than we're supposed to have.
How else can you explain the strange, bordering on absurd, remarks made by elected office-holders of late? There was Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, the third-ranking member of the U.S. Senate majority, who opined that he could condone homosexuality but not homosexual acts -- even among consenting adults in the privacy of the home. Or that's what he seemed to be saying, anyhow.
Then there was David Fowler, a member of our own Tennessee state Senate, who opined about adding cash value to lottery scholarships for poverty-line students: "Are we just going to write checks so they can snort it up their nose or buy kegs for their fraternity?"
That prompted Memphis state representative Ulysses Jones, an African American, to proclaim, "This statement was in reference to African-American children and targeting against a certain class, those earning $40,000 or less. His statements were racist and inappropriate for the floor of the Senate." Brooding on this further, Rep. Jones added, "No one in the Senate challenged Senator Fowler's comments. Could it be that Senator Fowler is the spokesman for the racist regime in the Tennessee Senate?"
Jones' remarks were out of line, and we appreciate the attempt by state Senator Roscoe Dixon, another black legislator, to defuse the issue with the following quip: "I'm not convinced it was racist. If he [Fowler] had said 'crack cocaine' and 'Colt 45,' it would have been!"
That's the spirit! And, for that matter, Santorum's remarks are tolerable -- not funny, mind you, but tolerable -- only if one makes a leap of faith and interprets them as having been meant in the same spirit of tongue-in-cheek comedy. "I'm sorry, I didn't think I was going to talk about 'man on dog' with a United States senator, it's sort of freaking me out," said the disbelieving Associated Press reporter who reported the incriminating remarks from Santorum. The senator, who is chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, no less, said the following: "If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything ... . Whether it's polygamy, whether it's adultery, whether it's sodomy -- all of those things are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family ... . That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be ... ."
This brings to mind the goofy situation reports from the erstwhile Iraqi wartime "information" minister -- nicknamed "Baghdad Bob" by admirers, among them President Bush himself, who told Tom Brokaw of NBC News, "The guy is great!"
Unfortunately, Senator Santorum isn't. He shouldn't be in a position of leadership and the president should have admitted as much rather than, as he subsequently did, offer understanding and praise for Santorum.
You can call them as you see them, Mr. President, except, that is, for issues like the one addressed by Santorum. The Supreme Court does indeed say that you have the right to consensual sex within your home. As long as there's a full moon out, might as well do some reading. Try the U.S. Constitution.