Almost As Adorable As Their Accents

« April 2010 »

Memo to Chris Grayling: TRY HARDER. OR, ACTUALLY, DON'T.

I'm betting some people wonder why this column covers, to the exclusion of almost all else, American stupidity. After all, stupidity exists worldwide, right? Well, yes, it does. But there are two main reasons why I focus on America. First, I live here, so local stupidity affects me more than any other kind. But also, in many cases, foreign dumb isn't nearly as dumb.

I'm not talking about Third World dumb or theocratic dumb, You know, like Uganda wanting to execute all the gays. That shit is horrifying and awful. But take Britain for example. There are plenty of racist, stupid, pigfuckers on the British Isles, although I'm led to understand that most of their pigfuckers fuck sheep. But the British don't have Republicans, they have Tories. And it's just not the same.

For my non-British readers, Tories are basically Reagan Republicans who have mellowed on social issues, instead of being increasingly enraged by them. (For my British readers, just bite your e-mail tongues, because I know I'm oversimplifying here). They hate poor people, and hate taxes because taxes go to pay for stuff for poor people (a hell of a lot more than they do over here, too). They're "tough on crime", but in general, their overall score on the racism/homophobia/anti-science scale is nowhere near what we get over here with teabaggers, Wildmon, and the Discovery Institute.

This is, I think, because Britain not only has a multi-party parliamentary system, it actually has a party, the BNP, that is specifically for rabid racists and homophobes to join. Which means the Tories can, at best, only hope to peel off a few of the more reasonable racist and homophobe votes, and as a result, tend to be more reasonable even when they're stupid. Case in point, Chris Grayling.

Now, Chris Grayling got caught in what is admittedly a ridiculous statement to a think tank when he didn't know he was being recorded. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"I think we need to allow people to have their own consciences. I personally always took the view that... if you look at the case of 'Should a Christian hotel owner have the right to exclude a gay couple from their hotel?', I took the view that if it's a question of somebody who's doing a B&B in their own home, that individual should have the right to decide who does and who doesn't come into their own home. If they are running a hotel on the High Street, I really don't think that it is right in this day and age that a gay couple should walk into a hotel and be turned away because they are a gay couple, and I think that is where the dividing line comes." - Grayling, the Tory Shadow Home Secretary, which I'm sure doesn't sound like a character class from a Japanese role-playing game to people in England.

Ah, the conscience clause. Where bigots argue that they should be allowed to discriminate because their bigotry stems from a deeply-held bigoted belief that is rich in tradition. Of course, here in the U.S., it gets applied to actual life-or-death issues like contraception and the teaching of evolution. Not that getting discriminated against by a quaint bed and breakfast doesn't suck, it just sucks a bit less than your science teacher telling you Jesus walked with dinosaurs, or the prick at Walgreens sending you to a town sixty miles away when the condom breaks.

Grayling is still a moron, of course, because he's invoking the sanctity of the home defense for homes that have been turned into money-making businesses by the owners. I don't give a shit where you run your business, if it's illegal for businesses to discriminate when they're large hotels, it's illegal for them to discriminate when they're small hotels.

But here's the thing. When the recording leaked, first of all, it was seen as a public scandal and embarrassment for Grayling. For 90% of the right-wing politicians in America, this would be hailed as a moderation of their extremist views, a swing to the left, and it would more likely than not get them ostracized from the Republican party. But Grayling had to explain why he was acting like such a douchewaffle. And his apology and explanation were even more telling.

"Any suggestion that I am against gay rights is wholly wrong - it is a matter of record that I voted for civil partnerships. I also voted in favour of the legislation that prohibited bed and breakfast owners from discriminating against gay people. However, this is a difficult area and on Wednesday I made comments which reflected my view that we must be sensitive to the genuinely held principles of faith groups in this country. But the law is now clear on this issue, I am happy with it and would not wish to see it changed." - Grayling, in a public statement.

Forget Republicans. I know, off the top of my head, probably a dozen DEMOCRATS who would fear for their political lives if they made a statement like this. There's only a tiny bit of weaseling in what was essentially an admission that he was just pandering to religious people on an issue he'd actually voted the opposite fucking way on.

So, there you have it. When it comes to the rest of the generally developed, Western world, the one true expression of American exceptionalism in in our stupidity. It's cute to watch Britain try to keep up, but really. Call me when you have your own Michele Bachmann. Or if Margaret Thatcher makes a surprise return. That bitch was seriously evil.