Readers were shocked this past week by an exchange in the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Tuesday between Rep. Ken Buck, newly elected chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, and a woman who had experienced discrimination as an LGBT woman seeking pediatric care for her children:
Rep. Ken Buck: Um, is it your position that, uh a uh orthodox Jewish doctor should be required to work with a uh–an orthodox Jewish doctor whose grandparent was killed in the Holocaust be required to work with a–um, a Nazi, uh patient?
The clear suggestion here is that a doctor who doesn’t like gay people would be just as justified in refusing treatment to a gay family as a Jewish person who had ancestors killed in the Holocaust would be justified in refusing to treat a Nazi. Needless to say, this comparison is extremely offensive to both gay and, by cheapening the pertinent history to crassly make Buck’s point, Jewish people.
Yesterday, 9NEWS’ Marshall Zelinger broadcast an interview with Rep. Buck in which he’s asked about this ghastly comparison–and Buck launched into a defense of his words that demonstrates he meant exactly what he said:
“My point was, and it’s similar to the (Masterpiece Cakeshop) baker case in Jefferson County. We’re getting to the point where we’re forcing people to conduct business that they may not want to conduct. We have to be very careful, it’s not a line we haven’t crossed in the past, we’ve certainly crossed that line with African-Americans in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, and it was very appropriate not to have segregated lunch counters, not to have segregated buses, but we keep finding more and more groups that we are putting into a category of forcing people to conduct business with,” said Buck.
What Buck is trying to say here is that he doesn’t think LGBT people should be a protected class of people under discrimination law, as they would be under the legislation under debate and are in Buck’s home state of Colorado as well as 20 other states. That’s consistent with the ballot measure Amendment 2 passed by Colorado in 1992 and later found unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. Buck’s brazen contempt for the law in the state he represents in Congress invites its own criticism.
But more importantly, what Buck’s “clarification” doesn’t contain is any reasonable justification for comparing gay people to Nazis. The underlying assumptions necessary to make this a valid comparison are simply unworkable for anyone who doesn’t virulently hate LGBT people. It seems fundamentally absurd to even have to write this, but the Nazis were directly responsible for the deaths of six million Jewish people, and started a war that killed 50 million people globally. To compare that abominable history to LGBT Americans who want health care without being victims of discrimination is…
It’s sick, folks. And treating this as a defensible viewpoint for a member of Congress from the state of Colorado, not to mention the chairman of the state party, is totally unacceptable. We honestly do believe that in previous years, before Donald Trump desensitized the nation from outrage, Buck would have been compelled to apologize for these comments–not double down on them on prime time TV. But if it isn’t clear from this episode how deep the moral rot in today’s Republican Party runs, erupting to the surface in the hate-rooted recall campaigns against Rep. Rochelle Galindo and Gov. Jared Polis, here may be all the proof you’ll ever need.
Ordinarily one would call on the Colorado Republican Party to stand up against these kinds of outrages, like when Ryan Call called out Vicki Marble for blaming African American health problems on eating too much chicken–but that’s obviously a problem in this case! In the end, despite all the protestations to the contrary, history may be forced to conclude that the unconcealed hatred common in Buck’s horrific analogy and the stated motivations of recall organizers reflects who Colorado Republicans really are.
Want to prove us wrong? For God’s sake, somebody condemn this madness.
It's not so much that words fail me as that the history here makes this utterly indefensible. Will somebody tell this Trumpian dimwit what those pink triangles stood for in the Nazi concentration camps?
Have you no decency, Sir?
At long last, have you no decency?
Chairman Ken has no decency.
How hard does someone have to work in 2019 at being this much of a fucking, piece of shit, ignoramus??? . . .
Holy shit! Really???!??? . . .
. . . there’s just nothing to say here, except . . .
. . . Fuck you, Ken! Seriously, just, fuck you!!
And the fiery cross he rode i n on!
I love you, Dio. You always think of the perfect thing to say.
Jesus Christ. It's like something out of Blazing Saddles without the funny. "OK, fine … decent, honest, white business owners are compelled to do business with coloreds; nothing we do about that now. But we DON'T WANT THE GAYS."
Ken Buck learned all he knows from Dick Cheney, Dick Armey, and Jim Demint. So you don't have to look too far to figure out where the moral vacuum came from.
From the Washington Post's mini-bio of Buck:
So is Ken saying that people don’t choose to become Nazis, but are born that way?
omg- you win.
Chairman Buck is just putting voice to the Trump/Pence party line:
(almost*) anyone can choose to discriminate against (almost*) anyone for (almost*) reason.
Morning drive – Russ Kaminsky on AM630 tells listeners his kind of libertarian Republicanism means there should be no laws against discrimination, that the only protected class should be a market solution.
You don't want lead in your water don't buy water with lead.
You don't want school shootings – don't send your kids to school.
Lunch counter bakery discrimination – shop somewhere else.
Don't like being poor – choose rich parents.
I could go on- but this part of the Republican party has always been crazy. As long as no one looks too close because it's always about dividing we the people so the rich can just stay rich, get richer, and not pay their share of tax.
Spring is sprung in Colorado, get off the web and get out there. walk a long way, plant a tree, stay hydrated,
*cannot ever discriminate against white men with American money.
It is appalling to think that we have a mini-Alabama here in the state of Colorado and a George Wallace wanna-be representing the state in Washington.
I'm wondering if we can get Ken Buck to confirm
to demonstrate there shouldn't be anti-discrimination laws to make people equal in the marketplace. I'd really like him to clarify government has NO place interfering and we should simply allow individuals to choose who to do business with. There is a possibility for him to alienate EVERY group with a history of discriminatory treatment: minorities of sexual orientation, religion, disability, race, creed, color, sex, age, national origin or ancestry.
Anyone do the math to consider what proportion of the population doesn't fit into one or more of those categories?
Buck's a pretty smooth talker when he's on his game, but I've seen him get flustered when confronted with pointed questions at town halls. Watch at 3:40 when he calls Trump a "vicious dictator".
So I'd guess that he won't be doing any town halls? Any readers who actually are Republicans, you should make an effort to go to Republican meetings for which Buck does his "Chairman" schtick, and question him appropriately.
Quit trying to tell Democrats what to do, and clean up your own party.
Cleaning up the Republican Party just now would be one of the labors of Hercules, specifically cleaning the Augean stables.