Cathy Renna

What Sally Kern and I have in common

Filed By Cathy Renna | March 12, 2008 8:13 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: anti-gay, hate speech, Kern, politics

If you haven't heard (and how could that be??) that Oklahoma state representative Sally Kern made some vociferously homophobic and inflammatory remarks about LGBT people recently, take a listen.

Working with the Victory fund on the media surrounding that has been interesting - and challenging. It seems Rep. Kerns has (surprise, surprise) gotten a lot of nasty emails from folks angry at her comments. After over 500,000 listens on youtube.com and exposure in local and national media, what was she expecting, flowers?? The local Muslim community in Oklahoma City has spoken out not only against her equating gays (and Muslims) with terrorism, but on how her speech is divisive and wrong. The silver lining is that folks like her help build coalitions and bridges, probably not her intent, but thanks Rep. Kern!

But here is the thing: instead of actually thinking about what she has said (LOTS of misinformation and outright lies), she has decided to go the martyr route, saying she is getting death threats.

In the most recent Associated Press article even the authorities are not buying it:

A fellow lawmaker contacted the OSBI on Monday and suggested that agents go through the e-mails, some of which might be threatening, OSBI spokeswoman Jessica Brown said. Kern said Monday that she had not received death threats. On Tuesday, she said, 'It's changed,' but she did not elaborate.

Brown said Tuesday, 'There are a lot of e-mails to the representative that say, 'You ought to die,' rather than, 'I am going to kill you.' I wouldn't characterize them as death threats, she said.

Rep. Kern, if you can't take the heat get out of the state senate.

When I was at GLAAD, highly visible campaigns against the hate speech of Dr. Laura, Michael Savage and Eminem (to name a few) were met by hundreds of pieces of hate mail and of course, for the truly courageous, middle of the night voice mail. And they call us sissies! For the most part, they were the usual "you will burn in hell" rhetoric but some were over the line, like "I'll stab you in the head" (a direct lyric of Eminem's, not that he has any influence over his fans, something he asserted regularly).

So if someone really threatens her, they should be taken to task and dealt with - but the reality is that you reap what you sow - and when you sow hate, you will get some very angry responses from the people you malign and attack. Free speech is best combated with more speech, as I learned at GLAAD, and the cream always rises to the top. Note Laura's descent into radio purgatory and Michael Savage's cancellation after telling a caller he wished he would "get AIDS and die." You reap what you sow when you are held accountable.

We'll see how this plays out - other OK and national politicians are finally starting to call for her censure, no public official who represents a diverse constituency should get away with this.

In his open letter to Rep. Kern, Victor Fund President Chuck Wolfe said it best:

What you said was not okay, but that's not because most sensible people disagree with it. It's because your words give aid and comfort to those who would hurt, maim and even kill people who are different from you . . . .

Just this past fall, Steven Domer, a 62-year-old gay man was brutally murdered right in your home state of Oklahoma.

Authorities believe that Domer was strangled Oct. 26 by two members of a white-supremacist group who targeted Domer because he was gay.

"The point of the Victory Fund's releasing your speech was to draw attention to the fact that even elected leaders like you are saying some nasty and potentially dangerous things about your fellow citizens," Wolfe wrote. "Our mission is to elect people to counter your hate and bigotry with honesty and courage."

For more info and to get involved go to www.victoryfund.org.


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Like most homophobes, Sally Kern is most probably gay. All of that mis-directed anger comes from somewhere. Self hatred is as likely a place as any. It is pathetic, actually. If she wasn't so dangerous, I would feel sorry for her.

You go, Cathy!

Yeah, that death threat thing, while true in many cases, is often abused for sympathy by those who'd rather shut down than take their own homophobia seriously.

Cathy Renna Cathy Renna | March 12, 2008 10:21 AM

from a piece in OK media today:

Kern said Monday that she had not received death threats. On Tuesday, she said, "It's changed," but she did not elaborate.

I am shocked! Shocked!

for the whole story see:
http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?articleID=20080312_1_A13_hThey04584

I smell some brimstone around her office door......

So she is upset that someone recorded and publicised her comments, and they were taken out of context.

To quote Steve Martin, "Well EXXCUSSSE Me!

She doesn't seem to get the point that, as an elected official her words have power, and they also have consequences.

Hopefully the voters will show her those consequences come next election.

Great Post, I have been keeping up to date on this and I hope something good can come of all the coverage.

Great post Cathy. True death threats are one thing, but getting angry e-mails for angry words is another. Shoot, I get that all the time in the comments section! *grins*

" A fellow lawmaker contacted the OSBI on Monday and suggested that agents go through the e-mails, some of which might be threatening, OSBI spokeswoman Jessica Brown said. Kern said Monday that she had not received death threats. On Tuesday, she said, 'It's changed,' but she did not elaborate.

Brown said Tuesday, 'There are a lot of e-mails to the representative that say, 'You ought to die,' rather than, 'I am going to kill you.' I wouldn't characterize them as death threats, she said."

Well then, much as they like to say to us, it's not a death threat it's merely the statement of an opinion/belief. They think they shouldn't be held to task when they state that gay people should die because that's what the Bible says, what God says, etc. But when someone tells them they should die for spewing their hate speech suddenly the cries of "death threats" and "lock them up" go out. What a double standard.

I myself don't wish death to the harridan. I want her to live a long life so she can suffer for the hell she has inflicted on people, particularly her gay son Jesse. Then she can burn in her own hell.