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Carl Paladino, Republican Candidate for Governor of New York State

October 11, 2010

Kids, watch your reruns, and learn something.

I am watching Season 2 of Battlestar Galactica, which was originally aired at the height of the Abu Ghraib scandal. There is a torture victim, curled in fetal, shackled to a metal floor. Deep bruises, in curdled yellow, run the length of her body. She is skeletal like an Auschwitz prisoner.

Then I click over to The New York Times. I am told that Carl P. Paladino, the Republican candidate for Governor of New York State, said some hateful things about gays to a gathering of Orthodox Jewish leaders in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The audience responded with applause.

Kathy Willems / Associated Press

And I remember that Hitler collected both Jews and homosexuals for the gas chambers and the ovens. And I remember Tyler Clementi who leapt off the George Washington Bridge the other week. And I remember Matthew Shepard in 1998 and the torture of two gay men by nine members of a Bronx gang this week.

There was no homophobia in the ash rising from smokestacks, deep in 1940s Poland, that fell upon the forest trees in a commingled dust.

I am bored with reruns. It’s just the same thing over and over again.

EDIT: 10/11/10 9:11am ā€“ā€“ā€“ Now, lest one think for a moment that this post is just another simplistic iteration of Godwin’s Law, I give to you this House GOP candidate dressed like a Nazi. His name is Rich Iott, and he’s running for Ohio’s 9th District, and he’s a darling of the Tea Party. It’s only merely a coincidence then that he costumes himself in the livery of the world’s most heinous genocidal regime “as a father-son bonding thing.”

The Atlantic Monthly article also quotes Rabbi Moshe Saks, of the Congregation B’nai Israel in Sylvania, Ohio. He says, “Any kind of reenactment or glorification of Nazi Germany, to us, would be something unacceptable and certainly in poor taste, if not offensive.”

That’s something to think about in the Orthodox congregations of Brooklyn, the most disappointing place where homophobia is leveraged as an electoral tool.

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