Ask Senator Santorum

By Steven Jonas, MD, MPH

A man for the middle ages: The 1300s would have been more to Santorum’s taste, but, alas, modernity intruded.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is steadily climbing the GOP polls (even though his standing versus President Obama is dismal). He may even win in Michigan, one of the several home states of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. (Whatever happened to “Willard?” But that’s another story). At any rate, having done “Ask” columns on Newt and the other Rick (Perry, remember him?) I believe that the Senator has risen far enough in the polls that he deserves one for himself. So here goes.

1. You frequently talk about your grandfather, a coal miner. I’m wondering why you never talk about the union he most likely belonged to, the United Mine Workers. Its President when it was at the height of its powers in the 1930s and 40s, when your grandfather was presumably working, was John L. Lewis, one of the most militant non-Communist labor leaders in US history. Or is the possible reason that you don’t talk about your grandfather’s union is that he belonged to the Communist-led Progressive Mine Workers?

2. Speaking of Communists, are you aware that members of your family still living in the north of Italy are ardent members the Communist Refoundation Party (Rifondazione), the successor to the former Communist Party of Italy?

3. Speaking of ancestors, while you talk frequently about your grandfather, you never seem to mention your parents. Could that be because both your father, a clinical psychologist, and your mother, a nurse, worked for the largest socialized medicine service in the U.S., otherwise known as the Veterans Administration Hospital system? Could that be because you have vowed to repeal even the modest changes to the world’s most expensive health care system contained in the Affordable Care Act? You have gone so far as to call the latter “socialized medicine,” or worse, when all it does is make some relatively modest changes to the health insurance system. It would bring another 30 or so million people under its umbrella eventually, a far cry from the coverage and services provided by the government-owned and operated system both your parents worked for. But you don’t talk about them.

4. You have referred to the science behind our understanding of global warming and the threats to humanity and indeed many of the Earth’s species that it presents as “punk science.” You feel that we should continue to rely on fossil fuels and indeed would vastly expand the extraction of same regardless of the pollution of the air, water and ground that such extraction causes. You are also against any government-supported development of alternative fuels and energy sources. But suppose you are wrong, and global warming is real (as virtually all scientists who have worked on the problem agree that it is). What then? But even if the science is wrong, we are going to run out of fossil fuels eventually. Why not work on the development of alternative energy, just as every other major power in the world, including China which has literally tons of coal, is, anyway? If you’re right, we would still derive the benefits of cheaper energy in the long run. So why not go for it?

5. You seem to be bothered by homosexuals and homosexuality to a rather extraordinary degree. You have compared homosexual intercourse to “bestiality,” for example, and would outlaw it. (One wonders how such a law would be enforced, but that is another matter.) You have a lot of sweater vests in your closet. Whole bunches of right-wing Republicans come out or are exposed as gay on a regular basis, the latest being Sheriff Paul Babeau of Pinal County, AZ. Is there anything else your closet we should know about?

6. Speaking of sex, you have said that the only reason for humans to have it is to engage in procreation. Your youngest child is four and you are 53. Does that mean that you and your wife have not had sex in over four years?

7. On the abortion thing, based on your religious belief about when life begins you are against it and want it to be criminalized, in the process criminalizing the religious/secular belief of those of us who hold that life begins at the time of viability (which criminalization would violate the First Amendment, but that is another matter). Would you be for sending just the abortion providers to prison, or would you include those women who have them too? And if the latter were sent to prison for violating the law, who would care for their children? Of course, since you think that abortion is murder, would you be going for the death sentence, for the providers, for the recipients? How would you go about paying for the massive increase in the size and scope of the criminal justice system that the criminalization of abortion in the way you contemplate it would entail?

8. Further on abortion, you are against it in all cases, including those resulting from rape and incest. In such cases, would the father be responsible for child support?

9. You want to keep US troops in Afghanistan until “victory” is achieved. How do you define “victory,” and how do you propose to keep paying for that war?

10. You have said that you would be in favor of bombing Iran over their supposed nuclear weapons program. Several questions. A) Do you remember the “WMD threat” from Iraq that turned out to be bogus? B) Have you given any thought to the massive loss of civilian life that would be incurred in any US/Israeli bombing raid massive enough to eliminate the Iranian nuclear program, whatever its true objectives? C) How would you explain to our nation the incredible rise in the cost of gasoline that would result from the closing of the Strait of Hormuz which would certainly occur should such raid take place and the resulting anti-American acts of violence that would invariably take place around the world? D) how would you pay from the vast expansion of war at home and abroad that would follow upon such raids?

11. Finally, you have been bombarded with the “contraceptive question,” so I won’t raise it here. Except to note that if you and your wife do still engage in sexual intercourse and she has not been pregnant for a while, either she is past menopause or you two are incredibly lucky at Vatican Roulette, and taking the literal meaning of the term, isn’t that a form of contraception?

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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author/editor of over 30 books. In addition to being a Contributing Editor for The Greanville Post (http://www.greanvillepost.com/; he is Managing Editor and a Contributing Author for TPJmagazine; a Contributor to The Planetary Movement, a Columnist for Truthout/BuzzFlash (http://www.truth-out.org/, http://www.buzzflash.com), a Featured Writer for Dandelion Salad, a Contributor to Op-Ed News.com (http://www.opednews.com/), and a Contributor to TheHarderStuff newsletter.

 

 

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