An Open Letter to Rick Santorum

Hey buddy,

How you doing? You feeling O.K.? Maybe you better sit down for this, because I’ve got some news. You see…it’s 2012. I know you think it’s 1953, and that you’ve just been seeing a lot of joke newspapers around, but I’m afraid those newspapers are real. Lindsey Lohan really looks like that, and it really is 2012.

I have a few theories about how you got here. I’ve ruled out time travel because I think it’s safe to assume that if the scientists of the ’50s had chosen a candidate for that they’d have picked someone who believed in science. And I doubt that you were frozen in carbonite, since it’s hard to picture you as the Hans Solo in this election-year narrative. Which brings me to the likeliest theory: you fell asleep some evening in 1953 and, Rip Van Winkle-style, slept until 1994 when you woke up and ran for State Senator of Pennsylvania.

Pictured above: Rick Santorum, sweater vest slightly rumpled from a 41-year nap

I probably wouldn’t have chosen to immediately run for office in an era I didn’t understand (I would have dedicated my time to memorizing the outcomes of every major sporting event in the past four decades in case it turned out to be a very realistic dream that could turn into a gambling opportunity), but that’s one of the many reasons you and I are so different. You have clearly decided that instead of accepting and learning about the world as it is now, you’d rather turn back the clock and make the world the way it was on the night you went to sleep.

I’m afraid your attempt to recreate 1953 isn’t going to go over well in today’s modern society. Sure, as you travel around you’ll meet people who support your cause. White men who miss their undisputed place at the top of the power structure. White women who not only want to stay at home to raise their children, but want to make all women stay home to raise their children. And that’s pretty much it. Because you see, the rest of the country has gotten used to a few things in the past half-century that are going to be really tough to take away. And they are going to pose some pretty big roadblocks on your path to the presidency.

Let’s start with your most obvious obstacle, the thing that is making this open letter possible: technology. 

Rick, meet Google, aka, your nemesis

In the past sixty years, we’ve made huge strides with regards to communication, access to information, and pornography distribution. There’s probably been a lot of words bantered about that you don’t understand, like Wikipedia, Twitter and Google, but those are how people are learning about you today. And…well…Google has not been kind to you. There’s this guy named Dan Savage who took offense to some things you said about homosexuals and so he used this thing called “search engine optimization” that…you know what, this is hard to explain. Go to Google and type in your own name. But not from a work computer! That would be embarrassing.

In addition to making your name synonymous with a very specific aspect of a sex act, technology has also enabled everyone to stay informed on your latest crazy comments. You’re probably used to 1953 media, where you say something to a local reporter and it only reaches local readers. Now, thanks to online news coverage, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, micro-blogs, tumblr and other things that I probably don’t even know about, when you say something insane, everyone in the country knows about it. When, for example, you said, “This is an issue just like 9-11. We didn’t decide we wanted to fight the war on terrorism because we wanted to. It was brought to us. And if not now, when? When the supreme courts in all the other states have succumbed to the Massachusetts version of the law?” which compared legalizing gay marriage to 9-11, it got passed around the internet via many, many, many blogs and articles, so everyone got a glimpse into your hyperbolic homphobia.

And speaking of gay people…

I wish I could say this particular issue had come farther in the past 60 years. Honestly, I can’t believe we’re still talking about it. But we are. So you may wonder why, if we’re still debating whether homosexual couples should have the same rights and privileges as their heterosexual counterparts, that your statements – like when you called protecting traditional marriage “the ultimate homeland security” – should cause such a firestorm. First, being gay isn’t illegal anymore. So it’s one thing to oppose gay marriage, but it’s quite another to fight it with the same vehemence that one might oppose, say, terrorism. And the number of people who believe gay people should be allowed to marry continues to rise. You’re now in the minority, so the more dramatic you get about the importance of traditional marriage, the sillier you look to a growing number of people.

You are also rapidly alienating another very large section of the population: women. 

"Huh. That's a weird-looking kitchen." - Rick Santorum

I haven’t said it until now because I didn’t want to scare you off, but I am a woman. And I have a job. In fact, most of the women I know do. In 2012, women can do pretty much anything men can, except pee standing up (and there’s even been progress on that front, although that is one inequality I think we should leave alone).

So when you wrote in your book, “Radical feminists have been making the pitch that justice demands that men and women be given an equal opportunity to make it to the top in the workplace” it made my face look like this:

People who think that men and women should have equal opportunities to succeed at work aren’t called “radical feminists” anymore. They’re called non-assholes, and they are a very large voting bloc. You should start pandering to them more, and a little less to the contradictory minority that claims they want government out of their lives but then turns around and sticks their heads straight up everyone else’s uterus.

Which brings me to the subject that will crush your campaign if you don’t shut up about it: birth control. 

You can have my birth control when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.

While you were sleeping, you missed one of the reasons that I, and millions of other women, were able to join the workforce – access to various methods of birth control, which lets us choose if and when to have children. It’s wildly popular, in fact 99% of sexually active women have used at least one form of birth control. So when you woke up, looked around, and decided that all of this was bad for society, it probably would’ve been smart for you to just keep that to yourself. Instead, you said:

“I don’t think it works. I think it’s harmful to women. I think it’s harmful to our society to have a society that says that sex outside of marriage is something that should be encouraged or tolerated, particularly among the young. And I think we’ve very, very harmful long-term consequences to our society. Birth control to me enables that, and I don’t think it’s a healthy thing for our country.”

Compared to most people I know, I’m kind of a prude. I’ve been married for forever, I don’t like to talk about sex and I understand maybe 20% of the sexual innuendo in pop music. But even I know people do it for many reasons other than to have babies. Including married people. So to take a stance against birth control – something that 99% of women (and really, therefore, men) have used – is probably the dumbest political maneuver I’ve ever seen. And that includes Rick Perry’s entire campaign. You would have better luck proposing a ban on puppies. After all, some people are allergic to dogs. No one is allergic to not having babies.

Well, that pretty much brings you up to speed. I’m sure it’s been rough to suddenly find yourself in the modern era, with no background on how things got this way. But I think you’ll find that many people actually like things better now than the “good old days,” when women stayed home, black people were in different schools and the income tax on the top bracket was 91% (funny that you don’t seem in a rush to revisit that one). If you let yourself embrace things as they are now, instead of trying to turn back time, I think you’ll find that it’s really not so bad. After all, you didn’t have hilarious gifs in 1953. So to help you ease into the new millennium, and as a reward to the (I’m guessing) 4 readers who made it to the end of this crazy long post, please enjoy this, my gift to you, a gif of Paul Rudd dancing:

See, Rick? It gets better.

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3 Responses to An Open Letter to Rick Santorum

  1. zathra says:

    Rick ” His Holiness ” Perry also wants to insure that the U.S. is home to a Christian Taliban. He forgets that there are many Americans who don’t share his EXTREME beliefs, & / or are some other belief besides Christian, or don’t have any particular beliefs.
    Perhaps he participated in a primitive cryonics experiment back in the 50’s, a la Mel Gibson’s character in the movie ” Forever Young “. Anyway, he seems to be an anachronism. He should just climb back into his cryonics tube, perhaps.

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