There were nine Republican candidates ~ above the phase for the Fox News/Google conflict Thursday night. Not one of them stood up because that an American soldier, Stephen Hill, who was being booed by the audience. Hill appeared by video clip from Iraq, wherein he is now stationed; he proved his face and also asked this question:

In 2010, once I to be deployed come Iraq, I had to lie about who ns was, since I’m a happy soldier, and also I didn’t want to shed my job. My concern is, under one of your Presidencies, carry out you intended to circumvent the development that’s been produced gay and lesbian soldiers in the military?

There was a pause, punctuated through jeers native the audience, prior to Rick Santorum answered. His answer was breathtakingly bad: the talked around dangerous society experiments and what a wrong the repeal of don’t Ask nothing Tell had been; he didn’t also thank Hill, in a rote way, because that his service. However none of the candidates did, and also any one of them could have. Transparent the debate, lock were more than willing to run in and also interrupt every other; Michele Bachmann broke protocol come quote the assessment of Cuba ~ above the State Department’s web site, and also there were really too numerous jokes around dogs. But every one of them appeared to shrink at this moment, abandoning Hill, who had actually made himself delicate to them and to the world. He to be brave to perform that; they to be cowardly not to protect him. Go they realize the he to be a soldier, and also a person being, and also not some sort of wind-up doll?

Santorum’s answer suggested that he can not:

Yeah. I, I would say any kind of sexual activity has certain no ar in the military. And also the truth that they space making a suggest to encompass it together a provision within the armed forces that we space going to recognize a group of people and also give castle a one-of-a-kind privilege to, ah, to, to, and also removing don’t Ask nothing Tell, ns think tries to inject social policy right into the military.

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“Sexual task has for sure no place in the military”? That will certainly be a surprise to the men and also women, that every orientation, that love, marry, and become parents while serving. We have actually an all-volunteer armed forces whose health relies top top its strong ties come civilian life—not a praetorian safety of eunuchs. Go Santorum think that “the military” is a arsenal of fight scenes in an activity movie? certain not; his father worked for the Veterans Administration, and so that must understand better. He likewise ought to recognize that over there is no “special privilege” here, simply the possibility of serving there is no the special responsibility of lying, and the same expertise other soldiers have actually that the human being they love most might have the ability to be handed a urgent flag if castle die. Or is words “gay” so solid for Santorum that it blotted out the word “soldier”?

It took prodding indigenous Megyn Kelly, one of the Fox moderators, to get Santorum to recognize that if nothing Ask don’t Tell to be reinstated, Hill could be in a an overwhelming situation. His resolution was much like what rick Perry had actually to say around Social Security: civilization in it now can stay, however then every bets are off. And any negative effects were Obama’s fault. There was a lot of blame for Obama in the debate, plus a discussion about whether he to be a socialist or the second coming that King George III. Over there were likewise many recommendations to Google searches. Over there wasn’t much of a sense of how world in America live your lives.


Amy Davidson Sorkin has been a employee writer at The new Yorker since 2014. She has gone to the magazine because 1995, and, together a an elderly editor for numerous years, focussed on nationwide security, global reporting, and features.

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