Cursory Examination: Unless you're a bellicose Ron Paul supporter with a loathing for all things progressive, you know the Republican presidential candidate and former gynecologist suffers from terminal homophobia. A skilled propagandist cannot spin away the dehumanizing actions and words of this ultraconservative politician. Queer folk recognize that the "individual liberties" mantra chanted by hardcore Paulites is nothing more than mob rule dressed in bright red stilettos and a lily white thong. Ron Paul and his admirers may grind against the Everybody-Is-Equal pole, but once the house lights come up we see that the crusty politician doesn't give a shit whether LGBT Americans are treated like second-class citizens - or even criminals. When Paul's spokespeople indicate otherwise, they're being disingenuous.
Diagnosis: The Southern-fried Bible thumpers who want to re-criminalize intimacy between consenting same-sex couples have Ron Paul's blessing. "Ignore Lawrence v. Texas!" screech religious zealots in Paul's home state. "The Supreme Court can't tell us which laws to enact." Predominately Caucasian areas that hanker to bring back segregation can dust off their beloved "Colored Restroom" signs. According to Ron Paul and his minions, the majority of residents in a particular region should be permitted to oppress any minority for any reason. (The federal government has no role in assisting the poor or protecting the marginalized, the downtrodden, the different - that's Tea Party Theory 101.)
"The individual suffering from AIDS certainly is a victim – frequently a victim of his own lifestyle – but this same individual victimizes innocent citizens by forcing them to pay for his care," Paul callously wrote in his 1987 book, Freedom Under Siege: The U.S. Constitution after 200-Plus Years.
Let me tell you about a different type of physician, a medical professional who demonstrated bravery and compassion at the onset of the AIDS epidemic. His experiences are detailed in a beautifully-written memoir titled My Own Country: A Doctor's Story. Abraham Verghese, an infectious disease specialist of Indian descent, worked as a resident at a small hospital in Johnson City, Tennessee when the first AIDS patients started appearing in the emergency room. In those days, the deadly affliction was known as "gay cancer" (among other, more demeaning, sobriquets). Many of these young men had moved to large cities when their "Christian" parents, upon discovering their sons were homosexual, kicked them out of the house. When they realized they were dying they returned home, most of them still shunned by their families.
From the very beginning, it never occurred to Dr. Verghese to blame patients for their condition (as Dr. Paul did). Although hobbled with misinformation and prejudice, Verghese treated these young men humanely. Against all odds he attempted to ease their suffering - including, in some instances, those with little financial means and no health insurance. If the situation warranted, he made house calls. He listened to their personal stories. He befriended them. He touched them (a fact which frightened his wife and elicited scorn from his fellow hospital employees).
It has been reported - and this isn't difficult to believe - that Ron Paul is so uncomfortable around homosexuals that he once swatted away the hand a gay volunteer, a guy who worked on his campaign and raised cash for him. He refused to use the bathroom of another gay supporter. Can you just imagine how Dr. Paul would have cringed in the presence of a person who was infected with the HIV virus? Obstetrics was a prudent career choice for the Southern Baptist physician. Heaven forbid he should've been required to care for the "sinners" who, he piously ascertains, brought a plague upon themselves. ("Society pay for this? No way. Let them die in the street.")
Every progressive should read My Own Country and discover the true meaning of Christian compassion.