Ethnic politics in Minnesota

The following story from today’s Star Tribune is bizarre beyond belief. It reports on the latest use of the race card to demonize a Republican. In this case, the Republican is state representative Arlon Lindner, a somewhat mentally challenged supporter of repeal of the Minnesota Human Right’s Act’s inclusion of sexual orientation as a protected category (a position with which I agree).
Rep. Lindner prompted the latest flurry of prefabricated outrage by saying he intended his proposed reform of the act “to prevent…the Holocaust of our children [from AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases]. If you want to sit around and wait until America becomes another African continent, you do that, but I’m going to do something.”
According to the story, “The House’s only two black members immediately lashed out at Lindner, R-Corcoran, sparking a tense floor debate between Republicans and DFLers that veered into discussions about abortion and handgun rights in Nazi Germany.” It is difficult to follow the train of thought of the two black representatives who took offense. Admittedly, it is also difficult to follow Lindner’s train of thought, although I understand his desire not to lend the authority of the state to equating sexual behavior with immutable personal characteristics.
The preceding controversy prompted by Lindner derived from his refusal to pay tribute to homosexuals as victims of the Holocaust. Reading the comments relating to that remark — comments coming from each of the state’s seven Jewish state representatives — one would think that Minnesota is a state with a significant Jewish population. In fact, Jews constitute approximately one percent of the state’s population of five million. It is also difficult to follow the train of thought of the Jewish DFL representatives who purported to take offense at Lindner’s failure to include homosexuals among the victims of the Holocaust.
One of the morals of this story is the advantage of knowing a little history. Lindner could have had a lot of fun in the contretemps if he had been only been even slightly knowledgeable of the sexual orientation of the prominent “175ers” among the Nazi leadership. Lothar Machtan’s The Hidden Hitler makes the case that Hitler himself was probably homosexual and that the Nazi anti-homosexual legislation was implemented to protect Hitler from slander and blackmail.
In any event, the Strib story has incredible entertainment value: “Lawmaker condemned by Holocaust survivor now accused of racism.” The Strib also includes a summary of Lindner’s previously “controversial” remarks; they provide invaluable insight into the hokum involved here: “A history of controversy.” (Courtesy of Dr. David Pence.)


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