What a dick!

It’s rare that a candidate does anything so mindbendingly stupid that they earn the retraction of an endorsement they’ve already received by a major newspaper. Usually it has to be something really bad that prompts a newspaper ed board to pull their already published recommendation. Really bad is the nicest way to describe the actions of Manuel Rodrgiuez who is running for re-election to the Houston Independent School District’s Board of Trustees…

Some Houston residents are calling for the resignation of Manuel Rodriguez from the Houston school board after the incumbent distributed a campaign flyer to his constituents earlier this week that included language critical of gay people.

“His records show he spent years advocating for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender rights… not kids,” the campaign brochure says about Ramiro Fonseca, Rodriguez’s opponent in Tuesday’s election for the District III seat of Houston school system’s Board of Trustees.

The flyer states Fonseca has received the endorsement of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus, “the South’s oldest civil rights organization dedicated solely to the advancement of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights.” (The underlined words are underlined in the flyer.) […]

Rodriguez said today that the brochure isn’t anti-gay.

“It’s the truth,” Rodriguez said during a phone interview, adding that he is not anti-gay. “I am not bashing gay people.”

Rodriguez said that the flyer emphasized the endorsement of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus to “indicate who (Fonseca) represents.”

The incumbent said he underlined the words, ‘gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights’ “to make sure parents know who’s going to make policy for their children.”

You can see the offending and semi-illiterate flyer here. What’s so bad about all this isn’t just the bad design and tortured syntax of the piece itself, it’s the balls out defense of (and lack of contrition for) what is really nothing more than bigotry. What I personally love most is the unwritten question bursting from between the lines… ‘why would a gay man without kids want to be on the school board’. One can only assume that Manny has missed the large number of studies that clearly show that pedophiles are overwhelmingly heterosexual. If one were to do a probability study, one would find that it’s far more probable that Manny is the pedophile in the race, not his opponent. Granted, most studies have conclusively shown the pedophilia isn’t really orientation based but is, instead, based on age fixation. However, the data from the field is clear… one study in Denver found that 99% of the people who were identified as child molesters were heterosexual. Maybe it’s time for Manny to stop trying to be the Anita Bryant of HISD.

Normally a candidate will try to distance themselves from something like this as quickly as possible. But not Manny. Which leads me to the conclusion that he’s simply too stupid to be allowed to remain on the board. The Houston Chronicle agreed

Earlier this campaign season, we endorsed Manuel Rodriguez Jr. for another term on the board of the Houston Independent School District. We now retract that endorsement in the race for HISD Position III trustee.

A last-minute campaign flier for Rodriguez displays appalling homophobia. The flier urges recipients not just to vote for Rodriguez, but to vote against his opponent, Ramiro Fonseca, because he has been endorsed by the Houston GLBT Caucus, “the South’s oldest civil rights organization dedicated solely to the advancement of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights.” The flier further states that Fonseca has “spent years advocating for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender rights … not kids,” and winds up with a pair of bullet points noting that he’s 54 years old with no children and has a male partner.

That’s obvious gay-bashing, of the kind that HISD rightly prohibits on the playground. It has no place on HISD’s board.

Advocating for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights is advocating for kids. GLBT kids are among those who most need adult protection and support.

As Noel Freeman, president of the Houston GLBT Caucus notes, “GLBT youth are 12 times more likely to be bullied in schools, five times more likely to commit suicide and eight times more likely to be homeless. It is imperative that we provide a safe, welcoming environment in our schools.”

With his hateful flier, Rodriguez perpetuates the kind of stereotypes that put our kids in danger. And he implies that all right-thinking people agree with him – an insult to his constituents, and precisely the kind of blithe, old-school homophobia that makes school hallways so treacherous.

Members of the school board are supposed to be role models, not bullies. They’re supposed to support civil rights, not fight against them. They’re supposed to fight hate speech, not commit it.

It’s important to stand up to bullying, intolerant behavior, whether on the playground or at the ballot box.

Here’s Brains and Eggs takes on the whole thing, which is worth a read for those of you looking for a more local perspective.

All the folks here at McBlogger would like to encourage the folks in HISD District III to vote tomorrow for Ramiro Fonseca.

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