Apples and Trees

Several media outlets recently reported that the teenage son of Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, whose given name is Tanner, used the screen name “n1ggerkiller” in an online game; he also posted YouTube comments using the word “nigger” and calling Mexicans “the scum of the Earth.” His Twitter account was littered with the word faggot, and he called a friend a “Jew” for stealing a joke.

According to a story in Slate, Nevada Rep. Joe Heck’s son Joey “posted equally stomach-turning comments to his Twitter account. In addition to his repeated use of “faggot” and “nigga,” he made anti-gay and anti-Mexican remarks, saying NFL quarterback “[Mark] Sanchez can hop the border faster than he can throw the ball” and retweeted “There are gays everywhere. Maybe that’s gods way of thinning out the population because faggots can’t have babies.” Being a politically minded young lad, he also commented that ABC’s Martha Raddatz should not have been a presidential debate moderator because she’s a woman and that Mitt Romney made Barack Obama his “slave” in a presidential debate. Heck also said that Obama’s main accomplishments as president were promoting the sports of “spear chucking and rock skipping. The sports they do in his home country…”

Both politicians were quick to disavow the posts, offering weak “boys will be boys” explanations, but as the article detailed, both Flake and Heck come from the fever swamp precincts of the GOP.

The apples, as we used to say, don’t fall far from the tree. Those of us who are parents are aware–often painfully aware–of the myriad ways in which our attitudes and language shape our children.

As the old song from South Pacific put it, “You have to be taught to hate.”

We all know that there are people like Flake and Heck, filled with animus, and twisted in ways that are hard to fathom. There have always been such people, and I assume there always will be. The more troubling question is: how do they get elected? Are the donors and voters who support them oblivious to these attitudes? Or do they share them?


  1. These applies are still clinging tightly to the tree. The donors and voters who support them are well aware of these attitudes and are the ones who instilled them in their children, their constituents and anyone who will listen to their racist, bigoted, anti-Semite, anti-women, anti-health care, anti-poor anti-almost everything logical blatherings. Freedom of speech is not always a good thing; anymore than the gun-totin’ NRA supporters. They have always been with us and will always be here; like cockroaches who have survived for centuries. WE have to be stronger and sing louder to drown them out; we can only do this come election day – unless they are allowed to continue voter suppresion.

  2. Interesting, isn’t it, that haters forget that our President’s mother was white–as if that heritage doesn’t matter. I have concluded that–while there are people who disagree with President Obama on the issues–there are still others who attack him simply because of the color of his skin–and those “color” attacks make no sense to me at all.
    I agree that the donors and voters in Arizona and Nevada who support these bigots share their views–or are oblivious to them. Both scenarios are unacceptable.

  3. The parents, having some sense of decorum, know that you don’t parade that kind of stuff in public, but apparently they forgot that your kids reflect what they experience at home, and don’t have the sense to filter it. Kids often tell it like it really is. In any case, it appears that the people of those respective districts have elected the kind of representatives that they deserve, but they just didn’t understand the full ramifications.

  4. We know rotten apples when we see and smell them. How very pitiful that Flake’s and Heck’s children reflect such disgusting characteristics of their parents.

  5. I think it is fair to say that it is very likely that the large majority of the Flake and Heck constituencies share these views.

  6. These individuals in all likelihood reflect their parents’ views, at least to some extent. One can match policy positions of politician/father with miscreant/son and draw inferences. At some age, children become adults and, one would hope, acquire their own senses of what is right. Otherwise, people may have mistaken my father (who viewed Richard Nixon as the nation’s greatest president even after August 6, 1974) as a left-wing, pacifist.

  7. Oh my. I want to think that as much as there are disagreements among public officials, most of them have the good breeding and basic level of decency that they pass on to their children and peers. But this really makes my stomach turn and saddens me.

    Too bad it didn’t turn the stomachs of these Congressmen, but I’m guessing it turned the stomachs of many in both parties in Congress too. Both Congressman just lost more credibility all around.

Comments are closed.