Monday, March 27, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Who is the most loathsome living human being?

May 27, 2022

It’s well known that as a species, humans are worse than dogs. But why must homo sapiens be so intent on proving it over and over again?

Robert Kahn

By Robert Kahn

Deputy editor emeritus, Courthouse News

Who is the most loathsome living human being? Until this week, I would have said Vladimir Putin. But today I think we can all agree that Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar is just as bad.

I know what you’re thinking: “What about Narendra Modi, Viktor Orbán, Jair Bolsonaro, Rodrigo Duterte or Andrzej Duda? Or Donald Trump?”

Loathsome, all of them, I admit. All have been willing to condone and incite murder and lie about it. But for short, pithy vomitousness, they’ll have to lie even harder to rival Putin or Gosar.

Putin, of course, is a mass murderer, who claims he had to do it, to “de-Nazify Ukraine.” From its Jewish president. That’s three Big Lies in one sentence.

But Gosar, a neofascist Republican whose own family abhors him, fit four Big Lies into four words this week, for no reason at all — other than to send a message to other fascists — after a native-born teenager murdered 19 children and two schoolteachers in Texas.

Gosar called the shooter — who murdered children and teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde on Tuesday after shooting his own grandmother in the face — a “transsexual leftist illegal alien.”

How long, O, Lord, how long?

Let’s clear a few things up.

The 18-year-old murderer, Salvador Ramos — dead now: thank you, Lord — was neither transsexual, leftist, illegal nor an alien.

He was born male and stayed that way; he was a right-wing racist, not a leftist; he was not an “illegal alien”: He was born in North Dakota, according to a Texas state senator who had access to police reports. Fifteen of the first 16 child victims who were identified had Hispanic surnames.

Why, then, would Gosar, a five-term congressman in Arizona’s 4th Congressional District, spew these hate-filled inflammatory lies about Latinos on the very day that so many children were slaughtered in a schoolroom?

To spread hate and bigotry, of course, in the belief that would somehow entrench himself in power. And aside from being a loathsome liar and fascist, Gosar is a coward. He deleted his racist, sexist tweet two hours after he posted it.

I know quite a bit about Arizona’s congressional districts, particularly the 4th. It’s no secret that western Arizona is what we presume to call “conservative” today. The 4th District’s 33,200 square miles of territory are larger than 12 U.S. states and account for 29% of the land mass of Arizona; its population is so scattered, though, that it includes only 11.6% of Arizona residents. It was carved out of the old 4th District after the 2010 census, in which the 4th District became the newly created 7th District.

The old 7th District was the safest Democratic district in Arizona until that partition. The relatively new 4th — Gosar’s district — today is the safest Republican congressional district in the state, and one of the safest Republicans districts in the entire West. It is 70% White, though the old 7th District was majority Latino.

Now, residents of today’s 4th District have a tough row to hoe: extreme drought and heat, geographical isolation, and a median household 16% below the national median. What I will always remember from my forays into the 4th District is the year I took my high-school cross-country team to the Buckeye Invitational.

We were a little school from an Indian reservation. And we kicked ass against Anglo teams that day. As the scores were being totted up, one of my runners suffered a seizure. I ran lickety-split to the meet director, seeking medical help. I dragged him over to see my runner, seizing and twitching on the ground, his eyes rolled back, fingers stiff and paralyzed.

And do you know what that white man did? He laughed at me, and at my runner, and walked away.

Am I saying that white man was racist? Yes.

Am I saying that the residents of Arizona’s 4th are racist? No.

I’m just telling what I saw. I’m telling you the sort of people Gosar was playing to when he posted that vile, racist statement. Then tried to erase it.

“All I care to know is that a man is a human being — that is enough for me; he can't be any worse.”
— Mark Twain

Subscribe to our columns

Want new op-eds sent directly to your inbox? Subscribe below!