Thanks to my dear friend Bob for inspiring me to write this week’s BWA. Newly elected Senator Jeff Flake (R – AZ) is a complicated fellow. He is staunchly anti-choice and was an active part of the nasty budget battles while in the House. He is also supportive of strong immigration reform and was one of only a handful of Republicans in the House to vote to overturn Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Right after joining the Senate, he voted against modest gun control legislation despite pleas from constituents impacted by the Tucson shootings. Basically, I was not able to understand this man at all.
Sadly, I suspect he is mortified at his son’s behavior and we are left wondering where did his son learn this horrific behavior.
Flake’s 15-year-old son, Tanner, recently gained some Internet notoriety for the following tweet:
To the faggot who stole my dirt bike from the church parking lot, I will find you, and I will beat the crap out of you.
Isn’t that just lovely. Is this common language found in church parking lots? If it is, we have another difficult conversation that needs to be had. That post led to increased scrutiny of the younger Flake’s online presence. The results? Finding an online game that he plays as n1ggerkiller; countless racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic posts where he freely uses the words “nigger” and “faggot”; calling Mexicans the “scum of the Earth;” and much more. There’s also a video where he pretends to commit suicide with a loaded gun.
Sen. Flake issued a very tepid apology, promising that he had “spoken with” Tanner. This pattern of behavior is far too disturbing to be satisfied with a simple non-pology. The Senator needs to look at his own behavior. Where did his son learn these things? What can be done in his household to ensure a real change? What lessons can he learn from this that will make him a better legislator?
For now, that apology is all we’re seeing. So much for “Family Values.” Here is where I must take three deep breaths and hope that Tanner gets the serious help he needs and I must believe he is capable of a transformative experience.