Rick Santorum Borrows Campaign Slogan From Pro-Union Poem Written By Gay Rights Advocate

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"Rick Santorum Borrows Campaign Slogan From Pro-Union Poem Written By Gay Rights Advocate"

Earlier today, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) announced that he will begin fundraising for a presidential run using the campaign slogan “Fighting to make America America again.” This eloquent turn of phrase, however, was not invented by Santorum. It is borrowed from the title of a pro-union, pro-racial justice, and pro-immigrant poem written by Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes — “Let America Be America Again”:

O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home–
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?

For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay–
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again
The land that never has been yet–
And yet must be–the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine–the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME–

While Hughes is best known for his poetic cries for racial and economic justice, he was also a staunch defender of gay rights. His poem “Cafe: 3 a.m.” criticizes a police raid on a gay establishment, attacking the injustice of arresting gay people because “God, Nature, or somebody made them that way.” Santorum, by contrast, is best known for spouting a frothy mixture of anti-gay rhetoric comparing same-sex couples with people who have sex with dogs.

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