This morning, Vice President Mike Pence embarked upon the uncomfortable task of not only swearing in Doug Jones as Alabama’s first Democratic Senator in a quarter century, but standing alongside his gay son, Carson Jones.
The young Jones posted a photo of his father being sworn in while staring daggers at the Vice President on his Instagram account. In a telling move, he captioned the photo with the hashtag “#nocaptionneeded.”
The photo definitely speaks for itself.
Pence, the fierce conservative and virulent homophobe, has been outspoken in his opposition to gay rights. He signed Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law, allowing businesses to discriminate against LGBT customers for religious purposes. He has signaled support for the decidedly inhumane practice known as conversion therapy, has voted to define marriage as only between a man and a woman, and has claimed that LGBT military service amounts to “social experimentation.”
Pence’s presence, however, did not stop Carson from celebrating his father’s historic occasion.
“I am obviously thrilled with my dad’s victory,” he said. “We have been overwhelmed by the support of so many people that made this happen. Alabama made a really big statement that unity wins out. I couldn’t be prouder of him or my home state!”
Mike Pence was forced to confront the embodiment of progress today. He should know that the draconian, backwards policies he espouses are among the very reasons that Alabamans rejected the Republican Party in one of the most conservative states in the country.
Progress came face-to-face with bigotry today and looked it right in the eye – and America loved it.