I wish sincere good luck to Mr. Lang; he's going to need it.
An hour or so ago, Luis Lang, who earlier today announced his support of Single Payer healthcare and his decision to leave the Republican Party (specifically over their obstruction of the Affordable Care Act) posted the following update on his GoFundMe account:
I would like for all of my wonderful supporters to go to this link; this has been the first reporter that has told my side correctly. Now to put things straight I never said that I did not like or blamed president Obama for what has happened. In fact both me and my wife have very close friends that are gay. And they are upset by some of the comments by people who have never met us and passing judgment on us. Also like I said in the interview I would like to rip up my voters registration on tv. I have reach out to msnbc and abc in new york and waiting for them to call me back. In the mean while if you would call them and demand that they put it on national tv it might help. Either way as soon as I know when it will happen I will post it here to let you know. Please go to the link so what I am saying will make sense to all.
I'm not sure where the "gay friends" issue came into play; it sounds like some of the comments went a wee bit off-topic. Also, when he says that he'd like to "rip up his voter registration on TV", from the ThinkProgress interview it sounds like he's actually referring to his Republican Party membership card, as South Carolina does not require party identification for voter registration. Beyond that, this is still a dramatic turn of events.
As I noted at the time, one thing which has come out of this twist is my pondering whether I owe Mr. Lang an apology for my own screeds against him over the past week or so. After thinking it through, I just left the following message on Mr. Lang's GoFundMe page:
I donated a few bucks to you early on...but also wrote several blog entries which, quite frankly, tore you to shreds over what certainly seemed, by all evidence presented from the articles and even the follow-up interviews, to be incredible hypocrisy. Needless to say, I'm thrilled beyond words at your announcement today. IF the various articles/interviews truly did distort your actual views, than I apologize to that extent.
With that in mind, I do want to offer one piece of advice:
Whatever nasty comments progressives/liberals have been leaving (while also actually at least providing the funding for your medical needs) are nothing compared to the bile and vitriol you're likely to face from the GOP/conservatives starting tomorrow due to what they'll paint as a "betrayal" etc etc.
Be Prepared and stand strong against them. I wish you well.
Seriously. Consider this: Mr. Lang was (until today) not just a lifelong Republican, but lives in South Carolina. He's just very publicly announced that he's not only renouncing their party, but is doing so specifically due to the one issue (well, besides Benghazi, I suppose) which they've obsessed over attacking more than any other for the past 5 years: The Affordable Care Act. OBAMACARE!!!
I couldn't help but remember "Adriana", the woman in the home page photo on Healthcare.Gov in 2013 (when the site launched and had horrible technical issues). She was just a pleasant-looking lady who agreed to have her photos used on the site (she wasn't even paid for it). They tore her to shreds.
The smiling woman who was once the face of the Affordable Care Act's website has come out of the shadows to stand up to the "cyberbullying" she says she suffered after the law's flawed kickoff.
Speaking exclusively to ABC News, Adriana, who asked that only her first name be used, said she was speaking out now to defend herself after weeks of enduring online lampooning.
"They have nothing else to do but hide behind the computer. They're cyberbullying," Adriana told ABC News' Amy Robach.
How about Jeremy Glick, the son of a 9-11 victim who appeared on the Bill O'Reilly show, only to have O'Reilly berate and humiliate the kid?
Don't forget Sandra Fluke, who was called a "slut" by Rush Limbaugh because she (rightly) supported requiring contraception to be covered by health insurance policies.
In those cases, it was someone who was already left-leaning or of unknown political leanings. Now think about how angry these people will get when they find out that "one of their own" has turned on them...in the deep South...over an issue which they hate with such a passion.
I was quite serious when I said that I wish Mr. Luis strength over the coming weeks. I suspect he's going to need it.
On a related note, I should also mention the obvious parallels between Mr. Luis' announcement today and the viral video from a month ago posted by James Webb, a self-described "Tea Party Patriot" who openly mused about considering voting for Hillary Clinton next year...specifically because he's afraid of having the ACA repealed if a Republican wins the White House.
As it happens, a few days later Mr. Webb changed his tune, which I had actually suspected might happen. Why? Perhaps he really did decide his earlier consideration was wrong...or perhaps he was bullied by his friends/family into "coming back into the fold" etc.
Either way, the fact that people like Webb (a die-hard Tea Party self-described "gun lovin' Good Ol' Boy" type) and Lang (lifelong Republican in a deep red state) are even making declarations like these (whether they follow through with them or not) is pretty significant...especially given that the reason for their change of heart was none other than "Obamacare".