June 2006 Archives

HEY "W," I GOT YOUR AMENDMENT RIGHT HERE!

Even for those of us who consider politics the world’s greatest spectator sport, the Bush crowd has long since ceased to be funny, but, by golly, they haven’t stopped being predictable. In the wake of 9/11, they could be counted on to denounce anyone who criticized them or their profiteering pals at Halliburton or EXXON Mobile as an Osama bedfellow. These days, however, any reference to the “war on terror” is simply a reminder of what a mess they have made of it, and real conservatives have had a gut full of Bush’s bloated, don’t-tax-but-spend-and-snoop-like-hell government. Just as the only audience certain to offer a Watergate-besieged Richard Nixon a polite welcome was at the Grand Old Opry, the only constituency likely to show much enthusiasm for “W” these days is on the religious right. I doubt they’d appreciate the analogy, but the Revs. Dobson, Falwell, Robertson, etc. are for the Republicans the equivalent of the consistently compliant girl that hyper-horny adolescent males of my generation used to pick up after they’d taken their regular dates home, not respectable enough for prime time, but plenty good enough for a behind-the-Dairy Queen quickie. Hence, hoping to divert attention from a presidency for which “failed” has become much too polite a euphemism --I understand that the White House has been flooded with “thank you” notes from suddenly proud descendants of the likes of perennial presidential scrap-heapers like Warren Harding and Franklin Pierce—our president has decided that we should cease and desist in our hand-wringing over Iraq or our anger over gas prices that amount to highway robbery before we get on the highway. Instead, we should focus on the critical need for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage .
One need not favor legal recognition of same-sex unions to furrow one’s brow at this. Observant Georgians may note that after a lackluster first term, our governor wants to boost his own re-election prospects by re-writing such a ban into our state constitution. Likewise, as he demonstrated in the Terri Schiavo affair, Senate Majority leader Bill Frist is willing to pander to absolutely anybody who might support his desperate campaign to make himself look presidential. By current standards, of course, he’s already there, but, taking no chances, Frist insists that legal and constitutional bans in 45 states are not sufficient to guard us against the insidious menace of gay marriage. Anybody who believes that if the situation were reversed, Frist and his cohort wouldn’t be yelling “state rights” at the top of their collective lungs should go back and read the arguments against the Nineteenth Amendment which granted the vote to women or, more recently, the ill-fated Equal Rights Amendment. Ironically, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who had supported the amendment in 2004, cited his concerns about protecting state rights as he joined six other Republican Senators in voting against it (and thus denying it even simple majority approval) on June 7.
Many supporters of the proposed constitutional ban on gay unions are doubtless acting out of sincere moral conviction, but then so were many of those who pushed through the Eighteenth Amendment prohibiting the “manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors.” Remember how that worked out?
If we are going to start tinkering with the constitution every time we encounter a surge of politically manipulated moral and ideological fervor, then I believe current polling data fully supports an amendment banning presidential misrepresentations that lead to the needless slaughter and maiming of thousands of young Americans. Wonder how that one would play with the folks like Bush, Perdue, Frist, Falwell, and others who denounce “activist judges” and insist that the constitution should always be a reflection of “popular” will?

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