Writing on the Double Yellow Line

Militant moderate, unwilling to concede any longer the terms of debate to the strident ideologues on the fringe. If you are a Democrat or a Republican, you're an ideologue. If you're a "moderate" who votes a nearly straight party-ticket, you're still an ideologue, but you at least have the decency to be ashamed of your ideology. ...and you're lying in the meantime.

Location: Illinois, United States

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Winning Without Whining

Winning Without Whining
© 2006 Ross Williams

The Senate won't be passing any "gay marriage ban" amendment any time soon. This is good news for any number of reasons.

First, the whole subject is a phenomenal waste of time and effort – which translates into taxpayer dollars. As a taxpayer who pays more taxes than most, I object first for financial reasons, and my objection therefore ought to carry more weight.

Second, it's yet another attempt to usurp a state's jurisdiction and carry it kicking and screaming into federal territory – as if we don't have enough federal take-overs already. I object to this, as well. If a state wants to allow gay marriage, then that’s the state’s business; if the next one down the road doesn’t, that is again their business. And their business must pass their voters’ muster.

Third, it's arguably – along with the once and future "flag burning" amendment, which is not what the title implies – an attempt to subordinate a potpourri of Bill of Rights rights under another amendment; specifically and to wit: association, property, liberty, and equal protection. Because a majority of We the People find homosexuality icky, that majority seems unwilling to extend homosexuals equality and lend official sanction.

I object all the way around.

The measure failed on what is called a "cloture" vote. Our 100 Senators voted 49-48 [political math] to not bring the measure up for a vote. In other words, they voted not to vote, this being one of the many ways that parliamentary nonsense can allow our politicians to avoid having to take a stand on anything controversial. No one voted for or against gay marriage; they simply voted on whether or not to vote on gay marriage. Controversy once-removed[1].

Not that there is much controversy in the subject of gay marriage. Depending upon the wording used in the various opinion polls being taken, We the People are against gay marriage with majorities between 60% and 75%. Since we're a democracy and all, you'd think that would settle it.

It doesn’t; because interestingly 60% to 70% also do not want a whole Constitutional Amendment to be written about it.

Most of us also do not like the idea of some self-superior college-age twit thinking his two semesters of parent-paid college edumacation is the equivalent of real life and burning a US flag to light the path to his petulance – but we don't want an entire Constitutional Amendment to control this weenie. There's such a thing as proportional response. Try cutting off his allowance first.

The majority of Americans is against gay marriage; the majority is also against formally banning gay marriage. We are a democracy. So what's it mean when the majority doesn't like something, but doesn't want it prohibited?

It means leave it alone. It means it'll sort itself out in the end without the ham-fisted attenuations of government intrusion. It means we might have learned [one of the many available] lessons from civil rights[2] and are willing to allow society to grow on its own as it will.

My, aren't we the mature citizenry!

Actually, no we aren't. We are peevish and self-righteous, no matter which side of the issue we're on. We have a democracy; rather, a republic guided by democratic philosophy. And what the majority wants the majority ought to have. But we're a constitutional democracy [yadda yadda], and we aren't allowed to unfairly impose on minorities while enacting majority will. Okay, fine. That's great. All the major pedantic quibbles are thus addressed.

So some people are trying to get the federal government to prevent homosexual adults from having the same rights to association as heterosexual adults have; the same rights to property that are vested in marriage that ditto. The "same" being denied is a transparent violation of Equal Protection. Et cetera. The reasoning is varied; some is religious, some is strictly personal. It hardly matters.

But the "I can do something you can't do" is a phenomenally immature stance to take. Not that immaturity is out of bounds in politics. It is what it is. And what it is is the political equivalent of any two kindergarteners bickering over any number of highly contentious issues. Such as who gets to use the blue crayon.

Immature though it may be, the kindergarteners who wish to stamp their tiny widdow feet and tell gays they’re the only people not allowed to get married and have the joys of probate and divorce courts are allowed to stamp their feet. And that’s no different from the other kindergarteners who wish to stamp their own tiny widdow feet and tell smokers they can’t smoke in public; … drinkers they can’t drink in public; … horse slaughterers they can’t sell slaughtered horses to Frogland; … goose-fatteners they can’t make pâté; … skateboarders they can’t skateboard; … electrical utilities they can’t build a nuclear power plant; … farmers they can’t use chemical fertilizers; … et-freaking-cetera.

We all do this, every one of us. It is political immaturity; an attempt to finagle a despotism from majority will. All are guilty, no one’s hands are clean. So let’s stop with the pretense.

Since this is a democracy [yadda yadda] with rights available to all to have laws we’re comfortable with, the immature kindergarteners who want to stamp their tiny widdow feet and tell gays they can’t get married have every bit the justification to do so as those other immature kindergarteners who would rather stamp their tiny widdow feet and tell smokers they can’t sell horse meat to the pâté-eating, beaujolais-swilling Frogs. …who may or may not be on skateboards – le board au skatois.

We’re immature when we try to control others doing merely offensive or self-destructive activities in what is supposed to be a free society. That’s hardly debatable. Hi; My name is Ross, and I am a democracist.

Now it’s you’re turn at the podium, every single one of the three-friggin-hundred million others in this country.

So when we whine about, say, horse slaughterers slaughtering horses to sell to Frogs, we’re being immature. If someone buys a horse, it’s his to do with as he pleases. Right to property. Look it up.

What of the horse slaughterers, though? What of the skate-boarders? What of the smokers?

When these people come face to face with the majorities who do not like what they do, they have a few options. The first option is to say, “oh, I’m sorry, I’ll try to keep it over here” and then do so. The second is to have a hissy fit and claim, “You’re picking on me, because you don’t try to tyrannize other people who have disgusting habits!! you… democracist, you!!”

Oh, yeah, poor smoker. No one has ever been told they’re disgusting and should hide away from polite society ever, ever before.

Grow up.

And when you’re done growing up, get to the back of the line, because there are many, many people ahead of you. And – dig this – many of those ahead of you are the ones carping about your smoke. You see, we’re all in this line. Some of us are in this line multiple times.

So when a woman says “you just don’t get it” my first thought is to laugh in her face. I’m in line so many times that my split personalities are subdivided, and I could generate a whole laugh-chorus. The only thing is: I’m not in line for “woman”. I’m in line, though, for “man”.

And when the homosexual says, “we just want the same rights you straights take for granted”, I who enjoy a beer, say “damn straight: let me walk down the street drinking a nice, warm stout.” And I, who get a stiff back after driving with a seat belt inexorably tugging and contorting the same lower back that was injured several years ago and which, if I’ve driven too long, lays me up for the next day, think “double damn straight! I’d like to drive down the road and not have some sanctimonious cop a little too big for his britches stop me and conclude that, well, the Constitution doesn’t contain the word ‘automobile’ so the 4th Amendment doesn’t apply while I’m in one.”

Those would be swell. But, gay guy, get behind me. As it were. Everybody is being denied rights in this country. Without exception. Even the miserable, outright bigots who specifically want to deny you your rights to be married because they are small-minded cretins are being denied rights.

And I’d suggest that the first right they are being denied is the right to say, in public and without penalty, that they want to deny someone his rights. For one of the things that us monumentally immature people have done in this country recently is made being offensive in public a punishable offense. Officially, or otherwise; universally or in select environments.

Don’t think so? Use the word nigger sometime. Publish the Danish Dozen. Deny the Holocaust. Burn the US flag in front of the VFW on Memorial Day. Dress in black-face for a costume party. Wear fur in Hollywood. Drink in public. Smoke almost anywhere, now. Skateboard on the sidewalks. Refuse to wear seatbelts, or remove your shoes at the airport.

When any of these people can do those things without hassle and without censure, only then will we be mature enough to accept freedom with all its assorted warts. And only then will homosexuals have a leg to stand on when they insinuate that everyone else has their full battery of rights.

Until then, though, gays who want to be married are just one in the crowd. And, like children who are precious to their parents and annoying to strangers on the street, the issue of gays being married is special mainly to gays who want to get married. To most others it is impertinent.

It is so impertinent to most others that it’s only when asked if they like they idea that they say “no, I don’t”. But they don’t dislike it so much that they want to prohibit it.

Which means they don’t care. This is a victory, folks. Accept it without whining.

[1] Sergeant-at-Arms, please remove Controversy from the chamber…
[2] Plessey is equal protection; no it's not, Brown is; no it's not, let's have quotas and set-asides to create "equal", and oooo! what about forced busing?


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