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

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Cat Fight

Cat Fight at the I’m Okay, You’re Not Corral
© 2009 Ross Williams

So have you heard about this? The runner up to the Miss America title gave a politically incorrect answer to the live-action essay question and it “may have cost her the crown”?

Miss California. I could have sworn that the term “Miss”, when used in reference to a female, was formally banned in California … Maybe not. They’re full of contradictions[1] there.

And correct me if I’m wrong[2], but isn’t the purpose of the essay question not to grade the answer, but to grade how well the contestant handles herself speaking extemporaneously on a random topic in public? By all accounts, she handled herself well – perhaps too well. As it turns out, she already had a fairly well-formed opinion on the topic.

Not that I’m accusing the contest judges of being prejudicial bigots or anything unfair like that. Besides, for the judge in question, it’s been done and it’s being done once again. It should go without saying that if he did indeed dock the young lady[3] from California for giving the “wrong answer” to a politically-charged, not to mention sanctimony-laced, issue, then he is indeed the prejudicial bigot he’s been called for years, and saying so is not unfair. Indeed not saying so is dishonest.

Now, I say all this and the simpletons who know what happened are going to draw convenient conclusions based not upon any facts, but upon their own prejudicial biases … because they’re simpletons, and that’s what simpletons do: leap to idiotic conclusions because it makes them feel good to do so. I am sitting here writing this, defending the young lady from California, and so therefore I must agree with her.

Just one problem … I don’t. Not even close.

In fact, I think she’s a pinhead. Between 60 and 75% of the country agrees with her[4], though, in varying degrees of stridence and that makes me part of the “politically correct” minority on this subject. I’m just in that part of the minority who doesn’t feel the need to declare anyone disagreeing with me to be immoral – though I will assert [and support] that when one’s disagreement is based upon false or dishonestly selected facts that they are rationalizing. As far as I can tell, the nonjudgmental portion of the minority to which I belong is a fairly exclusive sub-minority. Me and maybe as many as five others. …in the whole country.

But that’s only as far as I can tell. I haven’t actually made a detailed study.

At any rate, Miss California came in second after having been asked, and subsequently answering, this question, posed by the pseudo-celebrity, pseudo-journalist “blogger” named, pseudo-cleverly, “Perez Hilton”: “Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit? Why or why not?[5]

Her answer was along the lines that she was raised to believe that marriage was meant for a man and a woman, and so no, she did not ‘follow suit’. Though her actual answer was somewhat longer than this description of it, she said nothing which condemned the notion – and in fact said “it’s great” – just that she didn’t agree with it.

That’s pretty much exactly what she was asked: whether she agreed with it. And at the risk of repeating myself, her answer is not supposed to matter, but how she handles herself in off-the-cuff discussion does.

The wet-panty storm following this episode, though, is what truly baffles. Miss Massachusetts declared: “It's really hard to think that people still think that way.” Really? Around two-thirds of Americans think that way, cutting across all political, ethnic, racial, religious and class boundaries. You seriously need to get out more, toots.

Miss Connecticut said California should have considered the national audience. The same national audience of which two-thirds agree … not to belabor the point. Tell you what, Connecticut, you get together with Massachusetts up there since you’re neighbors and all, and go slumming in the real world. It oughta be an eye-opener. Don’t forget the cake.

Miss Vermont – and what is it about New Englanders? – averred: “I totally disagree with [her]. I have a very different perspective on gay marriage and I would have never said what she said." Well, that’s totally good, because if you disagree but said it anyway, then you would totally have been a liar. And that’s pretty much what everyone seems to be saying [after the fact] California should have done … lie.

How does lying fit in with the philosophy of the Miss America Pageant? I’m going to climb out on a limb and take a wild guess here and say: not well at all.

I may have spoken a trifle too soon; not everyone is advising Miss California to lie, actually; some are just calling her names no matter what she’d have said. Miss Massachusetts claimed: "She would've made herself look more like an idiot if she changed her mind." Well, duh.

California could only have been “more like an idiot” for lying if she was already an idiot for being honest with the “wrong answer”. Which suggests that something was up. This either means the question was a plant and the fix was already in[6], or the Thought Police are the next feature of the Department of Homeland Security. Neither option is comforting, frankly.

Massachusetts just loves to blabber: “I'm surprised that she would say it, knowing the demographic she was speaking to." Yes, indeed. The demographic of “America”, which supports man-woman marriage by roughly 2:1. Or did you mean the demographic she represents in California which, in a statewide referendum, just defeated a gay marriage bill by a sizeable margin. …which they blamed on the Mormons[7].

Pick a different line, Massachusetts. And … shut up, wilya? You aren’t good at this.

The award for mealy-mouthed ignorance goes to – interestingly – the winner: Miss North Carolina[8], who was asked the same question a few days after she won. I find ignorance such an admirable trait among the Fifteen Minute Fame crowd. Well, a typical trait, anyway. She vacillated: “…everyone should be able to enter into a civil union, where they're legally recognized as a couple and earn the same rights as a married couple. I'm not going to say whether or not I think it should be defined as marriage because that's up to our politicians and our elected officials."

Um. Sweetie? A “civil union” is getting married at the courthouse by a justice of the peace. It is still “married”; politicians haven’t a thing to say about it. The only reason the semantic quibble has come up at all is because there’s a significant number of religious dweebs, frequently from North Carolina I might add, who somehow think that if gay marriage becomes reality in their hometown, they will be forced to have those gay marriages take place in their churches[9]. Yet, how many of those churches have been compelled to marry non-members, or even members not-in-good-standing? Or, indeed, anyone they didn’t want to?

Short answer: none.

Long answer: not a god damned one of them. Not even the Catholic church, which has historical issues with divorce; they politely deny remarriage to those who never got the annulment, but they don’t have gargantuan hissy fits.

No church would be compelled to participate in any formality they didn’t want to. Learn this and learn it quick: There is no difference between ‘marriage’ and ‘civil union’. Cease the irrelevant blather.

We are a democratic republic, governed by a Constitution which puts our guiding principles and philosophies out in the open. If the majority of us want something to be a certain way – such as marriage being between a man and a woman – then that majority is entitled to get what they want.

…until it is shown – not asserted, not claimed, not histrionically demanded, but shown – that this Majority Will causes others to miss out on the same rights and privileges that the rest have. Such as the right to free association, inheritance, probate and divorce. At that point, it is the duty and obligation of our nation to say, “Oh, gosh, well, we never thought of it that way before, but you’re correct … you do have the right to be married.”

It has been shown repeatedly in the last several years that denial of marriage to those who are gay denies them rights routinely extended to others. This denial of equal rights violates Equal Protection.

Acknowledging this does not require anyone to like gay marriage, for requiring people to like something they don’t would deny those people their own rights to Liberty, Free Speech and/or Press, possibly their right to Freedom of Religion depending on the basis of their dislike, and just generally disqualifying their “freedom of conscience” which is at least as legitimate as the “right to privacy”. …which is also being trampled for those whose private opinions do not conform to, in this case, the very vocal and self-righteous minority who happen to be correct.

So you see, gay marriage aficionados, I am very, very comfortable advocating in favor of the issue that we both support, and in significantly more compelling ways than you’ve been able to muster, I might add. Yet virtually all those who support this notion are so god damned sanctimonious about it that they frankly don’t deserve the courtesy of respect. Come down off your faux-moral thrones and then we’ll talk politely. But not before.

And Miss California? you can come down off your cross, while we’re at it. You are now more relevant in losing the way you did than you could ever have hoped to be by winning. The religious talk-show circuit will be clamoring for you for years if not longer. If you play your cards right, not to mention invest wisely, you won’t have to work a day in your life. You’re going to pray for the arrogant asswipe who cornered you with that question? You should be thanking him; he’s obviously an agent of your god. That’d make him an angel, wouldn’t it?

The only – and I mean only – one to come out of this with clean hands because of a clean conscience is Miss Iowa: “I'm proud to say that our state has interpreted the Constitution to say that gays have the right to marry. Whether you agree with [her] or not, to be on national television and say exactly how you feel, it does take strength…

"People have blown it out of proportion

No kidding. Let’s leave it there.

[1] Among other things
[2] I’m not…so you can’t
[3] Wasn’t “lady” banned in California also?
[4] …depending on how the questions are phrased… This includes majorities of declared Democrats and declared Republicans, both, so Democrats have no claim to being fundamentally different from Republicans. Gee! Where have I heard that before?
[5] http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,517616,00.html
[6] And nothing in “Perez Hilton’s” past would make that possible at all … would it?
[7] Religious groups make historically uber-good scapegoats, nein?
[8] I am referring to all these young ladies by their Objectifying names, since the Miss America Pageant is itself an objectifying institution that strips away all individuality, humanity and uniqueness from the contestants. …or, at least that’s what I have been told to believe by those who wish to strip my individuality, humanity and uniqueness.
[9] They disguise it under the shinola of rendering “legitimacy” to marriages not sanctioned by their faith; “marriage” is a religious ceremony, they claim, and if gays can get “married” then their church is somehow beholden to alter its religious dogma accordingly. Yet not a single one of those denominations so opposed have any issue with rendering current “civil unions” as legitimately “married”, nor those “married” by other religious denominations. No church has had to jump through any liturgical hoops. They are in violation of the Ninth Commandment by maintaining this specific opposition. Ironic, ainnit?


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