I've been reading and hearing (and even writing) thousands of exuberant words over the past week about "the will of the people," paeans to the way America's collective voice rang out clearly and defiantly last Tuesday. Many of us on the Left have exulted in an apparent return to reason by the average citizen - our happiness tempered only by the fact that it's taken that average citizen too damn long to catch up with what we've known from the start.
2,853 lives too long, to be exact.
Nevertheless, the midterm "sea change" is a reason to be proud of the American voter's innate (if slow to arrive) common sense. It's a sign of the fundamental intelligence and independence of our nation's inhabitants. It's a repudiation of the imperial and theocratic agenda pursued by the extremists who'd hijacked the Republican Party for over a decade.
Or so I've been told.
I'll admit, Dems didn't just flip Washington on its ear. Liberals swarmed into governors' mansions and state legislatures. Stem cell research was approved in Missouri, the draconian abortion ban was struck down in South Dakota, and minimum wage increases received a resounding "Yea" in all six states where they were offered.
There's just one problem, one not-so-little thing that stops me from joining in the celebration of that "will of the people." And don't get me wrong - I'd love nothing more than to think that Americans as a whole were finally getting the big picture, and realizing that the calendar reads "21st Century."
But those same voters on that same day voted in seven separate states to legislate discrimination against American citizens. Their neighbors. Their co-workers. Their sons and daughters. Their fellow human beings.
That same collective voice of "the people" was raised in arbitrary bigotry masquerading as "God's will." It was raised to marginalize and stigmatize. It was raised to label a specific group as strictly second-class, deserving of the most vile rumor and slander, undeserving of the same civil and cultural rights as a majority of Americans.
Oh sure, this particular expression of "will" is excused and explained in high-sounding, moralistic language, decked out in Biblical finery, and accessorized with words like "tradition" and "sanctity." But lets drop the bullshit, America. Let's cut to the chase.
If as a society we're going to continue to so inexcusably vote this way behind a curtain, then let's at least summon the nerve to publicly admit that in our juvenile, prurient, peeping Tom culture, opposition to same-sex marriage is about one thing, and one thing only:
The sex itself.
That's right - and don't even try to say it's something of a more noble nature. That electorate in which I'm supposed to feel some sense of pride and kinship has a knee-jerk (with emphasis on "jerk") reaction to the topic of gay marriage, a reaction which, at its core, is nothing nobler than a vivid mental image of the wedding night.
I mean, it just couldn't be anything else, could it - especially when every other "argument" against it is demonstrably ridiculous? A "threat" to heterosexual marriage? With gay-unions already widely prohibited and a divorce rate of almost fifty percent among those long-term couples that even decide to get married, it seems like same-sex matrimony is the least of the problems facing permanent wedded bliss.
Hey, it doesn't endanger my relationship. Certainly far less than that hot, energetic, rich young couple that just moved in down the block!
Protecting the children? Oh please. There's simply no statistical evidence to support the contention that the ultimate sexual orientation of children raised by gay parents in a loving, stable household differs in any way from those living in straight homes. Or do you actually believe that our current gay and lesbian citizens were all nurtured in same-sex environments?
And ask yourself, all you pious "defenders of our youth," when you can actually remember hearing about a child that's been abused, raped, beaten, tortured, starved, or killed by his parents in anything other than a heterosexual household?
If you're being honest, I'll bet you won't be able to recall even one.
"But God says so?" If we truthfully tally the permutations of "relationships" the heroes of the Bible have entertained, it becomes undeniably apparent that the Almighty has done more than a bit of flip-flopping - and that His* mind may not be made up just yet. Or do you actually presume to speak for the Big Kahuna these days?!
(*Note to the ladies: I'd generally opt for the gentler "Her," but on this topic 1) only a guy could switch definitions so often, essentially to justify his self-gratifying behavior toward women, and 2) only a guy could be so hypocritically stupid as to rail against same-sex unions by day, then pop in a DVD and cheer on some hot girl-on-girl or double-penetration action at night. With his wife and kids sleeping upstairs. Man-law!)
The demise of society? One need look no further than Massachusetts, where gay marriage has been legal for years, for a refutation of that most exaggerated of claims. Have divorces spiked in the Bay State while gays dash to the altar? Have straight marriage rates changed negatively, or disproportionately to the nation at large? Has society descended into chaos, or a state of wanton, orgiastic anarchy replete with rampant public buggery?
And yet it still took an admittedly debatable act of legislative trickery to protect same-sex marriage even there.
So I just don't get it, kids, and haven't for quite some time. And for that reason, it's hard to really believe that the American people are committed to - or deserving of - the American ideal. To demonize a segment of our own population over the mere mechanics of their lovemaking is so infantile and invasive that it should be mortifying to a country which dares to call itself "advanced" and "free."
When even South Africa begins to outshine the ol' Red White and Blue in extending rights to its gay and lesbian citizens, the time has come to reexamine that "will of the people" and call it what it is. South Africa for Chrissakes! If anyone had told me as a boy that we'd one day look to Johannesburg as a beacon of inclusiveness, I'd have sputtered with absolute incredulity as I laughed in his face.
Of course, I'd never have believed that the U.S. government would one day legalize torture or the denial of habeas corpus either.
As I said at the outset, I, too, have generated thousands of words celebrating the "will of the people" on November 7th. But until the attitude of the American voter toward our same-sex citizens shows some sign of change and maturity, I don't think I'll waste any more time praising that same voter's inherent wisdom, informed intelligence, or just plain ol' humanity.
Those qualities, unfortunately, are nowhere in sight.
After 25 years as a Post-Production Specialist in the greater New York/New Jersey area, Bob recently relocated to Orlando to continue his editorial business and begin Art Directing high-end commemorative magazines. He's been extensively involved (more...)