Speaking, as y'all know, ain't our president's strongest suit. So I was kind of astonished when he spoke on May 15 and said some rather sensible things. Here's what he said:
"America needs to conduct this debate... in a reasoned and respectful tone. Feelings run deep on this issue, and as we work it out, all of us need to keep some things in mind. We cannot build a unified country by inciting people to anger, or playing on anyone's fears, or exploiting [this] issue... for political gain. We must always remember that real lives will be affected by our debates and decisions, and that every human being has dignity and value...."
I'll be damned. I was downright encouraged to learn that W doesn't believe it's right to play on anyone's fears or exploit issues for political gain because every human being has dignity and value-every human being, that is, unless that human being is a homo.
You see, when the G-Wizzle was getting all warm and fuzzy a few weeks back, he was talking about undocumented immigrants, who, one must surmise, are preponderantly straight hombres. I doubt he'd be so reasonable about a gaggle of drag queens flowing up from Mexico because exactly three weeks later he went on the air to encourage the Senate to pass a constitutional amendment that would deprive gays and lesbians of the right to marry. That's awfully civil of you, W. That doesn't sound a bit like exploiting a (non)issue for political gain at the expense of human dignity.
In promoting the so-called "Marriage Protection Amendment," W claimed that "marriage is the most fundamental institution of civilization and it should not be redefined by activist judges." Actually, property ownership is the most fundamental institution of civilization. But then, for the majority of recorded history in most cultures, wives were property. Maybe the "activist judges" to whom W referred are those radical freethinkers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries who set about handing out rights to women. A similar sort of activist judges sparked some rancor two generations later when they started striking down race laws, the traitors.
Two days earlier, in his radio address, W made a similar claim: "Ages of experience have taught us that the commitment of a husband and a wife to love and to serve one another promotes the welfare of children and the stability of society." If you were to ask sociologists, anthropologists and historians, I think they would tell you fairly resoundingly that the promotion of the nuclear family as an ideal is a rather recent development that arose to serve the interest of the bourgeois class in the age of early capitalism. The promotion of that ideal has all but destroyed, in just two centuries, the traditional extended family that provided far better for the welfare of children and the stability of society.
But then, W wasn't speaking to sociologists, anthropologists and historians. He was speaking to a room full of likeminded boneheads including, as the cameras showed, at least one priest. A notoriously butch breed of cat, those priests. It makes sense to me that "celibate" (yeah, right), soft-handed cross dressers should be among the authorities to whom the president of the United States turns for guidance on the institution of marriage. If he wants advice on the environment, he should consult ExxonMobil. Oh wait, he did that already.
Now, on a serious note, who are the 50 percent of Americans who apparently give a shit about who gets married to whom? What the hell? We've got more than a few things we should be awfully concerned about, and who marries Tom, Dick or Priscilla is not among them. What are you people afraid of? Don't tell me you're not afraid. That's exactly what your support of a gay-marriage ban is about. It's not about the sanctity of this, that or the other. It's about your fear of difference and your fear of something you don't really want to talk about. W knows this and he knows that the distraction topic of gay marriage is nothing but a tactic to get rednecks to the polls. W's retarded, but he's not stupid.
The rest of us, on the other hand-well, sorry, folks, but at least half of us are too stupid to pour piss out of a boot. I was married once. For four years I wore my wedding ring on the wrong finger because I married the wrong damn woman. I haven't ever been in a civil union with a woman, a man, a goat or even a nice warm bottle of hand lotion. I don't know what civil unions are. But I do know what marriages are, and as institutions go, they're no more enduring than my pledge to quit smoking. Suffering, bitter resentment, expense and guarded distrust-these things endure. Marriages, most of them anyway, don't.But something else also endures-love. Love, faith, commitment, trust, hope, optimism, warmth, comfort, partnership-those are things that deserve our respect, and they are things that deserve the protection of law in an advanced society. You don't have to go next door and hang out in the bedroom of your gay neighbors at night. But you do have to leave them alone, and you do have to permit them the same right to aspire to those lofty, perhaps unreachable but still admirable, ideals that all of us prize. And if that aspiration leads to marriage, you have to permit it, support it and defend it. You have to stop invoking your own sexual tastes as an excuse to deride an entire class of our citizenry and to perpetuate a culture of intolerance and exclusion that makes our nation the bane of truly advanced civilizations. And when I say "you," I mean you, W, and the rest of you. You know who you are.
Tony Phillips blogs at www.fifthavenuegazette.com. Write to fifthavenuegazette[at]yahoo[dot]com and editor[at]SDcitybeat[dot]com.