Monday, May 21, 2012

The Wrong Side of History

History hates bigots, because bigots never look better with age.  Do we look fondly on Segregation? Jim Crow laws? The Southern Manifesto? Women denied the right to vote?  This is just the 20th Century in the U.S.  The best defense anyone can muster is, "that was a different time," as if if saying, "Yeah, I know they were outright bigots then and were dead wrong, but a lot of people were like that then."

That legacy plays out in the political arena on two fronts. First is with President Obama, who if you really look at it, embodies the greatest of America.  He has lived the American Dream, a dream many detractors lament as a myth.  Yet with him it's true. A mixed child of a single mom on public assistance who goes to Harvard and becomes president of the sole remaining super power.  Those who believe in American supremacy should be lauding him, but of course, they seek to tear him down at every turn. That's the great irony of the GOP today.  It's not just policy difference.  They hate him, they deny he's American, or a Christian, they make him into the black boogie man like their predecessors in history have done to the proverbial "other." When my young children grow up and their children, they will look on them as we look on the segregationists now. They are on the wrong side of history.

Then there is the issue of marriage.  Yes, those against "gay" marriage are bigots. There is no way around it.  Marriage is a civil institution, just like getting a driver's license, or work permit.  The government cannot legislate religious morality.  Any push for equal marriage has been civil.  No one can force a priest, rabbi, or cleric to officiate a marriage between two men or women.  Religious institutions, preciding over a religious ceremony, can decide who they conduct those ceremonies for. That is the separation of church and state. But somehow, the U.S. Conference of Bishops and other religious leaders are up in arms over gays getting married by a government official, which makes no real sense.  They appear to have no problem with aethiests and Satan worshippers getting married, so long as they're straight.  Gay marriage doesn't affect straight marriage, but the religiously leaders still push against it, leading to that ridiculous vote in North Carolina.  A majority should not vote on the rights of the minority.  Otherwise, would segregation have ended?  The Supreme Court and the U.S. Congress ended it, not the voting public because that public would have likely voted to keep it in place.

There's many reasons I'm proud to live in New York, one of them that one of the last vestigious of inequality has been done away. It was up to the state legislature to do that, to protect the rights of the minority. That is democracy, because it protects against mob rule.  Those against it arel surely on the wrong side of history.

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