Thursday, June 08, 2006

Kinda missing the point

Over at It's Matt's World, Matthew is upset that the Federal Marriage Amendment has again reared its ugly, spite-spewing head. Fortunately, not only did it not pass, but it is losing traction, even among Republicans. Today, he is surprised that "protecting" marriage will be a campaign issue this year.

I would suggest that he is missing the point. In a way, I don't think conservatives actually want the FMA to pass. Without periodic votes on it, you can't call your opponent anti-family or accuse him of being sympathetic to the homosexual agenda. This amendment is an excellent way for Republicans to distract the public from the war, and make it look like they are fighting for truth, justice, and the American way.

This is an incredibly emotional issue. It's not something that is even being discussed in a rational way. Actually, it's not something that's being discussed at all. It's just a hail of buzzwords, soundbites, and talking points. All you hear about is "protecting marriage," but never any explanation of how gays getting marriage damages the institution. What, are we running low on our supply of marriage? Are we in danger of wartime marriage rationing?

No, but this is an issue that is fundamentally grounded in moral values religious doctrine. People like to be on the side of right and goodness. So much so, that they will often behave in ways contrary to their own well being in order to be there. I imagine that it's much like why people enlist in the military. Not because going to Iraq is particularly good for your health, but because you believe in the cause.

Gay marriage is a good way for Republicans to get their base energized. They can show how much they are defending "good, Christian values," which distracts people from their policies that are only in the best interest of the rich and powerful, like the estate tax repeal. People will sacrifice their own welfare to do what is "right."

So don't expect to see the gay marriage issue going away any time soon. The good news is that I don't expect the FMA to pass anytime soon, either.

(Blogger appears to be having a nervous breakdown today, so I'm going to try this post-by-email thing. Here's hoping it works.)


Matthew said...


Not quite if my intelligence has been insulted or not, but I'll respond by saying that I don't think I've missed the point at all. Everything you've written in this post is stuff I'm well aware, and have written on my own blog over the course of its almost-three years on the web.

What I am engaging in is a tactic, of sorts. The most recent post I did was not conveying surprise, but instead a somewhat pretensed/somewhat sincere depression over the use of the FMA as a political ploy. I'm well aware why the GOP keeps bringing it up, but if I remind conservatives who read my blog that this is about real people, real couples and real situations, then possibly (hopefully) it might have some effect.

It's one thing when cons can talk and use buzz words about this in the abstract. It may be quite another to read someone's own personal reaction to it.

Perhaps I have too much faith in people's humanity, but there you go.

Missing the point, indeed...

Narc said...

Of course I'm not trying to insult your intelligence, and I'm sorry you thought that might have been the case.

It is just so frustrating to see your own kind tossed around as an example of all that is wrong with society today. It is positively exasperating when those that do so do not even actually actually oppose gay marriage out of a matter of principal -- as it seems Bush and Cheney may not.

And it is infuriating when the Right uses this issue to uphold a perceived "moral value" -- with only a symbolic benefit -- at the expense of the actual physical well-being of gay people.

The good news is that I don't think this will even be an issue in ten or twenty years. As the Boomers fade out of power, and Gen X or X++ take over, they will be a great deal more willing to recognize gay relationships.

Don't worry, if I ever want to insult your intelligence, you won't be in doubt. I can't really do subtle. :-)