The cynicism was knee-deep at the White House yesterday as the President extracted another convenient diversion from his political bag of tricks. Gay-bating has always been a familiar theme among conservatives and Bush is no exception. Feigning moral rectitude, he lashed out against the “activist judges” on the Massachusetts court who upheld the equal protection clause as it relates to gay marriage. Oddly enough, there was no mention of the “activist judges” who suspended the counting of votes in Florida during the 2000 election and “appointed” George W. as president.
He also directed his criticism at the “unlawful” wedding of gay couples in San Francisco. However, there wasn’t a word about the “unlawful” invasion of a defenseless nation or of the 10,000 innocent lives that were lost in the conflict.
Mr. Bush’s commitment to the “rule of law” must be a fairly recent development. We can be certain that the 650 occupants of Guantanamo Bay prison camp will be elated to hear of his sudden conversion. It could mean that they will be provided with the basic due process rights we associate with American justice. It might even mean that we can look into the cases of the 1,100 illegally detained Muslims after 9-11 and decide on proper compensation for their persecution.
The reality is, of course, that none of this is likely to happen. Bush and sidekick, Karl Rove, have been watching his numbers drop into the murk, and have decided to engage in the “culture wars.” The polls make gay marriage a safe undertaking, with two-thirds of the American public being strongly opposed. Bush knows he can put Democrats on their heels by seizing the bully pulpit and pointing the country away from the road to perdition.
We must preserve “the most enduring human institution,” the President pleads, knowing the issue will only divide the country further.
“Our nation must enact a Constitutional amendment to protect marriage in America,” drawing attention away from two failed adventures in the hinterland and an economy headed towards the reef.
This is where Bush really shines; one part folksy cowpoke, one part angry prophet. The people who put him in office love this performance; the sanctimony, the rage, the “God’s coming and boy is he pissed” routine. The rest of us are left sitting on our hands, marveling at this unparalleled fraud.
As for the amendment?
There’s something refreshingly straightforward about codifying discrimination instead of just practicing it.
MIKE WHITNEY can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org