Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Marriage for some; miniature american flags for others

Remember how, in the wake of 9/11, everyone was wearing flag pins and ribbons, or putting flags on their cars and all that? That irked me to no end. I hate ribbons and pins. If there were a ribbon to signify that beating children is wrong, and everyone wore one for "Don't beat children" day, and I worked at an anti-child abuse non-profit (as opposed to one of those slick, well-funded pro-child abuse non-profs), I still wouldn't wear it.

Anyways, what made it all the more insufferable was that, since I was a teller at a bank, I was constantly being asked by customers and coworkers why I wasn't wearing a ribbon. "Where's your ribbon?" they'd ask, as if I'd been clutching it to my heart while thinking about how much I love America, and accidentally dropped it behind the desk. "Here, have another one, dear." I'd just smile and say thanks. I didn't want to be that guy that starts ranting about how stupid ribbons and pins are. You know who I mean: the guy on the corner handing out Lyndon LaRouche flyers ("In such matters as those, there are apprentice game-masters, and there are also what is merely human wreckage reprogrammed as virtual devil dolls.") The one who thinks ribbons are a tool of the Illuminati to subvert 4-day simultaneous rotations of the cubic Earth.

The thing that really got me was that these same people that were putting miniature american flags on their cars were people that didn't vote; didn't register for jury duty; and didn't bother to read about local referendums. No, their civic duty was fully discharged when they sang "God Bless the USA" at the 9/11 prayer vigil.

That explains why I just shake my head when states pass one of those toxic marriage amendments, as Kansas did yesterday.

As a good federalist, I'm of the opinion that if the voters of Kansas want to ban gay marriage, it's their prerogative. I wouldn't if I were them, but whatever. The problem, though, is that the language of the marriage amendments doesn't just ban gay marriage: it bans civil unions, and probably bans a host of partnership benefits (the ability to put one's partner on one's insurance plan, for example) that could accrue to any non-married couple.

There's a double unconscionability: first, the drafters of the amendment know that the amendment goes far beyond the prohibition of gay marriage, yet they lie to the people and claim it just bans gay marriage. That's totally counter to responsible governance. The people, though, have no less an obligation to try to understand a law before they vote on it. In that sense, the citizenry and the media blew it. A responsible citizen should have asked, "What am I being asked to pass? What will its effects be?" Instead, they just waved their miniature american flags and voted for whatever.