Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Past imperfect

Anna Quindlen writes in the current Newsweek about Loving V. Virginia, the mostly forgotten 1967 Supreme Court opinion that "Marriage is one of the basic civil rights of man" thereby ruling against the Racial Integrity act of 1924. Of course we consider a ban on interracial marriage a bit archaic today, even though the fundamentalists who told us that since God had "separated the races" we shouldn't allow them to mix are still here and telling us what God wants and damn the Constitution and its heretical equal protection clause. It's probably what they mean by "Judicial activism" when they complain about the Supreme Court of the 1960's, but of course our constitution was specifically designed to thwart the impositions of religious institutions; impositions that are still the backbone of Conservative culture.

Does anyone sane still think the purpose of our government is to enforce sectarian rules as interpreted by self appointed mullahs? Apparently so. Karl Rove sets forth in the same issue to tell us that in reconstituting the Republican party, the values traditional to people who traditionally oppose any concept of freedom other than their own freedom to impose rules, should absolutely never be compromised. Can we really separate the "conservative culture" he champions from the long standing tyrannical opposition to things as diverse and numerous as "Misogyny," Women's suffrage, the five day work week, segregation or Social Security? Can Republicans seriously consider themselves to be the "Party of Lincoln" when Lincoln was a Liberal willing to ignore biblical tolerance for slavery?

The Social Conservatism of Karl Rove, whether or not it's a smokescreen hiding the dragon of tyranny, is outmoded and has been abandoned by countries along with fundamentalist religiosity and bigotry toward social minorities. In fact it's obvious that much of the world has begin to recognize the freedom of people to define their own family relationships, make domestic contracts and partnerships as they see fit. So far, despite the Fallwellian demagoguery, nothing bad has happened and isn't likely to happen when we catch up with the Canadians, as eventually we will do.

Republicans should come across ( not necessarily be) as morally serious, says Rove, although Rove has long demonstrated that victory is the root of morality. What escapes him is that the Constitution of this country protects me against other people's moral seriousness when it comes to the rights it guarantees. What escapes him is that his vision of a reconstituted party is a party still attached to the losing side of history.
"We can't just dwell on the past" says Rove without any apparent sense of irony. "The Future is already here."
Indeed it is and I'm hoping that the conservative impulse toward clinging to that past is part of the past, and that Karl Rove and the other enemies of liberty and personal responsibility are not part of the future.


Buffalo said...

I'm with you.

Capt. Fogg said...

Thanks for that - I've had some really angry comments about marrying your dog and other nonsense on another blog - The Reaction - where this was posted.

RR said...

One of your best posts CF...

How people can preach piety while denying rights to a minority is simply evil... It cannot be ignorance or stupidity since the implications are so obvious.

Capt. Fogg said...

I think it's in the very nature of religions to deny what some of us consider the natural rights of man. Our country was founded by people who agree with that and it's been under attack by those who disagree ever since.

Religion hates freedom and always will.

Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

11 25 08

Hello Cap'n Fogg:
Long time no see and I agree with you on so many levels here. The Loving case really codified marriage as a RIGHT and those assholes who say they believe in strict constructionism and precedent, whenever the Constitutiion omits something are fulla crap!

I may feel personally weirded out by gay marriage, although have gays in my close circle of friends. But if they wanted me to come to their wedding or commitment ceremonies I would. We cannot deny the rights of some to appease the morality of others. That is bad policy making. And the only opponents of the gay marriage thingie voiced appeals to tradition only, precisely what banned legal interracial marriage.

I DO disagree that religion hates freedom. I feel as though religion can be both tyrannical at its worst and liberating at its best. Black Americans using Liberation Theology had faith and it was the tenants of this faith that were used in the civil rights movement, along with turning the other cheek.

I never got the turning the other cheek thingie though;)

Capt. Fogg said...

It has been a long time and I do remember you. Thanks for the comment.

People do get something beneficial or at least something soothing out of religion, but religions with a punishing God often force people to punish others. The Constitution certainly was designed to keep religious tests, religious mandates and other religious requirements out of the law -- and vice versa. Despite the confected objections to gay or interracial marriages, the real objection is religious.

It's not just freedom; religion generally hates social progress as it teaches that absolute truth and absolute morality were received long ago and are not open to discussion much less to improvement.

Yes, you can get the theology of liberation out of the Bible and yes, that is a belief that does accept change as part of a divine plan and it does allow hope in frustrating times. I just wish people who think Man's destiny is to be free, as our founding fathers did (hypocritical as some may have been) would grant that their own particular struggles aren't the whole picture and that other people wish to be free of religious domination as well as social, political and economic domination is also valid.

I should point out that the irony of the excuse that gay marriage will destroy all marriage is almost painful to me -- I'm part of an interracial marriage and the only danger to it was from the religious demagogues who once made it a felony. Somehow I doubt that whatever Adam and Steve do, it would diminish my marriage.