Saturday, February 22, 2014

Party like it's 1964

If you haven't been so immersed in sports and entertainment that you haven't read or listened to the news, you probably know about the rash of  state level legislative efforts to affirm the "right" of business owners to refuse service to people whose private lives include amorous proclivities inimical to religious bigots.  Yes, if you won't give a glass of water to a thirsty homosexual person you're a bigot and most definitely not the sort of Christian who credits the canonized teachings of Jesus. If you don't agree, I maintain the right to call you a bigot anyway and worse, actually. 

"I think anybody that owns a business can choose who they work with or who they don't work with, but I don't know that it needs to be statutory. In my life and in my businesses, if I don't want to do business or if I don't want to deal with a particular company or person or whatever, I'm not interested. That's America. That's freedom."  

Said Arizona governor Jan Brewer, obviously a Republican, who has not yet signed the bill and  has, to her credit, vetoed a previous effort. The question of course is whether freedom really means the right to do anything one wants without concern for the freedom of others. There are other questions as well and amongst those might be the question of how absolute personal freedom for one person affects or relates to the personal freedom of all others.  After all, if  no one will do business with me, I'm no longer free to live in the place where such "freedom" prevails.  A comparison to the freedom of wild animals seems inviting, as well as a discussion of whether this kind of liberty is compatible with any definition of civilization, much less a Democratic one.

Of course on the practical level, such a business model will not favor businesses who refuse service to any significant group and I certainly wouldn't patronize any establishment that decides that no Irish may apply and neither would a a significant number of others -- and that doesn't offer a bright future to any business that restricts itself to skinheads, Nazis and Reverend Phelps types?  Government sanctioned discrimination would of course bring down the Federal government on Arizona like a wolf on the fold as such abuses have been illegal for longer than many of us have been alive and hard fought for it was.  It would be likely to make Arizona a laughing stock and certain to clog the streets with protests and sit-ins if not riots, and certain to clog the courts with sufficient lawsuits to bankrupt any hotels, restaurants, gas stations and convenience stores stupid enough to demonstrate their "freedom" in this way.  Lets not even discuss doctors, clinics, drug stores and hospitals who decide to seceed from civilization and all semblance of decency in favor of practicing their "beliefs."

Actually I would rather welcome this dying gasp of the ultra right and the pseudo-right who support them the way Hindenburg supported the Nazis, as I would welcome anything that displays their true and swastika emblazoned colors and hastens their ignominious demise.  Of course it won't happen, but wouldn't it be nice to see Arizona legislators  jailed for passing laws that are illegal in full knowledge thereof?  Ah well, it's a beautiful warm, dreamy Florida Saturday morning and perhaps I can be forgiven a flight or two of fancy.

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