Wednesday, April 01, 2015

10 Years After: 2006 -- Schrödinger's Mos

In the service of fundraising and nostalgia, I am using the occasion of my 10th blogiversary to bring some stuff out of the archives -- probably a few representational samples from each year. 

Back in 2006, using the law to inflict pain on the LGBT community and make the Pig People squee-squee-squeeeeeal in delight was still one of the Party of Personal Responsibility's favorite electoral battering-rams.

I proposed a thought experiment to demonstrate the idiocy of their position.

In retrospect, it's clear that a strategy of using thought experiments to persuade people who don't think and are God damn proud of it needed some work.

Schrodinger's Mo’s 

No, you get in the fucking box.

Let’s lead off with this bit of Constitutional Horseshit hacky-sack from the Dear Leader via the NYT:
June 5, 2006
Gay Marriage Ban Is Short of Votes in Senate

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush rallied support Monday for a ban on gay marriage as the Senate opened a volatile, election-year debate on a constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex weddings.

''Changing the definition of marriage would undermine the structure of the family,'' said Bush, who raised the issue's profile with an event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

Bush criticized judges who have overturned state laws similar in intent to the proposed legislation. ''Marriage is the most fundamental institution of civilization, and it should not be redefined by activist judges,'' he said.

Traditional marriage, Bush said, is the cornerstone of a healthy society and the issue should be put ''back where it belongs: in the hands of the American people.''

There was little chance of that in the near future. Neither chamber is likely to pass the amendment by the two-thirds majority required to send it to the states -- three quarters of which would then have to approve it.

''A vote for this amendment is a vote for bigotry pure and simple,'' said Democratic Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, where the state Supreme Court legalized gay marriages in 2003.

''The reason for this debate is to divide our society, to pit one against another,'' [Senate Democratic Leader Harry] Reid said in remarks prepared for delivery on the Senate floor. ''This is another one of the presidents efforts to frighten, to distort, to distract, and to confuse America. It is this administration's way of avoiding the tough, real problems that American citizens are confronted with each and every day.''

Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco, which in 2004 began issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, on Monday denounced Bush's move as predictable and ''stale rhetoric'' aimed at rallying conservatives for this year's midterm elections.
''It's politics. It's pandering and it's placating a core constituency, the evangelicals,'' Newsom said on ABC's ''Good Morning America.''
I have neighbors I do not know and who in no way affect me except if their garbage piles up too high, or they play that devil’s music too loud on a Sunday morning when I’m trying to listen to “Lords of Acid” at 120 decibels in peace.

They do not disturb some invisible, trembling pellucid neighborhood ether with their peccadilloes.

They probably self-selected themselves into the area based on some combination of criteria that probably includes a degree of tolerance for people who are not like them, but frankly if they compulsively vacuum in nothing but pearls and heels, or nickname their pet potbelly pig “Mor-ton” and re-enact old episodes of the McLaughlin Group for kicks, what the fuck do I care?

I also have family I see once every few years at reunions.

They are a boisterous bunch, shot through with a lot of hardcore Rightwing Evangelicals. For a couple of days we tell marvelous, funny, poignant stories about relatives long gone, visit the old cemetery, and auction off family knick-knacks and heirlooms to defray the cost of meals and soda. Their bizarre cult beliefs roll off of me like water off a heathen duck’s ass, and I’m sure my vile humanist ravings never so much as raise a welt on their dense, Blood-O’-Christ ablative shielding.

I also have friends and family a few miles away and a half a continent away I can visit or call and talk to when I’m broken and sad: Those are my intimacies of choice.

And while I disagree with Rick Blaine [Casablanca] when he say's “The problems of the world are not in my department”, (yes, he eventually comes around) I profoundly agree with the idea that the personal choices and habits of the rest of the world are absolutely none of my god damned business so long as they keep their garbage off my lawn and don’t frighten the horses in the street.

Which is comical, because I am apparently soooo old that I actually remember sepia-toned days of $0.40/gallon gasoline, commercial-free public teevee and when keeping one’s snout the fuck out of other people’s business used to be touted as a granite pillar of the Conservative movement.

But that was before they sold their souls to Jerry Falwell in exchange for millions of obedient Christopath voters.

So this one is for my new physics pals from the Shakespeare’s Sister meet-up, wherein the estimable Mrs. Shakes consented to rope-and-ride a buncha Liberals to a movie (“An Inconvenient Truth” -- massively recommended) and dinner.
(“Trying to herd cats,” she opined.


Herding fireflies with a firehose is more like it. I should know; I’m one of the worst of the bunch.)
So let us imagine there’s a box in, oh, say, Massachusetts or Oregon or Iowa.

A big box, and in that box are the following items:
1. A Bible.
2. A preacher.
3. A gay couple.
4. A straight friend.
5. Enough consumables and comforts to last a lifetime.
Sort of a Biosphere II, but with vastly better feng shui.

And you’re living la vida no-neck in some high-toned, melanin-poor gated exurb, or in some scruffier digs where the “gate” is a gaunt, three-legged pit-bull named Bobby Lee tied the rusted hulk of an El Camino up on ancient blocks.

Now at some point over the course of years, the gay couple may ask the preacher to pick up the bible and, with their straight friend standing witness, get hitched.

Or they may not.

In fact, they exist only in a cloud of quantum connubial possibilities until you bust the box open and demand to know just what in the fuck they’re doing in there. And how can they have amassed such a formidable stockpile of really spiffy antiques without ever having left the box!

It is only when you kick the door down and intrude on their private business that the haze of potential outcomes collapses into a single, nuptial certainty.

So the question is, when exactly -- over the course of, say, forty years of leaving the box intact and letting them be -- did their status inside the box destroy your marriage outside the box?

When was it -- precisely -- during those four decades that this single detail of the lives of strangers who live so immensely far away from you in every meaningful way managed to intrude into your life so violently that it ruined your relationship with your spouse and debased the value of the love and mutual commitment you share?

So much so that the only possible solution is to amend the foundational documents of our democracy?

Because if you cannot identify the specific, quantifiable harm that such a union would have on you and yours, then shut your fucking hole.

And if the only rationale you can conjure is the oldest and most despicable of the “pellucid ether” arguments -- that it would be an affront to God [or his Divine Beard, “Traditional Values”] by asserting, as the Dear Leader just did, that “Marriage is the most fundamental institution of civilization, and it should not be redefined by activist judges” -- then I commend to your attention the opening lines of the June 12, 1967, Loving v. Virginia decision, which gets referred to a lot in Left Bloggylvania, but not cited verbatim nearly often enough for my tastes, because here is how it begins (Emphasis added):
"Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix."
The law in Virginia as it read provided...
"Punishment for marriage. -- If any white person intermarry with a colored person, or any colored person intermarry with a white person, he shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by confinement in the penitentiary for not less than one nor more than five years."
And the penalty for leaving the State to evade the law was...
...If any white person and colored person shall go out of this State, for the purpose of being married, and with the intention of returning, and be married out of it, and afterwards return to and reside in it, cohabiting as man and wife, they shall be punished as provided in § 20-59, and the marriage shall be governed by the same law as if it had been solemnized in this State. The fact of their cohabitation here as man and wife shall be evidence of their marriage."
What more needs be said?

When the cultural Gladys Kravitzes on the Right stomp into the public square dragging Gay Marriage along behind them, this is what’s really on the menu: Their insatiable appetite to impose their witchbag of hate, squeamishness and childish idiocy on everyone else in the Universe for no reason other than they are hateful, squeamish, childish idiots.

And since there is absolutely no quantifiable harm they can point to (In Loving, the “harm” cited was found in the language of Naim v. Naim which “concluded that the State's legitimate purposes were "to preserve the racial integrity of its citizens," and to prevent "the corruption of blood," "a mongrel breed of citizens," and "the obliteration of racial pride”…), time and again -- from slavery, through Jim Crow, through “Loving” and now with Gay Marriage -- you see the same democracy-loathing Red Statists thumping the same Bible, from the same pulpit, to the same squealing mob of culturally malnourished knuckleheads.

Generation after debased generation the disease is passed on, because regardless of where this moral cancer has geographically metastasized over the years, the continuous line of divinely-sanctioned White Male Christian Supremacy that runs from “God, Nooses and Negroes” to “God, Guns and Gays” comes straight out of the spiritual heart of the old Confederacy.

And because there are no tangible, measurable negative consequences, when you take it upon yourself to tell two consenting adults who and how they may marry you will always end up playing the “Almighty God”-card. Either explicitly, or by cowering behind such hollow, bigot-coded and patently ridiculous threats as, "Changing the definition of marriage would undermine the structure of the family."

On this issue -- however icky you might personally find the whole idea of boys kissing boys or girls canoodling with girls -- you can either be a Good Republican or a Good American, but you cannot be both.

Because when you insist that your perverse view of the Bible gives you the right to smash open Schrodinger's box and dictate who and how two consenting adults may marry, you will always end up standing on the gibbet, slipping the “Loving” rope around Liberty’s throat.


And that is no place that any decent American would ever want to be.

No comments: