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Bush and the Ugly Face of Tolerance

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President Bush, having nothing better to do yesterday, has decided to fire up his right-wing base and sally forth with his call for a constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Without that clarification, and if state courts keep not finding a reason in the written law to deny same sex couples the legal right to marry, Bush is afraid that something dreadful will happen to the American Family. I'm not quite sure what. Something about if... ummm... if gay people get married then... heterosexuals will.... not get married. Or they'll become sad and not feel special.

Or maybe they'll experiment with gay sex when they're teenagers and they'll get into pornography and our whole country will go to hell in a handbasket, which will have been manufactured by people in China, since we don't make anything anymore. We make money, we make messes. But we don't manufacture.

And we're at the mercy of oil suppliers who hate us. And we're in a war that's not ending, and the poor troops are often there for their third or fourth tour of duty in that harrowing place. And the weather is crazy, global warming is real. And we don't have a leader who does anything except invade the wrong country without international support, making us further hated, and....

Oh I'm sorry, I've forgotten to talk about the more important matter of gay marriage.

Gay marriage. Yes, yes, the President's base is very worried. And their desire to enforce their morality on everyone else is thwarted at every turn in this secular world so different from the 1950s, not to mention when Adam and Eve lived and wrecked paradise for us.

President Bush's base wants to return to solid values. When men were men, and women were obedient, and where gay men got married to women because society made it clear how unacceptable homosexuality was.

Oscar Wilde was married, and then he was put in prison for being gay. And then he died. That's how life was back in the good ol' days. But then the ugly face of tolerance started to intrude among the happy housewives and their Eisenhower husbands.

I'm reminded of a 1961 British film called Victim. Or rather I'm reminded of a line Pauline Kael wrote when she reviewed it. The film was about a married barrister (Dirk Bogarde) who is blackmailed because he had a homosexual affair. It was an early step in popular culture's being sympathetic to gay people, though it also had lines like "nature played me a dirty trick!"

When Kael reviewed the film, she said, "it's a cleverly conceived moralistic thriller...various characters are able to point out the viciousness of the English laws, which, by making homosexuality a crime, make homosexuals the victims of 90% of the blackmail cases."

However, others were less comfortable with the film's mostly sympathetic stance. Kael went on: "A number of the reviewers were uneasy about the thesis that consenting adults should be free from legal prosecution for their sex habits; they felt that if homosexuality were not a crime it would spread. (The assumption seems to be that heterosexuality couldn't hold its own on the free market.)"

It's that last line - about not holding its own on the free market - that I always remembered and found funny in her review.

Can heterosexuality hold its own on the free market? Yes, it can! Because you don't CHOOSE to be heterosexual, do you? If you're a heterosexual man, you don't look at a woman and go, hmmm I think I will choose to be attracted to her. Here I go, it's starting. Here I go... there!

Why do people think gay sexual preference is a choice, and heterosexual sexual preference is an innate instinct? It's very stupid, and lacking in empathy and common sense, to think one is a choice, and the other an instinct. Stop it! Would you?

Among those uncomfortable with gay people, there does seems to be this fear that if homosexuality is tolerated, somehow heterosexuality will suffer, be lessened, a Pandora's Box of polymorphous perversity would be unleashed, and... all sorts of people would experiment with sex, the flood gates would be opened, Rick Santorum would start having sex with goats. Which I only say because he claimed that would be the next step if the Supreme Court anti-gay decision Bowers v. Hardwick from 1985 was overturned, which indeed it was, in 2003. And no goats were interfered with, so Santorum was wrong.

Bowers was overturned 6 to 3, with Kennedy, O'Connor, Stevens, Breyer, Ginsberg and Souter the six voting to overturn it; and with Scalia, Rehnquist and Thomas voting not to overturn, wanting to retain the decision, which said it was fine and dandy to criminalize consensual gay relations, just as it was in the movie Victim, and as it was in Oscar Wilde's time.

With the new justices, I would think Alito would probably have voted with the Scary Threesome (since he SO identifies with and is deferential to those in authority). I don't know Roberts enough to guess how he would've voted; but I'm not confident he might not have been with the Threesome too.

Just so long as no one has a threesome! Good God, but sex is disgusting. If you learn nothing today, I hope you'll learn that.

Sorry I just had a walk-in. Now let me go flagellate myself in order to calm down. Excuse me.

Hello, I'm back. Ow. It's hard to sit. But Opus Dei really helps me center myself.

Well, yesterday was a proud day for Bush and Senator Bill Frist. Is there a stupider person in America than Bill Frist? Just a rhetorical question. There probably is.

Bush was also very existential yesterday - he was chatting up the anti-gay, pro-Marriage-for-Men-and-Women-Only amendment KNOWING he doesn't remotely have the votes to get it to pass.

So you see, he's basically wasting our time, back in his daily routine of being in constant campaign mode, never in governing mode. He doesn't know how to govern, only how to campaign.

However, as long as Bush and the Republicans are in an amending-the-constitution sort of mood, I thought I would suggest some other amendments we could make.

Though unlike President Bush, I think there should be some amendments to please Democrats, as well as some to please Republicans. After all, he never won in a landslide. Both stolen elections were very close.

So here's an amendment bon-bon for the Dems:

No President shall be allowed to lie or mislead in order to take the country to war. Neither shall he be allowed to release certain intelligence supportive of his wish to go to war if AT THE SAME TIME he knowingly suppresses intelligence contrary to or contradicting the supporting intelligence. If the President should be found guilty of doing this, he shall be kicked down a long flight of stairs, and then imprisoned for life. By constitutional amendment, the only visitors allowed to him would be Arianna Huffington and Al Franken, Jr. Maybe Janeane Garofalo on special holidays.

Now here's a bon-bon for the Republicans:

No law now or in the future may forbid school children from beginning their school day by acknowledging the existence of the Almighty Deity. The prayer need not be silent. The prayer can be out loud, in English. It may not be in Spanish. In English. It may use the Christian terms of belief, as long as "and others" or "et cetera" is said in brief acknowledgments of the couple of non-Christians in the school. The wording of the prayer may be decided on the state level but must include these sentences: "Oh God, creator of the universe, guide us as we begin this school day. You are the all powerful God, and you sent your Beloved Son Jesus to die for our sins. We are puny, you are mighty. Oh, God, how we love you. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, you are the only true God. Et cetera."

Then another for the Dems:

There should be no so-called signing statements whereby the President signs a bill into law, thereby indicating he intends to uphold said law, but meanwhile he signs some cockamamie "side letter" that that weasel Alfonso Gonzalez has concocted, in which the President says he won't necessarily follow the law if he doesn't want to. If Alfonzo Gonzalez, or rather Orlando Gonzalez, or is it Adolpho Gonzalez, is not Attorney General at the time President Bush or some later President tries to sign one of these tricky and probably illegal things, neither the Attorney General nor the President shall be allowed to circumvent the law in this disgraceful and disgusting manner. And if they do, they shall both be kicked down a long flight of stairs, they will be waterboarded so we can see if they think it's torture or not, and then they shall be locked up in a dungeon with the key thrown away.

Then one more for the Republicans Let's call it Amendment 18:

AMENDMENT XVIII (18)

After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

Surprise - that was the actual wording of the Prohibition amendment to the Constitution. Did you remember that Prohibition was an AMENDMENT to the constitution? And a pretty darn good one, too, no? It, of course, made all alcohol forbidden, and it was a great success in the country.

That amendment was passed by Congress December 18, 1917, and ratified January 16, 1919. It went on for 14 years, from 1919 to 1933, during which time most of the American public got wildly drunk on bootlegged liquor and hung out in mysterious and sundry speakeasies, and everyone had a marvelous time except when they were all shot dead by the gangsters who got involved in selling the illegal liquor. This was an earlier example of Moral Absolutists of their time writing a stupid amendment.

It was repealed by passing another amendment in 1933, the 21st amendment which succinctly expresses itself thus:

AMENDMENT XXI (21)

The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

Here's hoping that the Marriage amendment never gets passed and ratified, so we don't have to wait 14 years before overturning it.

And here's hoping that SOMEONE will start governing the country.

Would President Bush consider taking a long, long vacation in Crawford, and let Laura run the country? She's nuanced, people like her. She's more conservative than I am, and she married him, which I would never do (plus he's trying to stop that kind of thing, I forgot)... but really, she probably could govern. I mean I bet she'd try to improve something, and not just be on some endless campaign. Though I'd only want her to finish his term, and then I'd want never to hear of any of the Bushes ever, ever again.

Oh for a leader somewhere. Al, I'm not giving up on you yet.