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Here we go again: another hot button

You have to give credit to the advisors who tell President Bush what to think, say and do. They know how to get the public and what is wrongly called ‘the liberal media’ all excited about a phony issue. This time it’s a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages. It is simply another Republican-sponsored strategem that’s designed to divert attention from important problems the nation should be discussing. It’s an old Republican ruse, and it should be exposed every time it’s used, especially at election time. (It has already brought the Indiana General Assembly to a grinding halt, as designed. The Republicans must be pleased with their work.)
This country is looking at an administration that cannot be believed, and for good reasons. We are looking at good-paying jobs leaving our country at breath-taking speed. We’re looking at a totally flat economy that is not producing jobs. We are looking at an astronomical federal debt that no one in the Bush White House seems to be concerned about. We are creating huge financial problems for our children and grandchildren. We are looking at a health- care system that is a joke. Millions of elderly people cannot afford to pay for the medicine they need. Millions of families cannot afford to buy a house. We have a serious immigration problem. We have an entertainment industry that dominates our culture with stupid, trashy, sex- and violence-filled TV programs and movies, and parents seem unconcerned. We have tremendously serious problems in our inner cities, where African-Americans and Hispanic people have no hope. Women and mothers who are routinely abused and beaten up, and thousands upon thousands of young men languish in jail. We have dedicated, well-trained young American soldiers dying almost every week in Iraq in an ill-conceived occupation. And corporate America has made a mess of our financial world.
Yes, there are huge issues that should be addressed, and the Democratic presidential candidates will give these issues time in the months leading up to the November election. But thanks to Bush’s cynical, media-savvy handlers and their easily excited supporters on the right, TV, news magazines and newspapers are all going nuts over the gay marriage issue. It’s even more explosive than, say, Martha Stewart’s trial, Kobe Bryant’s trial, Scott Peterson’s trial, Mel Gibson’s movie, Janet Jackson’s exhibitionism, or the Oscar awards ‘ or is the MTV, Golden Globes, Grammys or Country Music Awards. Anymore, it’s hard to tell one from the other.
The gay marriage issue is relatively unimportant. It’s as mean-spirited and divisive as school prayer, the Pledge to Allegiance, burning the flag, abortion, and all the other red herring issues that Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Robert Novak, Ann Coulter and the like love to rehash. We’re waiting for the Willie Horton ads to reappear anytime soon.
What is happening in the media is just what Bush’s handlers have designed: take everyone’s attention away from what’s really important by dusting off the old reliable hot button issues. So, instead of reasonable people discussing important issues that require some thought, research, deliberation, compromise, and reconciliation, we have agitated politicians and demagogues flailing away at this make-believe threat to the institution of marriage.
No one is threatening the institution of marriage. If anything, the gays in San Francisco and elsewhere are endorsing marriage by lining up by the thousands to be married! All they want is official recognition and the rights that go with it. What’s the problem? Why not just give it to them?
Almost everyone I know believes in marriage between a man and a woman. That is basic; it’s a given. In fact, most of the people I know are married to someone of the opposite sex. No news flash there. Some of them are even happily married. But when a man loves a man enough to want to marry and live with him, or when two women want to do the same thing, what’s the harm in that?
Love is a virtue, perhaps the highest virtue. It brings people together. It promotes peace and harmony in the world. Every once in a while, you’ll hear someone in the Bush camp talk about love, peace and harmony, but not often. That’s not what turns on the radical right. No, they would rather get angry and attack something. And, politically, it works.
You have to wonder when the only things that people really get worried about are NOT questions of war, killing, imprisonment, huge debt, domestic violence, hateful talk, or the lack of education and opportunity for everyone, but two people wanting to live together because they love each other. Now that’s really strange.

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