Re-Election Über Alles
Even though I’ve been a pretty outspoken critic of President Bush, there’s one line of anti-Bush argument that I’ve never had much patience with: the Bush=Hitler analogy. It has always seemed to me to be a textbook example of lazy thinking; most of the people who make it only demonstrate that they don’t really know much about either Bush or Hitler.
However, in the light of Bush’s recent modest proposal, I have to admit that for the first time that type of rhetoric doesn’t strike me as completely ludicrous. Look, I know gay marriage is controversial; I know it makes some people uncomfortable; but I just can’t see how someone else’s gay marriage affects your straight marriage at all. All the overheated language about “debasing the institution” seems a tad misplaced in a country where one out of two straight marriages were hitting the skids even before gays had the option of civil union. As far as I can tell, the overheated language is just cover for a baser, uglier prejudice — and if it isn’t, if people really believe that their marriages are failing because of gays, that’s even worse, because it means they’re scapegoating a minority group for causing problems that in reality they have nothing to do with.
So we now have a President who proposes to take that minority-group scapegoating and write it into the Constitution. That’s just appalling. What kind of leader would do that? What kind of leader would take a document that has stood for more than 200 years as a living testament to the power of America’s ideals of liberty and inclusion, and tack on a provision designed to do nothing but pander to the fears of the bigoted? What kind of leader would choose to launch his campaign by telling people that their problems will be solved if they will only join with him in changing the law so that a particular minority group will forever be set apart, their freedom forever constrained, their liberty incomplete?
I can only think of one.