Monday, June 01, 2015

Interesting juxtaposition

This morning as I scanned the news, I saw two stories listed one above the other, as shown in the screen shot above. I have to admit, it made me laugh. Well, smirk, might be more accurate. The placement wasn’t some editor’s choice, but the result of some algorithm or whatever that determines what stories on the web get put where on the page, nothing more. And yet…

The story on top was about Rick Santorum declaring on NBC’s Meet the Press that if, as expected, the US Supreme Court establishes 50-state marriage equality, he’d fight it because the Supreme "doesn't have the final word." That idiot went on:
"Of course I'd fight it," he said on NBC's Meet the Press. "Roe versus Wade was decided 30 some years ago, and I continue to fight that, because I think the court got it wrong. And I think if the court decides this case in error, I will continue to fight, as we have on the issue of life ... We're not bound by what nine people say in perpetuity."
Here’s the thing: Santorum's wrong. Of course. Under the US Constitution, the Supreme Court has the final word on what is and is not constitutional, and whether Rick thinks the court “got it wrong”, or whether he likes a ruling or not, are irrelevant. Rick’s personal opinions are only that and nothing more. He is as bound as any other citizen is to obey the law, whether he “agrees” with it or not. You’d think anyone who thinks he should be president, even a crackpot like Rick, would be aware that the president takes an oath to preserve, protect and defend the constitution—and, sorry, Rick!—that includes Supreme Court decisions.

Rick’s an unrepentant religious extremist, so he’s unlikely to be very happy about that. But he’s free to try and amend the US Constitution to ban marriage equality, and he could even try and amend the Constitution to make homosexuality itself a crime, as he thinks it should be. He won’t, though, because he knows that nothing would hasten his final descent into total obscurity than launching a Christian jihad against LGBT people: The USA has moved on, even if Rick can’t.

All of the announced Republican clowns candidates have similarly talked vaguely about somehow “opposing” the expected Supreme Court decision. Since no individual is in a position to “defy” a Supreme Court ruling, it’s truly bizarre for them to talk like that. What, are they proposing that the president start performing marriages just so they can refuse to perform them for same-gender couples?!

Apart from amending the Constitution, there’s absolutely nothing individual Republicans can do to “defy” the Supreme Court. What they say they plan to do is treat marriage equality like abortion and continue to try and chip away at gay people’s civil and human rights in state legislatures they control. This is a doomed and delusional strategy.

Contrary to popular belief, the Supreme Court actually left a lot of leeway in abortion rights, and Republicans have been exploiting that fact ever since, especially in the past decade or so, slowly chipping away at the rights of women to control their own bodies or make their own decisions about reproduction. Usually, they get away with it.

But marriage equality isn’t like that: There is marriage equality, or there is not. The Supreme Court is likely to make clear that only marriage equality is marriage equality, so any sort of “separate but equal” marriage for LGBT people alone is unconstitutional. Similarly, states can’t constitutionally make it harder for gay people to get married than straight people. Unlike with abortion rights, there’s virtually no room for Republicans to play legislative games.

I think that all the Republican clowns candidates know this, and in his relatively few moments of rational clarity, Santorum might even know it, too. This year’s campaign will be the last time we see Republican clowns candidates pandering on marriage equality to the most frothing part of the party’s base, but a few—like Santorum—will never give up.

Santorum, like fellow religious extremist Mike Huckabee, is a Christo-fascist, a technical term that means he wants to impose his extreme rightwing religious views on everyone, by force if necessary. Rick does it as a Roman Catholic and Huckabee does it as a fundamentalist protestant, but their ultimate goal is actually the same: A repressive, extreme rightwing theocracy in which men are men, women know their place and gay people are in prison.

Which is why that juxtaposition on the Internet was so apt. Fascism of any sort if not stopped leads to all sorts of brutal oppression and unspeakable crimes. It doesn’t matter if that fascism is built on religion or capitalism or a union of the two, it always ends up in the same place.

Ensuring the defeat of radical extremists like Santorum and Huckabee is the duty of everyone who believes in freedom and democracy, and it’s the special burden of ordinary, non-extremist conservatives, who are soiled by the presence of such extreme radicals in their party.

The second story, which was on the Newsweek site, was interesting in its own right, and talks about an aspect of the Holocaust that many people don’t know about: The treatment of men who were declared homosexual (regardless of whether they were), and why upon release from the concentration camps those men often were sent back to prison to serve out their Nazi sentence.

Obviously neither Santorum nor Huckabee are Nazis—that sort of rhetoric is both stupid and offensive. Neither is the Republican Party an inherently fascist party, even though it has strong tendencies in that direction. But when good people do nothing, then evil can triumph, and it’s not that long a walk from the extremist rhetoric of Santorum and Huckabee to brutal repression and persecution.

It’s good to be reminded sometimes of the importance of standing up to extremists and defending true freedom and liberty against those who would excitedly destroy both. Sometimes such reminders turn up in the oddest places, like the coincidental positioning of two unrelated web links.


rogerogreen said...

I DO think there is a relevant piece re Roe, though. I don't know the polling specifically, but it's only recently that the majority believe that abortion should be legal in most circumstances. Already the majority of people support marriage between gays, which wasn't true even 5 years ago. Not that I think the people's will should trump Constitutional justice - see Loving v VA, where maybe 30% supported mixed-race marriage in 1967.http://firstread.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/21/16626932-nbcwsj-poll-majority-for-first-time-want-abortion-to-be-legal

Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

That's a really good point about the polling: Since a clear majority already favour marriage equality, then the radical right is already up against it with nowhere to go. That kind of reinforces what I was saying about this being the last presidential campaign in which all the Republican clowns candidates pander to the party's radical base on marriage equality. By 2020, it'll be a losing issue even for Republicans. Apart maybe from the lunatic fringe, who will still be around. After all, my good buddy Rick will only be 61 in 2020—younger than most of the candidates so far for 2016.