Location: Granite Falls, North Carolina, United States

I'm an ordained United Methodist minister no longer pastoring churches, a former media producer with skills ten years out of date, a writer trying to sell my first novel, and a sales associate keeping body and soul together working for the People's Republic of Corporate America. I'm married to the most wonderful woman in the world, who was my best friend for 17 years before we married.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Smokescreen Distractions

The morality-deficient Congressional leadership along with the ethically-challenged Bush Administration are putting forth sops to their base in a desperate bid to hold onto power this election year.

First up is a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. Big whoop. They are making noises about "activist judges" again, ignoring the activist judges they have appointed and confirmed who are tearing up our Constitution. No one believes this will pass both houses, much less be approved by 3/4 of the states.

My thoughts: The government ought to get out of the marriage business altogether. They should issue licenses for people to form legal partnerships with each other for such things as medical decisions and survivorship, etc. Then let the churches define marriage. If a church wants to unite a homosexual couple and call it "marriage," then let that church do so. If another church refuses to recognize this as a marriage, then that is within that church's rights. Get the government out of it altogether.

Next will come a flag desecration amendment. This amendment itself desecrates the flag and all it stands for. We are a free people, and we don't have to fear people who disagree with us. We are Americans, and we don't have to cower before anyone, giving up our rights for the illusion of safety. If this means some people do offensive things, then we are a big enough people to handle it.

Besides, how many flags have you ever seen burned in protest in this country? Me neither. Yet in the incindiary atmosphere of today's politics I can see danger. A decade or so ago there was a picture on the front page of the Fayetteville Observer-Times showing a Scoutmaster demonstrating the proper way to dispose of a damaged or worn-out flag. It is done with a respectful burning, and he was demonstrating the proper ritual for this disposal. Now, if he were to run for any political office, his opponents would scream that "He was shown on the front page of the paper burning a flag!" Do you find it more pitiful or disgusting?

What this amounts to is a cynical ploy to get their brainwashed dupes out to the polls to vote them back into power. They don't have enough positive ideas to put forth to attract public approval, so they manipulate their base to get them out to vote their side back in.

It also amounts to finger-wiggling. I once read that if you want to capture a snake or lizard, you wiggle your fingers rapidly in front of their face while slowly bringing your other hand around to the back. They can see only rapid movement, or else they think only rapid movement is any threat. Meanwhile the hand moving slowly to the back can grab them while they are distracted.

The Republicans are using these amendments the same way. While getting the public all excited about non-issues such as gay marriage and flag-burning, they are stealthily taking away our freedoms, indeed all that defines us as free Americans. Watch the slow hand, not the wiggling fingers.


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