Monday, December 1, 2008

Yes, Backlash.

This rhetoric from Andrew Sullivan is starting to piss me off.  First, after Prop 8 passed, he said it was a small loss we need to accept on our way towards winning a greater war.  He said we shouldn't be angry about Prop 8; with time and education, a majority will emerge that will institute gay marriage.  He said, we shouldn't oppose it in courts because that would be somehow illegitimate (even though Prop 8 is precisely the kind of issue that the supreme court is meant to address in the US construct of constitutional democracy).  Then, he saw the wave of protests that ensued and finally embraced that as a creative force, something that will propel us towards equal rights.  To those us who don't live in California, that entailed a greater sense of urgency to address equal rights in our own respective corners of the US as well as on the Federal level - hence the anger over what appear to be sign of the exact opposite effect in the NY state legislature, which I wrote about the previous entry.  But Mr. Sullivan tells us not to worry.  Backlash against gay marriage, he says, has inspired its own backlash in its defense.  The implication seems to be that letting NY go is also a good thing, because it is a small loss in a greater war.  However, as he is complacently watching our hopes slip, I have to ask: when do small losses start adding up to a momentum that becomes too hard to stop?  At what point does political strategism suffocate the goodwill of those minorities that seek equal rights?  Exactly how many poster children of oppression do we need?  

Mr. Sullivan says "Winning illegitimately or prematurely could be worse."  I am confused: since when is legislation by simple majority of the populace the only legitimate way to pass a law?  What exactly is the legislature for?  And premature by what measure and whose judgement?  He concludes by saying "It is the fitful, messy process of moving forward in a democracy where everybody gets a say. I'd rather lose and live in such a democracy than win by violating it."  Makes sense, but I hate to inform him that to live in such a democracy, he needs to do one simple thing: move.  The US is a constitutional democracy, not a direct democracy.  

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