Ben Nelson Breaks Our Heartsby Kyle Michaelis
President Bush will promote a constitutional amendment barring gay marriage on Monday, the eve of a Senate vote on a cause that is dear to his conservative backers. The amendment would prohibit states from recognizing same-sex marriages. It would require a two-thirds majority in the Senate and House, and then must be ratified by at least 38 state legislatures. It stands little chance of passing the Senate, where proponents are struggling to get 50 votes. Several Republicans oppose the measure, and so far only one Democrat - Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska - says he will vote for it.
Nelson's position on this issue is not a new development. As to the defintion of marriage, he long ago joined with the reactionary Right's fear-mongering about "activist judges" seeking to destroy the entire institutiton. Still, seeing the above in print and knowing that it has been published all across the country reignites feelings of personal outrage that no doubt parallel the hatred and bigroty Republicans hereby hope to carry them through the November elections.
When I think of all the time I spend defending Nelson - even advocating on his behalf - it just makes me sick to think that my passion and idealism - while still a young man - have already been so compromised and even corrupted.
That I can bring myself to not only support but shill for a man who would write such short-sighted and discriminatory language into America's most sacred, fundamental, and cherished document, betraying every principle of state's rights he's espoused for 15 years, is so shaming and damning that it fills me with self-disgust.
Rationality? "Little chance of passage"? Lesser of two evils? Simple desperation on the part of Nebraska Democrats? In a moment and on an issue such as this, I have a hard time reconciling any of the above justifications with my own conscience.
How heart-breaking. Yet, what right do I have to expect better of Nelson when I am willing to play accomplice to his sins? Voting for the man is one thing, but defending him as I have, as I do, and as I no doubt will in the future is something else entirely.
Verbal self-flagellation can hardly atone. Perhaps I need to look into some sort of brand upon my chest (a la "The Scarlet Letter"). H for "Hypocrisy"? B for "Betrayal"? Heck, why not double-up - a PH for "Partisan Hack" would certainly be in order? Any of the above would suffice, and I'd be happy to take suggestions from the audience.
*Update* - 7:35 pm
It's worth mentioning that, personally, I have mixed feelings about gay marriage and - to be honest - don't consider it a very high priority one way or the other. What troubles me - what outrages me - what shames me - what pisses me off is the Republican Party's (and Ben Nelson's) willingness to abuse the United States Constitution for a short-term political gain that will be to our shame and discredit in the eyes of our children.
I will not stand idly by - holding my tongue - as they make less of our democracy, while mocking the principles of life, liberty, and federalism on which it was founded. To do so would invite and deserve the scorn of the ages.