June 3, 2006 by lonbud
Divided We Fall, Part 2
The U.S. Senate will begin debate next week on a constitutional amendment being pushed by President George W. Bush and the White House to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The proposed amendment also prohibits judges from ruling that either the Constitution or any state may give same-sex couples the right to marry or the same legal rights as married couples.
One would think people have more pressing concerns.
Nevertheless, the President used his weekly radio address today to flog the idea that the institution of marriage needs protection from “activist judges and some local officials [who] have made an aggressive attempt to redefine marriage in recent years.” He’ll be addressing the issue again on Monday in a nationally broadcast speech.
I can appreciate the President’s wish to give Americans insight into his thinking on important matters, and no doubt the senate ought to give full and fair debate to issues of national relevance as often as its members’ busy fundraising schedules will allow.
But this issue, now?
There are dozens of reasons why this issue fails to merit consideration as something to address at the constitutional level, and it is widely acknowledged to have no chance whatsoever of being passed by Congress.
So why on earth is the President bringing it up again nearly two and a half years after he first proposed it?
Because he’s a divider, not a uniter. The man has no observable interest in bringing the citizens of this great nation together on even a single issue of real importance.
He prefers to do most of his work in secret, as far away from public view as possible, and every time some little bit of light shines public or media attention on his criminal ineptitude or his designs on unitary executive power, he trots out something to fan the flames of fear, jingoism, and intolerance that burn beneath the veneer of our country’s global preeminence.
With the lowest approval rating of any president since that other notorious criminal, Richard Nixon, Mr. Bush could be forgiven a craven play for a boost in his popularity. His choice of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage as the vehicle to rally public support only proves his tin ear and his remove from reality.
He and his advisers may be betting this obvious genuflection before theocraticallly inclined American conservatives will bring together God-fearing Republicans and Democrats alike and prevent the Republicans from losing control of Congress in the Fall elections.
Instead, it is far more likely to galvanize clear-thinking people on both sides of the philosophical divide to neutralize the nut-job-in-chief until a new decider can be chosen in 2008.