The rainbow of change

Winston McCloud

Homosexuality is not an easy issue for mainstream America to deal with. Thousands of years of repressive social norms are not going to erode away overnight, especially when reinforced by the establishment. If one examines the strides made in the last century with regards to civil rights and women’s rights, gay rights are a logical extension of the American Dream of a personal freedom.

If we eliminate the lofty rhetoric, this is purely a legalistic matter and if more Americans began to see gay rights in this light, I suspect there would not be as much controversy.

Still, gay rights are a hot button. As a consequence of living in a democracy, sometimes politicians have to do what is popular instead of what is right. Of course, this is probably the most fundamental issue of contention in a government by the people.

How did our forefathers and remedy this? By creating a strong judicial branch with the right to review the laws with regard to our great governing charter, the Constitution. There is a reason why judges are not meant to be an elected position. Free from the pull of the electorate, they can rule with their conscience. Has this backfired at times? I would look to the 2000 Election for one case of this.

Yet more often in our history, the court system has been the only arena accessible to the subjugated minorities (particularly in the course of civil rights). Like it or not, however, judicial review is part of our system of government. Unfortunately, our president doesn’t really understand the nuts and bolts of American Democracy. Hell, he has probably never actually read the Constitution, yet he is already eager to change it.

During his State of the Union address, Bush proclaimed with distain “Activist judges have begun redefining marriage by court order, without regard for the will of the people and their elected representatives” (for those of you who still remember Bush losing the election…this is how it happened and I did not hear him complaining then). He then continued, “If judges insist on forcing their arbitrary will upon the people, the only alternative left to the people would be the constitutional process. Our nation must defend the sanctity of marriage.”

First of all, if our nation really wanted to defend the sanctity of marriage, why not point the bombs our leaders are adept at using towards Las Vegas? Why not imprison television executives for airing “Who Wants to Marry A Millionaire” and similar programming. These exaggerations were not intended to completely trash the institution of marriage (which I personally have a great respect for) but instead showcase the current state of the union that maybe Mr. Bush is missing. Besides, wasn’t the message of the speech that America is great? I really think it is, particularly in regards to recent “activist judges”, who should be commended for their bold rulings, embodying the spirit of freedom continues to make our country the bright beacon of freedom, the Republic, for which it stands, with liberty and justice for all!

C’mon America! Keep reaching for that rainbow!