The Other Social Issue:
By Jerad McHenry
In the shadow of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), there has been a lot of chatter about gay rights. But I can’t help but wonder about the other social issue that has dominated our public debates and halls of jurisprudence. The one in which the discriminated class has had far fewer battles won. The millions of babies that have been slaughtered since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion nationally in 1973.
The politics of sexual orientation is a wedge issue. Now more than ever, it’s an issue that the right can’t win on . According to a CBS News Poll, 49 percent of conservative Americans under the age of 50 and 53 percent of all Americans support gay marriage. A USA Today Poll following the Supreme Court’s ruling on DOMA not only shows a plurality of Americans calling the court’s ruling “just right” but also a relatively even split among those who felt the ruling was “too liberal”, “too conservative” or “just right.” In total, 58 percent of those polled characterized the ruling as “just right” or “too conservative with only 31 percent deeming the ruling as “too liberal.” At the same time Americans are moving towards greater acceptance of gay marriage, the issue doesn’t have nearly the amount of traction with the electorate that it does attention from the media and ruling classes.
Multiple national polls have economic issues far out pacing social issues as the number one issue concerning Americans. This lack of primary concern for issues like gay marriage coupled with the evolution of many on the right’s position on gay marriage seems to bring the merit of traditional marriage as a rallying cry for the right into question. A party looking to rebuild itself nationally would be foolish to malign itself with a group that shares the same policy concerns of the broader electorate, straight or gay, a group far more likely to be mobilized by sound economic policy than sociopolitical grandstanding.
Nonetheless, we can’t totally ignore social issues in general or the marriage debate specifically. We do need to expose the left’s hypocrisy in their evolution from the party of bigotry to the party of if we subsidize it, exult it and politicize it, we can manipulate people on election day. Rahm Emanuel after the 1992 passage of DOMA so poignantly said “Gays are the next Jews of fundraising.” Such candor clearly communicates the intentions of a political group hell bent on tribalizing gays into single issue default Democrats.
Really the left has only moved from policies of social marginalization with the intent to minimize the power of others to policies of social marginalization with the intent to dumb down targeted cohorts, brainwashing and using them for political gain. Equally degrading indeed.
The result? We spend all this time whining about the choices of adults. Choices that affect none of us. The choices of people with a voice and more ability every day to pursue happiness without government interjection or social castigation. Today, the federal government can’t superimpose a definition of marriage upon states and as it so follows their citizens.
We’ve linked the 5th Amendment protections to a group of Americans (gays) who are obviously inheritors of the amendment’s promises. Bully.
But, you know what we’ve by and large failed to do? Focus our attention on the innocent lives of the unborn. At the same time we all pretended that who others love affects us, 3,288 babies die every day before they are even born. Before they inherit their rights. Who stood up for the rights of these babies, let alone loved them?
At the same time the oppression of homosexuals is out in the open and publicly denounced, thousands of babies face silent oppression wrought by a people who are willing to accept the notion that it’s healthcare to kill the unborn. It’s clear to me that gays can live freely in this country if we’d be a little bit more willing to embrace the concept of live and let live.
Life was clearly designated as a key value in America’s founding. Arbitrary definitions of how to live certainly weren’t. So instead of politicizing the lives of others, our resources would be better focused on fighting abortion, so our most vulnerable can too enjoy equal protection.
We’ve all bought into the idea that government somehow preserves our autonomy and social order through regulation. In this mindset, we seem to have forgotten that the very essence of social progress and the longevity of tradition finds it’s foundation in American autonomy, not reliance upon the state
At the same time though, our forefathers forged a social contract for a far greater collective benefit. Not to decide the order of daily life, But to protect all Americans, through our government, so they can live as they see fit. In this way, the politics of sex seem as nefarious as the abortion crisis plaguing our nation. We focus on state intervention into and cultivation of the first, when it should be widely viewed that the purpose of the state is to intervene in the latter.
Instead of cheapening the value of families or marginalizing those who can’t help who they love, it’s time we stop artificially constructing what comes natural to Americans. Both our appetite for social progress and our adherence to tradition is organic, not facilitated. Instead, we need to use our government for it’s true purpose. To ensure all people have the opportunity to define their own path in life and fall into the natural American rhythm that punctuates our lives as we freely, thus, fully live them.
“All men are created equal. They are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Nowhere did Thomas Jefferson define happiness. Happiness is collectively and individually innate to all Americans. We must stop bludgeoning each other with our own definitions of happiness and unite to protect those who have no voice to bludgeon with before another 3,288 unborn Americans die before inheriting their rights and pursuing their happiness.