Iraq is being overrun by a marauding “Islamist Alexander.” (Or Islamist Napoleon, Islamist Lenin, Islamist Mao – take your pick.)
Russia has coyly slid tanks across the Ukrainian border. China is building new island fortifications in the South China Sea – and attacking Vietnamese fishing boats.
President Obama is literally promoting lawlessness and social breakdown in the United States by dumping thousands of illegals – some with no supervision at all, others into inhumane warehouse conditions – in Arizona and Texas. And what are the U.S. media doing? They’re trying to whip up stories on Hillary Clinton and Rick Perry answering stupid questions about same-sex marriage and whether being gay is a disorder.
There’s something Old Testament-Biblical about it, like the worst warnings in Jeremiah about faithlessness and corrupt priorities among the people. Keep focusing your policy debates on the fanning of resentments originating from the crotch area, and sure enough, you become paralyzed as a society, in the grip of a force you can’t control, and unable to function like a responsible polity.
For the record, neither Hillary Clinton nor Rick Perry owed America an answer to the blitheringly idiotic questions they were being pestered with in the last 48 hours. And neither of them gave a stupid answer, or one that he or she should be hounded with in the political arena.
Hillary, asked by an NPR interviewer when, exactly, she changed her mind about same-sex marriage and decided to start supporting it, declined to give a direct answer. Bully for her. It doesn’t matter when it happened or what the process was. We already know she’s a cynical pragmatist about her policy preferences – as are at least half of our political officials at a given time. Anyone who hammers this as a litmus-test issue is a fanatic whose judgment and priorities are way out of whack.
Rick Perry, asked whether he thought homosexuality was a disorder, said he looked at it as something like alcoholism, which some people are genetically more prone to. Reportedly, this provoked “murmurs of disbelief” from his San Francisco audience. It certainly prompted exclamatory op-eds at dozens of media sites in the ensuing hours. (The count at the “memeorandum” news-aggregator as of this writing is 27 top sites featuring pieces on the Perry comments. The list of sites flogging the Hillary Clinton story is about half that long; still healthy, by memeorandum standards.)
Given that the public is morally divided on homosexuality – a divide on which no one can legitimately presume to have the single valid perspective – and given that some studies seem to show a genetic predisposition to it, Perry’s is a logical approach by someone who probably believes the Bible calls it a sin. (The question, again, was not whether it’s a sin, but whether Perry thinks it’s a disorder.)
Now, would I have answered the question posed to Perry in the way he did? No. I would have responded by reframing the issue entirely, because the public’s concern isn’t properly with whether public officials think homosexuality is a disorder. The correct issue is how big government is, and what it does or doesn’t have any business enforcing policies on.
Public officials’ opinions about homosexuality are a really bloody stupid thing for us to be harping on in the American public square. You may not be in agreement with me as to why that is, but I suspect there are plenty of folks out there who at least agree with the basic proposition.
That said, I don’t care that Perry said what he said. And I doubt that I’m alone in that attitude. America’s problems are too big and existential now for us to think that successful leaders have to confine themselves to bromides and inane, media-approved pieties on every topic that may come up. The people aren’t nearly as scared of honest, thoughtful comments like Perry’s as “establishment” conservatives are.
In fact, I predict that Perry’s comments won’t get any negative traction with the voters whose support he would have to have in a 2016 run – any more than Hillary’s deflections will get negative traction with the voters whose support she would need for a 2016 run. The topic itself is really outwearing its welcome.
As the nation’s situation is becoming alarmingly dire. Most of the American people realize instinctively, I think, that our path to recovery – of economy, of character, of hope, of will – doesn’t lie in particular policies or uniformity of thinking on “LGBT” issues. It looks increasingly demented for our media and politicians to be obsessed with these issues.
We can all congratulate ourselves, and each other, on whatever we believe about them and have no intention of changing. But what matters is that government doesn’t owe us a policy position on these issues, nor should it be enforcing policy positions that encroach on the people’s freedom of thought or belief. For the love of Mike, stop asking government to do what it can’t – and shouldn’t – and demand that it do what it’s there for.