This stuff being Wisconsin and DOMA.
And the problem is that the bad guys are wearing me down.
Unions – bad. We can’t outlaw private unions (yet) so let’s blame teachers, cops and firefighters for all the woes of Wisconsin. Never mind that unions, if they are one of the reasons for the current economic meltdown the country, states and cities are facing, are a minor factor. Let’s focus on class envy. Us that don’t have the decent wage, the pension or the benefits the union workers have, having been beaten down are looking down the street, around the corner and are jealous. We’ve taken a beating, why haven’t they? We are a little too pleased with politicians that want to take the people that have what we don’t down a notch or two, maybe three.
We don’t focus on the fact that big corporations are on the rebound, in part as the result of cutting cost to the bone at their employees’ expense. We aren’t thrilled that the corporate rebound was aided by the bailout, and we didn’t get much bailout on our block, but “what ya gonna do?” We can’t control corporate or political America so let’s vent our anger at someone we can hurt. We aren’t rebounding and those teachers over there have got more than we do. They ought to suffer as much as we do.
And our politicians are all too willing to pander to our anger.
Our politicians are unwilling to do anything to bring us together, other on a rare occasion when a timid President recognizes what should be a no-brainer and is immediately attacked by the opposition and tepidly supported by his party.
Here’s what a wuss the Prez is.
Sorry, I’ve got to talk a little bit about law. Courts look at laws that are accused of being unconstitutional with three sets of standards – rational basis, heightened scrutiny and strict scrutiny. Religion and race get strict scrutiny treatment, the government can’t mess with them unless it has a “compelling” reason and there is no other way to promote the government interest. At the other end of the spectrum is, what I’ll call, the “laugh test,” usually applied to economic concerns of people. If the government can come up with a reason for the law that doesn’t make the lawyer or the judge laugh, the reason is reasonable and the government can impinge on peoples’ economic rights. In the middle is the heightened scrutiny test, which is muddle of, often conflicting, analysis.
The Obama Administration has decided to forge new ground (cue sarcasm) by announcing that it will not defend the Defense of Marriage Act in Courts of Appeal that have not decided that it is subject to the laugh test. If they have decided on the laugh test standard, the Administration will support their ruling. I know that doesn’t make much sense to anyone but Curmudgeon.
Let me try it another way. Our courageous leader doesn’t like discriminating against gay people but he isn’t going to push it. If a set of judges is newly considering discriminating against gay people, the Justice Department is not going to weigh in on the side of the discrimination – they are going to leave that to Congress. But, if another set of judges has already decided that discrimination against gay people is rational - no one laughed when the argument was made - then they’ll defend the discrimination on an appeal to the Supreme Court.
That too makes no sense, unless, unless, Obama is just playing politics as he is wont to do. Gay people will finally be less pissed at him and may come around again to support him in ’12 - same with the straight liberals and a lot of the youngins. Faced with the alternative of whatever Neanderthal, in their minds, the GOP runs, at least Obama is living up to some of his promise – maybe some of them won’t sit out the election in disgust. Obama doesn’t have the hard right, the mostly hard right or the religious right no matter what he does, so the move won’t hurt him and may help him. Chicago politics at its best.
I just think we as a country, we as regions and we as communities have lost our way. We’re scared and we listen to whomever plays to our fear. I’ve got mine or I don’t have mine and I’ll be damned if I’m going to do anything for someone that is different, seems to have more than me or threatens to take some of mine. And Obama and Boehner, and friends, play to the respective fears and vulnerabilities of their sheep.
Unions and gay people aren’t hurting non-union or straight people. But they are nice targets when we can’t control what’s happening and want to lash out.