Because I am busy at work on a paper, I will unfortunately not be able to blog as regularly as I would like for the next couple of days. And this while I have a number of thoughts about several issues of the day. Wall Street rallies as the Federal Reserve Chairman says that while economic growth is slowing, the economy remains strong. Hezbollah continues to fire rockets indiscriminately at Israel while Israel attacks the terrorist’s infrastructure in Lebanon. (Keep your eyes on Pajamas for regular updates on the situation in the Middle East.)
So preoccupied was I with my paper (and other obligations) as well as the news from the Middle East that I almost missed the defeat in the House of Representatives of a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
While I was delighted that this pernicious proposal was once again defeated, I was saddened (once again) at the shallowness of the debate — on both sides. While most of the releases I read from the gay groups were filled with the same angry rhetoric, there were two notable exceptions this time.
Log Cabin’s latest release was far less angry than the organization’s statement at the time of the Senate debate. Indeed, while I have a few minor quibbles with the release*, it pretty much sets the right tone. I particularly liked Patrick Guerriero’s line that “The House spoke very clearly and again said that marriage is an issue the states are perfectly capable of handling.” A small step in the right direction.
The other interesting exception this time was the one from the National Stonewall Democrats (NSD) which was half-brilliant, half-angry partisan. NSD Executive Director Jo Wyrick said:
Marriage is an institution that strengthens the American family, and it should be legally extended to all couples. . . . Americans should be allowed the freedom to discuss this issue at their dinner tables and in their houses of worship. Instead, Republicans would rather use this debate to divide the public through poor policy that attacks the Constitution. House Republicans have twice failed to force through this discriminatory amendment, just as they continue to fail the American public through their misguided priorities.
Wyrick was right to note that marriage strengthens the family and to welcome a discussion of the topic. Yet, I just don’t see how anyone can see putting a topic on the calender of an elected, deliberative assembly as an attempt to “force” it through. The House Republicans debated an important issue, then voted on it — and saw it defeated.
By putting the topic up for a vote, House Republicans encouraged debate. That they achieved a majority indicates that there is still strong support for this gratuitous (and potentially dangerous) amendment and that we still need to keep the conversation going — in order to change the minds of those who support it. That they failed to achieve the two-thirds majority necessary to amend the constitution should make us grateful for the wisdom of its framers, particularly James Madison, who made it difficult to amend this august charter.
That those — on both sides — did not see this debate as an occasion to better understand their adversaries’ ideas suggests that some minds remind perpetually closed to those with whom they disagree. For as much as I’ve blogged on civil discourse, it doesn’t seem to make any difference to our most ardent critics. They will continue to see us not as we are, but as the narrow-minded demons of their imaginations.
While I have been delighted to reply to e-mails from liberal readers, eager to better understand gay conservatives, some (in e-mails and in the comments) persist in insulting us. One writer even accused me of being “all flustered” that I get hate mail. Yet, in the very post to which he attached his comment, I noted that the latest batch of hate mail “brought a smile to my face.” A smile suggests that someone is happy and/or amused and not upset as someone would be if flustered.
It is unfortunate that those who who write on controversial blogs are subject to this kind of abuse. But, I’ve learned to expect that nowadays. In an ideal world, we would receive honest and civil criticism, rather than mean-spirited barbs. Alas that all too many would rather insult than debate. And such behavior is not limited to my ideological adversaries.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com
* I would have just deleted a few words and tweaked one sentence.