Monday, May 29, 2006

Gay Marriage and Flag Burning... who really cares?

Here’s a good example of how much the Senators on the Hill are out of touch with the people: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said yesterday that gay marriage and flag burning the most important issues the Senate can be addressing in June of 2006. Yes, flag burning!

Thankfully, Americans have a more realistic approach and their pressing issues are actually the following:
- terrorism (89%),

- the war in
Iraq (89%),
- the economy (88%),

- and health care costs (88%).

Here’s what First said though (Transcript via Think Progress):

When you look at that flag and you tell me that right now people in this country are saying it’s okay to desecrate that flag and to burn it and to not pay respect to it, is that important to our values as a people when we’ve got 130,000 people fighting for our freedom and liberty today?

I know the flag is important to a lot of people but I don’t think it is THAT important to most. Besides, it is not like the flag is under attack… at home anyway. If you are very upset about the desecration of the flag, find a way to make the rest of world less upset about it.

I find it maddening that those who not only voted but even supported the war all heartedly get all worked up about a symbol and not about the 2,464 US marines killed in that war (and what about the thousands of civilians killed everyday?). It gets nonsensical when a major politician confuses the symbol (the flag) with the values (say, human life). The symbol does not matter compared to the values it represents and if the Republicans held life as a major value, they would not worry about the flag burning but why it is burning and why people get killed for “our freedom and liberty”, and precisely, it is not clear for most Americans that the war in Iraq serves “our freedom and liberty”.

I can’t believe that Frist is not aware of that. So he’s probably just playing with people’s emotional attachment to the symbol of the flag so that they buy the dubious reasons why this nation is at war in Iraq. That's what propaganda has always been about.

Here’s a good example of his emotional manipulation:

I’m going to Arlington cemetery tomorrow and I’m going to see that flag waving on every grave over there.

Again, it seems to me, you should get more emotional about the bodies coming than the flag in the cemetery. First does have his priorities wrong for sure.

As far as the other subject of gay marriage, Frist said that it is “under attack today”. I must say that I fail to see the logic of his point. Here's what he said:

Right now there are 13 states who passed constitutional amendments in the last year and a half to protect marriage. Why? Because in nine states today, activist judges, unelected activist judges are tearing down state laws in nine states today. That’s why I will take it to the floor of the Senate, simply define marriage as the union between a man and a woman.

I don’t understand the conservative view there (as in many other areas, I must admit). How is it that allowing marriage of gay people could be a threat to the institution of marriage? Does it make the marriage of heterosexuals any less real? I wish they could explain what they mean by “an attack” on our values. What are they afraid of? - that more people are going to decide to become gay?

The defensive tone of the Republicans who always claim to be under attack on issues that most of us don’t really care about is a sign of acute paranoia. It is probably the result of the influence of the religious right in the Party which is also based on paranoia.

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