I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again ...
-- Pete Townshend, The Who
By pushing for a constitutional amendment prohibiting gays from getting married, President Bush and Senate majority leader Bill Frist are betting you will get fooled again, just like last November, when so many states had anti-gay-marriage laws on the presidential ballot -- all of which passed. Of course, the real payoff was the fact that all those riled-up moralists also voted for Bush and helped give him the presidency for a second time.
I'm not fooled, and I hope you aren't either. How stupid do these guys think we are? At a time when 46 million Americans have no health insurance, when gas prices are through the roof, when Americans live under tarps and in trailers on our Gulf Coast as hurricane season approaches, when most cargo containers enter our ports uninspected, when our soldiers and Iraqi citizens die every day in a senseless and unending civil war, these two leaders of the free world are pretending that the issue we really care about is keeping gays from getting married.
It doesn't matter that gays can't get married anyway, due to 45 state laws prohibiting it and the passage in 1996 of the national "defense of marriage" act, or that the Constitution is supposed to be reserved for issues of critical national import. It doesn't matter that this amendment -- which has to win two-thirds majorities in the House and Senate and then be ratified by 38 state legislatures -- hasn't a chance of passing. What matters to these two bozos is that this "wedge" issue might fire up their right-wing base enough to pull the Republicans back from the cliff they're headed over in the fall elections.
It's divisive and it's pandering and they ought to be ashamed of themselves. This "Marriage Protection" amendment is an affront to the intelligence of the American people. And if we don't wake up and figure out we're being played for suckers, the name of the new boss will be the same as the old boss.
Bruce VanWyngarden, Editor
Exactly seven years ago this week, I wrote a column decrying a proposal by city engineers to turn the Overton Park Greensward into an 18-foot-deep "detention basin" designed to stop flooding in Midtown. The engineers claimed we'd hardly notice the football-field-sized bowl. "Except," I wrote then, "when it rains hard, at which time, users of Overton Park would probably notice a large, 18-foot-deep lake in the Greensward. Or afterward, a large, muddy, trash-filled depression."
I attended the White Station High School graduation ceremony last weekend. My stepson crossed the stage without incident, got his diploma, and is now ready to fly the nest, come September. He's a great kid, a good student, and we're very proud of him. (Not as proud as a few families, who, despite pleas from the principal to refrain from applause and demonstrations of enthusiasm, went nuts when their family member crossed the stage — signage, horns, etc. We opted for the restrained and tasteful, "Whoo!") ...
The U.S. Civil War ended in 1865, but there are many who will tell you that we're still fighting it and will find evidence of such in Jackson Baker's cover story about the current battle over General Nathan Bedford Forrest's statue and gravesite in Memphis ...