Monday, November 06, 2006

A midterm night's dream

Well, tomorrow is midterm election day, and to some extent, it seems rather trivial discussing politics when people in the world are struggling for life and dying. Then I remember that the reason some people are struggling for life and dying is because of politics and I realize that perhaps it isn’t so trivial after all.

My absentee ballot has long since been mailed, although generally speaking I wasn’t thrilled with the choices in the good ol’ state of Tennessee. Ostensibly, the big thing about this election is whether or not Republicans will lose control of Congress. While I consider myself a Democrat, if you ask me to answer honestly if I think Democratic control of Congress would make a difference I’d say probably not. Still, a different approach can’t hurt, can it? I certainly hope not. At any rate, the races are close and it is possible that the GOP will still have control after tomorrow, even though I think Republican control of the three facets of government really sort of defeats the purpose of the whole “checks and balances” idea. Whatever.

For me, the most important aspect of this particular election is the marriage amendment. I think something like eight states total are presenting marriage amendments to their constitutions in this election. Tennessee’s amendment basically states that marriage will be defined as that between one man and one woman, and it also acknowledges that any legal marriages outside the state of Tennessee that do not fall under the same guidelines will not be recognized. I know some Europeans find the idea of such an amendment offensive, especially the latter part – they see it as just another example of American superciliousness and defiance in the face of the world, and I suppose I see their point.

Obviously, this amendment would limit marriage of many kinds, but most tragically it would disallow forever any same-sex marriages in Tennessee. Sure, one reason I disapprove of this amendment is because I believe that it is morally wrong to have an amendment restricting same-sex marriage. But I feel that despite one’s like or dislike of homosexuality, the real reason to vote no on this amendment is because the constitution is meant to protect the rights of the people, not take them away. I’ve seen some conservatives lament that this amendment must be passed because god forbid, if it doesn’t, then polygamy will be rampant, farmers will marry their cows, dogs will marry cats and pigs will lose their curly little tails. Well, let me present you with some hyperbole from the other side. If we start messing with constitutional amendments that restrict rights, what is to keep more particular amendments from rearing their ugly little conservative heads? What happens if the next amendment restricts marriage to that between one white woman and one white man? Or between one American woman and one American man? Sure, I can see the answer to that – it would never happen. But I never thought an amendment like this one would happen either. It doesn’t matter if you are gay or straight, married or single, this amendment actually does restrict your rights – whether it affects you or not. Next time around, it might be an amendment that actually impedes on your happiness. Do we really want to start pulling at that thread, only to have the fabric of American rights unravel before us?

I realize that for some people the need to “protect” the world from homosexuality is too strong to think rationally about this amendment. But for those of you who are really unsure, perhaps take a moment to think about it before you cast your vote.

To all of you, vote well, vote with your minds and not just your hearts. But most of all, revel in your right to vote, and GO VOTE!


J.Doe said...

100% of the political ads I've see have been negative and it's quite sickening.
The ads are both from Republican and Democratic candidates so I really can't see any changes if one party is victorious or another is victorius. They are all slime.
I hope the marriage amendment in Tennessee doesn't pass though. I think that if any two people want to marry, whether they be boy-girl or boy-boy or girl-girl is a beautiful thing.

sappho said...

Great post! And thank you for voting against the ban on gay marriage, even from abroad!