(And by the way, because of a previous Proposition, this would've kicked to the courts anyway. So this statement literally makes no sense)
Can anyone even tell me how representative government is supposed to work in this country anymore under this bizarre neo-belief system? Judges are too activist -- except when they actively toss out the laws we want them to, or we kick legislation to them politicos are too cowardly to handle. Our elected representatives aren't actually responsible ... for lawmaking ... why don't we just go to direct referendum on every issue? Why even have elected representatives anymore? Is there some sort of internally consistent set of rules for determing what laws get determined by the legislature and what gets kicked back to the people? Just the ones involving icky fluids?
How does one teach a sixth grade civics class in this country now with a straight face?
My condolences to the thousands of loving families who are trying to live their damn lives without interfering with anyone else's rights or responsibilities. My personal condolences to fellow screenwriter John August, who wrote about this quite movingly yesterday.
(NOTE: heavy does of Irish bar-talk to follow. You may wish to move on to more positive or constructive blogs. Fair warning)
It's interesting -- several friends have expressed a current crisis of faith in God because of recent world events. As my relationship with God is a bit more ... distaff, I find myself having a crisis of faith in the probability that this country ... is even the country we think it is. That it will even hold together. Many people love their country. But this love, like any longstanding romantic relationsip, is based on delicate substructure of very useful self-delusion (which, might I add, is not a bad thing in and of itself.)
America the idea was founded by people who fled England rather than be told how to worship -- what to believe in. America the idea was created by men who valued freedom of speech, action and thought so highly they codified these ideas in the Constitution that's served as a model for almost every emergent democracy since. America the idea's first leaders were men like Thomas Jefferson, who said one of the two quotes I live my life by: "But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."
But today, in America the country, we are told morality must be legislated. In America the country we have a government that treats the free press as a PR arm at best and a nuisance at worst. In America the country we are unable to guarantee our elections are fair, because somehow technology you use every day at your ATM is incompatible with voting. In America the country we have just seen hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens abandoned by a government run by men who somehow manage to both preach government is a wasteful evil and have still made their private fortunes working for companies that suck off that same government's teat. In America the country we are told that dissent is un-American and traitorous ... After flying to aid their fellow citizens, firefighters were distressed to find they'd be used as community-relations officers and some as props in Presidential photo-ops, when they could instead be saving lives:
On Monday, some firefighters stuck in the staging area at the Sheraton peeled off their FEMA-issued shirts and stuffed them in backpacks, saying they refuse to represent the federal agency.
Federal officials are unapologetic.
"I would go back and ask the firefighter to revisit his commitment to FEMA, to firefighting and to the citizens of this country," said FEMA spokeswoman Mary Hudak.
See, insanely, I would think that a man who'd made his life's work running into burning buildings, and risking death every single damn day of his life in order to save the lives of other citizens of this country had already shown his commitment to fire-fighting by, oh, actually fighting fires. But now I know that's crazy talk. If you don't wear the right t-shirt, then your life's work is for naught. I do not use the word lightly, people and you know I preach moderation here at Kung Fu Monkey: but someone please feel free to explain how that is not fascism.
I've made my views known clearly, I think, before now. Regardless of the passports I carry, I am first a citizen of democracy, of equal rights, of the framework of personal privacy tempered with shared responsibility. My allegiance is to that idea, not necessarily the piece of earth where it took fortuitous root.
Some may read this as depressing, defeatism or just melancholy, veiled threats or even wishful thinking for a dire future. It's not, just more in the British vein of keeping one eye cocked on, as Warren Ellis recently referenced, the Grim Meathook Future that always lurks in the shadows. In the shadows of any nation, no matter how mighty. Sometimes my job as an essayist, I think, is to point and say "Look, look at what we can do, what passion and hard work can do, how high we can rise!" And sometimes it's to remind everyone that empires fall, there are no guarantees, we have been very lucky monkeys and -- you'll get this if you saw Rome this week -- "... snows always melt."
Never my favorite human being, but a helluva speaker, Bill Clinton famously said: "There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America."
I hope that is true.
Unfortunately, the other quote I live my life by: "Hope is not a plan."
Man, I need to start drinking again.