I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian, but you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school. As President, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion. And I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage.
Fellow GOP contender/professional eye-blaster Michelle Bachmann has also weighed in on the issue of homosexuality in America. ”They can get married,” she said. “But they abide by the same law as everyone else. They can marry a man if they’re a woman. Or they can marry a woman if they’re a man.” It’s kind of like saying, “hey kid, you can have ice cream instead of broccoli.. as long as your ice cream is broccoli.” And also, SPOILER ALERT: the kid in that sentence was lactose intolerant so he couldn’t have had ice cream anyway. WHAT?
But for our purposes, let us consider Rick Santorum as a prototypical social conservative, a specimen of the highest order. I’m going to assume the topography of his beliefs are familiar to most: the verdant rolling plains of intelligent design, the inexplicable fjords of the persecuted majority complex, and (of course) the soaring mountain range of homophobic madness. It’s a veritable Middle Earth of ignorance. Still, let us not dwell on this one sad person. Instead, follow me out of this Lord of the Rings reference into a clunky and extended sports analogy.
If social conservatives were a pro team (the Fightin’ Traditionalists), they’d be perennial basement dwellers, hapless losers whose fortune never changed. They’d make terrible late-season trades and blow 1st round draft picks on massive busts. They’d cull an impotent offense, a spineless defense, a disheartened fan base, and a rash of freak injuries, etc. Nothing would change their luck; not a new stadium, a new city, a new mascot, free parking, or born-again bobbleheads. Their lifetime record would be 0-9,780. Maybe worse.
Why the win-less record? Because this is a team competing in a league it doesn’t understand. In this league (call it what you will, Life, Reality, America, etc), change & progress are inevitable outcomes. They may require struggle and time but their eventual arrival is a given. Instead of accepting this and attempting to contribute to and steer this change, the Tradionalists stick to their outdated playbook. “The forward pass?” they huff. “We shan’t endorse this Godless affront to sporting decency. The same goes for splitters, the alley oop, hip-checking, and overhead volleys. Good day, sir.”
This team gets blown out of the water. There are almost too many memorable defeats to choose from. They lost to abolitionists & Americans who believed that fellow humans shouldn’t be slaves. In subsequent race rematches, they lost as well, in the Segregation Bowl, the Jim Crow Open, and the Selma 500. Fearing the end of America was at hand, they took a brave stand against Irish, Italian, German, Jewish, Slavic, and Hispanic immigration and lost. Our country miraculously didn’t end.
In their lifetime series against women, the Traditionalists have fared terribly, whether it was access to labor, the right to vote, or broader measures of legal & social equality for American dames (especially those with gams that just don’t quit). The team tried and failed to demonize Catholics (Team Pope) as outsiders spreading a terrifying religion, a strategy they’ve also employed against Muslims in America. They’ve lost to humane & safer working conditions, anti-prohibitionists, contraception, evolution (the famous Scopes Monkey playoff of 1925), jazz, rock & roll, and rap. They’ve even gone after fictional families & characters (the Simpsons, Murphy Brown) and come out on the losing end. Post those losses in the “fiction” column.
Social conservatives oppose change via two arguments: the structural integrity of society and/or religious tradition. The former tends to manifest in wild histrionics & much wailing about the downfall of our country. “If we allow X to happen, it will be the end of America as we know it.” Even a casual perusal of history disproves this theory. Increased equality has not killed us. Life goes on in America. Dudes holding hands with dudes has not destroyed the family unit let alone the entire nation.
Santorum, Perry, Bachmann, et al primarily oppose gay rights on religious grounds. There may be some attempts pseudo-scientific/sociological justification but the driving engine of their resistance is Biblical in nature. Their basic argument is, “my religion does not endorse this lifestyle and your insistence that I acknowledge and accept it is unfair” (followed by accusations of persecution, War on Christmas, etc). What this line of reasoning actually boils down to is “don’t oppress my oppression” or “don’t marginalize my marginalization” or “don’t fake the funk on a nasty dunk.” Actually, scratch that last one.
So once again under the banner of righteous spirituality, The Fightin’ Traditionalists take the field hoping to erase that goose-egg in their “win” column. They’ll put up a struggle and appear to be winning at times but the outcome of this contest has already been determined. Change happens. Societies progress. The world moves forward. Nobody knows when the buzzer will sound but we already know the score.