Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived
Supporters of justice were very pleased the Supreme Court helped advance equality and gay rights. However, some celebrants are applauding in the wrong directions. Many on Facebook, and surely elsewhere, are promoting Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, who are not Supreme Court justices, as leaders who made this happen.
Please research that Obama and Clinton opposed gay marriage until very recently. They opposed gay marriage when polls showed only a minority supported it, and supported it, only after heroic activists helped advance this issue and polls began showing majority support. Google the Gallup polling trends, and discover Hillary and Obama's "evolving" support directly correlates with public opinion.
An ABC News timeline of Obama's "evolution" on gay marriage shows his poll-chasing clearly. In 2004, Obama said "marriage is between a man and a woman." In 2010, Obama said, "I have been ... unwilling to sign on to same-sex marriage primarily because of my understandings of the traditional definitions of marriage." In 2011, Obama's communications director said, "The president has never favored same-sex marriage. He is against it."
According to a Washington Post timeline of Hillary's "evolution," she, too, flip-flopped like Obama. In January 2000, Hillary said, "Marriage has got historic, religious and moral content that goes back to the beginning of time, and I think a marriage is as a marriage has always been, between a man and a woman." In 2002, Hillary was asked by "Hardball" host Chris Matthews if she thought New York should recognize gay marriage. Hillary unequivocally responded with a resounding, "No!"
So exactly when did Hillary and Obama "evolve"? Another Washington Post article reports, "Obama came out in support of same-sex marriage in 2012, and Clinton in 2013..." There you have it. These professional politicians did not lead this effort, but merely responded to public opinion.
Newsflash: This is not leadership!
The real leaders were the thousands of gay rights activists that helped legalize gay marriage in many states, which also raised awareness.
We all need to applaud gay marriage or any other beautiful success, but clapping intelligently will accelerate our progress much more effectively. Leadership identification is equally important.
Please see that each one of us can be important leaders with great power to ripple ideas to friends and family and outward to all.
Regardless of all this, hooray for the gays! May we all live happily ever after in loving justice and respect.
Learning to hate
We now know that Dylann Roof, the young man who murdered nine people in Charleston, S.C., last week, left behind a manifesto. And from it, we know that the killer's Damascus-road conversion happened once he believed in the righteousness of the Passion of George Zimmerman, the Miami, Florida vigilante who gunned down a black teenager for wearing a hoodie and carrying Skittles.
But what informed his deadly opinions about the Trayvon Martin case? Where did his virulent racism, his born-again awakening about "white race" superiority come from? Was it voices inside his head? Or did he learn how to hate from others? His manifesto credits a group with the innocuous-sounding name of the Council of Conservative Citizens. With a name like that, it could almost be one of our local, holier-than-thou watchdog tea parties. Interestingly, the leader of this group, Earl P. Holt III, is a regular contributor to little Tommy Cotton and a gaggle of GOP presidential candidates now tripping over themselves to return his donations.
Where does a high school dropout like Dylann Roof go to learn how to be a bigot? Surely some intrepid journalist will soon connect the dots for us. Did he watch Fox News? Did he bathe regularly in Rush Limbaugh's flying spittle, or listen to any of the other wingnuts polluting America's airwaves? Did he follow some gilded evangelist beguiling his flock to shed their wealth and hate Muslims and embrace Christ's love of Western civilization? What books did he read and what websites did he visit? When are we going to realize that the poison these hucksters peddle has deadly consequences? How many more innocents have to die?
As is the case with most shooters who are a whiter shade of pale, there is a rush to blame whatever lurked within Dylann Roof on mental illness. But whatever sparked his evil rampage, whether it spontaneously erupted from within a rotten soul or was cultivated by others on the callous, careless fringes of our impolite society, would Dylann Roof be as infamous today without his God-blessed Second Amendment right? That's a rhetorical question, by the way. Arthur Chu, in a recent Salon article, stated the obvious. A "sane" person holding a gun is intrinsically more dangerous than a "crazy" person, no matter how crazy, without a gun. That, ironically, is bulletproof logic.
Guns like autos
A recent New York Times op-ed, "You're Better Than This, Europe," led me to thinking about one of the biggest and easiest ways to fix problems in the U.S.: deaths by guns. All it takes is will, legislation and overcoming the greed of the gun industry. We should treat guns like autos.
Licensing guns and gun owners like autos and auto drivers would take a giant step, particularly with a requirement for liability insurance for guns and gun ownership. Is it irony or lunacy that we are far more restrictive and sane about autos than guns? Imagine if gun owners had to register their guns and themselves every year or three. I see the day when liability insurance companies would restrict ownership of weapons, so that far fewer crazies take out nine worshipers or 20 kids at school, and far fewer kids are killed in homes.
From the web
In response to an Arkansas Blog item wondering if the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's society page will now feature profiles of same-sex marriages:
They did publish extensive listings of all the couples who applied for marriage licenses in Pulaski County last year after Piazza's ruling. To get on the one or two pages in the High Profile section on Sundays requires that you are somebody, know somebody, or have a lot of money (based on what I've heard and seen — not a confirmed fact). So depending on the number of weddings they may have a full-or-half page spread with multiple photos of the bride and groom, their families and the wedding party, or maybe just four to a page with big photos of the bride with more specific information about the wedding and reception than you find in the tiny notices buried elsewhere in that same section.
Maybe we should take bets on when we think they'll feature a gay wedding anywhere in the High Profile section.
Whether the DoG decides to publish gay wedding announcements, I am sure, will depend on how much influence and money the people getting married have. Society pages have always been for the wealthy and influential, and about the only people who read them are wealthy and influential, or people who wanna be wealthy and influential.