Civilly sacred places. Somebody who writes – without a trace of irony – such an oxymoron should be stricken permanently from the list of people who have useful things to say. But it's part of the wrap-up of Mitch Pearlstein's latest tut tut in the Strib.
A sacred place is a church, a synagogue, a mosque, a mountain, or even a tree that is dedicated to the worship of a deity. You can look it up. So, Mitch, which one these is not like the others: church, synagogue, state capitol, mosque? Take your time, Mitch. Here's a hint: a state capitol is not a place of worship.
Pearlstein's silly rhetorical flourish is contained in a piece criticizing the mad monk Bradlee Dean. But really, he's just trying to find moral equivalence in both sides of the gay rights issue. Rather like Katherine Kersten and Tom Pritchard are trying to do, too. It's pure David Brooks. Here's Driftglass discussing Brooks trying to distance himself from another group of brain stems, the birthers:
In fact, at no point does Bobo bother to mention the words "Republican" or "Conservative" at all, nor the fact that the cultivation [ ] of this grotesque crop of hate, bigotry and ignorance -- this methodical hate-iculture of the dark side of the American soul -- has been a the mainstay of David Brook's very own Republican Party for as long as Mr. Brooks has been alive.
There are too many photos of Bradlee Dean and his zany boys with, inter alia, Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann, and Tom Emmer for Republicans to walk away from him now. Too many years of them being promoted by Mitch Berg and the Patriot. Too late Mr. Pearlstein: the Republicans own Bradlee lock, stock, and barrel. It's the Bradlee Dean Amendment going on the ballot now.
Here's the, um, guts of Pearlstein's argument:
It also can be demanding to argue against what many Americans view as a simple question of justice and equality.
"Tell me again," a supporter of same-sex marriage might ask an opponent, "how does my getting married threaten your marriage?"
Such questions are not the kind that can be answered superficially -- if they're to be answered compellingly.
Just as proponents' claims in the name of justice, equality and fundamental human rights cannot be effectively countered without a nuanced sense of history, human nature, the well-being of children and the complicated rest.
All that being the case, there simply is no way for the opponents of same-sex marriage to prevail if they are seen as motivated, not by what they genuinely see as the best interests of society, but rather by insufficiently good hearts.
To this difficult mix, one might add the understandable reluctance of most same-sex marriage opponents to engage in any substantial conversation on the subject whatsoever, given the strong possibility of being demagogically labeled a lousy excuse for a human being, no matter their generosity of spirit.
Much the same holds, I would argue, when it comes to various other family issues, especially as they touch on questions of race. [emphasis mine]
Poor Mitch has spent many sleepless nights, apparently, trying to figure out how to explain the moral rightness of laws against miscegenation! Mitch's argument is, by the way, more or less the natural law nonsense that spawn of Mitch, Katie, spews. (They're not really related; Katie just works for Mitch these days.)
Mitch finishes with this laugher:
One of the sterling developments of the last half century-plus is that the number of such fools throughout America is radically smaller than it had been.
But that doesn't mean we're free of everyone -- often mislabeled as conservatives -- whose ideas of freedom and decency are corruptions of all that is good and holy about our country.
And when they do show up and spew in civically sacred places like state capitols, my conservative colleagues and I need to be first in condemning them.
You're just a little late to the party, Mitch. And it will take more than a column to get all the manure off your shoes.