Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Great Pretender, part two

In the Great Pretender, Spotty told his readers about state senator Geoff Michel’s efforts to run away – rhetorically only, of course – from his Republican caucus in the Minnesota Legislature. He needs to do so, of course, because of the bluing of Edina, Geoff’s hometown. Oh, what a tangled web we weave!

Now, Spotty wants to spend some time over the next several days talking about the real Geoff Michel. First, let’s talk about civil rights, specifically the rights of gays and lesbians.

Whenever the passage of a so-called “defense of marriage” amendment to the Minnesota Constitution comes up, Michel gives a sad smile and says he thinks the people should vote on the issue. He wants voters to think that all of the controversy and his profound thinking on the subject have left him wounded and weary. By favoring a referendum on the amendment, Geoff is trying to wash his hands of the whole affair like Pilate, and like Pilate, he seeks to avoid moral responsibility for his conduct.

But there are no moral dodges, Senator. And isn’t it conservatives who are always telling us about how we all have to own up to the consequences of our own conduct? In the Great Pretender, Spotty mentioned a presentation made by Michel last week that was reported to him by Spot’s Dump Michele Bachmann friends. Apparently, there was this exchange during the question and answer period:
Q: Would you be in favor of permitting a referendum on a constitution amendment to reinstitute slavery?

Michel: No.

Q: Would you be in favor of permitting a referendum on a constitutional amendment to prohibit miscegenation? [interracial marriage for the youngsters in the crowd, ed.]

Michel: No.

Q: How is a gay marriage ban amendment any different?

Michel: Baleful stare at the questioner and a refusal to answer, other than to repeat that’s my position.

Eva Young, the publisher of Dump Michele Bachmann calls Geoff Michel a member of "the stealth Leviticus crowd." That’s an accurate description. The senator and the Republicans want next session to be all about gays, all the time. Why?

Because it panders to the prejudices of the public. By focusing on this divisive social issue, attention will be diverted from what’s really important, like education, transportation, and health care, and that’s helpful to conservatives. This brings the Great Pretender’s crowing about the 2020 Caucus into sharp relief.

Michel trots out the old saw about activist judges who might make an unpopular decision in favor gay marriage. Exactly. Which brings us back to slavery and miscegenation; you might throw women’s suffrage in there too, just for fun. The whole idea behind the equal protection clauses in both the federal and Minnesota constitutions is to prevent a majority from trampling the rights of an unpopular minority. As Spotty has observed before, when it comes to civil rights, sometimes the majority is just a mob.

Sometimes a person, even a legislator, needs to lead, not follow. Regrettably, Geoff Michel has decided to be Nathan Bedford Forrest and not Susan B. Anthony. History will judge him accordingly.

Spot would like to write more on this subject, and will, but right now he has to go out and go kibble shopping for Lee!


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