Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Adolescence Revisited: Part One - Earn It

I had no real intention of returning to this post, but the minor debate that has broken out in its wake seems to deserve another treatment with clarifications and, in some cases, elaborations. So, I’ll try to get up a series of posts, each individual one addressing certain issues in the liberal vs conservative divide.

I noted gay conservatives tended to be the ideological parents in politics, while gay liberals tend to approach these issues with a distinctively teenaged mindset. With that being said, let’s jump right in.

One thing almost all teenagers want as soon as they reach a certain age is a car. They have arrived at a point and place in society where it has been collectively determined they’re ready for the privileges and responsibilities that come with driving. However, the question isn’t merely one of whether or not they’re ready to drive, but whether or not they should have a car, and if so, how will they go about getting it?

Most teenagers want a car right away. If their parents can buy it for them, great. However, many parents believe their child should earn the car. If they earn it themselves, they will value it more, take better care of it, take seriously the responsibilities that attend ownership. Furthermore, a teenager having a car handed to them causes an awful lot of resentment among his peers. Earning it lends an appreciation that extends beyond himself.

Such is the divide over conservative and liberal homosexuals in the gay marriage debate.

Gay liberals want gay marriage right now. They don’t particularly care how they get it, just so long as they get it. When they don’t get it, they tend to throw temper tantrums of enormous proportions. Gay conservatives, on the other hand, realize the importance of how we get it. We know we cannot simply demand it and have it granted through the beatific wave of the magical judicial wand. We must argue for it, persuade for it, and convince others of why we must have it. The method is just as important, if not more so, as the final result.

Conservatives, in general, tend to be more constitutionally conscious than their liberal brethren. There is a reason our constitution has worked so well for as long as it has. It upholds, above all things, the rule of law. It is specifically designed to protect against emotionalism by making it supremely difficult to amend. These are our founding principles, the most basic machinery that runs the republic. Tinkering with it should be done reluctantly, only after a great deal of thought and consideration.

Taking the gay marriage issue to the courts in the hopes that four black-robed individuals will give us what we demand harms the constitutional order. We have that car, but at what price? What happens when a right-wing judge grants opponents to gay rights what they want, without asking the people, the electorate what they think? Without giving us recourse to decide for ourselves as a Republic whether or not it is a good thing?

We might have gotten what we wanted in Massachusetts, but the resentment unleashed in the wake of Goodridge vs Massachusettes is still washing over the land to this day. In direct response to that decision, states all across the country began passing protection of marriage amendments – amendments that will take years, if not decades to undo. Not only that, but those activists and the judges who agree with them have thrown gasoline on a raging political bonfire of anti-judicial sentiment that will lead to greater and greater numbers of conservative and right-wing judges being appointed to the bench. These justices can and quite possibly will repeal many of the protections currently enjoyed by homosexuals in our country today.

That is what has been done by the liberal, “I have to have it now, no matter what!” mindset.

So, well done there.

Conservatives, on the other hand, know the value of earning gay marriage. Not only must we convince legislatures, but we must also convince the electorate. Through ardent, but respectful engagement of the issue, we seek to slowly bend the political winds to our conservative will. By working through legislatures and the electorate, gay marriage will have more solid foundations. Opponents will have much less ground to stand on. The constitutional order will remain intact, limiting the potential of judges to overturn it. People will appreciate it more and see the value in it, because we will have shown we are responsible and serious about obtaining this societal privilege in a manner that is inclusive and respectful of the constitution and the people of this country.

That is a vital difference in ideological approach. Gay liberals, again, have done the childish, demanding thing, and it has blown up in all our faces.

It is time to take the adult approach and earn gay marriage through sound argument, serious discussion, and constitutional means.