It was a planet beleaguered by war, interminable and senseless religious violence, natural disasters resulting in mass death, extortion by energy suppliers, troubled economies, and global warming. Yet the message delivery systems for one of its most powerful nations kept beating another drum… one that seemed to quaver in an exotic timbre unrelated to any of the real problems. And the beat was inescapable: Flying saucers… boom boom… filled with strong women who want to lead you… boom boom… and gay married people who will move in next door… you are under attack…
It’s one thing to pretend that movie star machinations and panda bear births are “news”; it’s quite another for media to insist that Hillary Clinton stop fighting and surrender simply because media has decided she should. And it will be quite another if gay marriage enters the election dialogue when the crackling sound of a planet on fire is constantly in our ears. Nero fiddled; an election dialogue distracted by homophobia would be something more akin to a symphony playing the theme from “Star Wars” on a stage set in a burning lake filled with oil, blood, and the water of melted icebergs.
Am I right in reading that a combination of pant suit jokes, throw-in-the-towel headlines and conjecture-filled “reporting” amounts to a collective decision by media that a strong woman intimidates America more than a black President? And that in acting on that decision, media is now so driven to shape the “When will she quit?” story that it has no problem distorting the reporting of the support Hillary Clinton has evidenced? You know, in a democracy…?
Now, let us travel to a little place called “Fear Island.” In the rear view mirror of Fear Island, a homosexual couple next door appears much closer than global warming or even the oil war that took the life of the kid across the street. Will McCain begin broadcasting his speeches from Fear Island, in effect telling voters “I suffered in a Vietnamese POW camp for your right to oppress gays and sustain a 19th century concept of family?”
Obama and Clinton oppose gay marriage but believe gay couples should be entitled to the same legal protections afforded hetero couples. Of course they do; they’re running for president. But Obama now has more to worry about than just a gentle chiding from Ellen DeGeneres. The recent California Supreme Court ruling that struck down limiting marriages to unions between a man and a woman was based on a ruling 60 years ago that struck down a ban on interracial marriages. Watching Obama finesse his separate-but- equal gay marriage posture alongside the immutable logic of that recent decision should be some Q and A worth watching on “Face the Nation.”
Speaking of conjecture… months ago this column wondered aloud if Hilary Clinton had begun the race seemingly miles ahead because, at some point, she had been chosen as the Democrat that corporate America would most like to do business with. Now I’m at a complete loss to explain the carpet-bombing her candidacy has endured since about three weeks ago when it appears that corporate media decided she had to go. Are we about to find out that, at the beginning of the 21st century, the most progressive nation on earth is ready for a black President but still afraid of leadership that doesn’t pack a penis?
Having recently spent more than a month in the Midwest, I can tell you that way before balking about a female president or gay neighbors people there would like the price of gas to drop. And there’s a deeper level to it: They’d like media to quit explaining high gas prices to them as though they are children who will never understand concepts like “rip off” or “pillage” or “Halliburton Ranch, Crawford Texas.”
We’re not fond of cutting to the chase in political dialogues. We prefer the flowery, romantic fringes. We don’t say, “Send in more young people for oil”, we say “Support our Troops.” We don’t say, “Condemn women to street abortions”, we say “Repeal Roe v Wade.” We don’t admit that the tangled brush in the swamp of oil/gas/Iraq may not easily yield to the “audacity of hope”, but we still hope. Overwhelmed, we turn to something we can process at a kind of kitchen table level: Gay marriage. But having allowed our sexist corporate square dance callers to crush Hillary, if we then allow distraction to enter the debate dialogue this year—after all we’ve been through–we will officially be the silliest nation on earth. Or for my own flowery fringe purposes… ask a starving polar bear with no ice to stand on how he feels about gay marriage.