Wednesday, June 7, 2006

What war? What crises?

Commentary by Pat Murphy


Pat Murphy

Congress is in session, which isn't the same as saying lawmakers are on the same planet as most Americans.

Rightwing lawmakers suspended reality this week to argue (again) for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Other business may also grind to a halt for a vote (the sixth time!) on a regularly rejected flag-desecration amendment.

Time-outs from real-world matters will waste millions of dollars in salaries and paperwork, confirm Congress is largely peopled by buffoons, and achieve zero benefits for Americans.

Those who don't grasp this foolishness haven't kept up with the declining honesty in American politics and the empty personal character of Washington politicians who pander rather than govern. Aided by irrelevant, out-to-lunch Democrats, the Republican majority adroitly manufactures alarms that excite pea-brained zealots. Hence the Chicken Little sky-is-falling hoodwinking about homosexual agendas and torched Old Glories.

The flag amendment's major sponsor, the American Legion's failing Citizens Flag Alliance, claims 12 flag "burning" incidents in 2005, usually involving drunks out late on the town. How ironic: American Legion members dispose of old flags by burning them; drunks do it as a prank. Same result, drunk or sober.

Disapproval of the amendment is up sharply (63 percent) and support down (35 percent), polls report.

As for gay marriage: President Bush says this is to protect "traditional" marriage, although Newsweek magazine quotes a friend as saying W doesn't give a "s- -t" about the issue.

The reddest of red states that presumably already protect traditional marriage against gays were listed in 2004 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics in the top percentile of divorce-rate states—Wyoming, 5.2 percent per 1,000 population; Idaho 5.0 and Utah 4.1. Bible-thumping Arkansas had a robust 6.1.

And in Tennessee, whose senior senator, Majority Leader Bill Frist, shuns genuine catastrophic national issues to engage in monkeyshines with the U.S. Constitution, the divorce rate for 2004 was high-side 4.9. Frist, the genius cardiologist who looked at a crude videotape of brain-dead Terri Schiavo and declared she could be saved, performs his trained-seal act to prove he's presidential timber. Compared to this clown Frist, President Bush comes off as a high priest of Mensa intellectualism.

In the only legalized same-sex marriage state, the Massachusetts divorce rate amounts to a mere 2.2 per 1,000 population.

Meanwhile, authentic calamities—war in Iraq and soaring GI casualties, domestic spying, oil prices, scandalous congressional corruption, the world's largest national debt—wait.

Republicans who've sold their souls to evangelical thugs for votes don't dare put the country first.

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