Why I can’t care about same-sex marriage
When I decided on this article’s topic, I realized that it would offend the majority of people who read it. If you are one of those people, I sincerely apologize. Also, I urge you to develop thicker skin. This is a political article, and I find modern politics to be a source of incessant personal offense.
Each time I suffer the misfortune of running across a campaign ad, which is never more than a blatantly vague character assassination, I am offended. Whenever I try to forgivingly reevaluate our political system, for instance by subjecting myself to the presidential “debates,” I am outraged by insubstantial questions posed by powerless moderators that are met with buzzwords and tag lines for answers.
There is an underlying message to all of it, and it’s always the same: you, as a member of the United States’ voting population, are either stupid or powerless. You can either accept the terms by which our political process is defined, in which case you are a fool, or refuse it and come to terms with your powerlessness in light of the fact that there is no alternative dialogue with any significant power or exposure.
For months now, we have been immersed in what should be the most dynamically perceptive and critical political climate in our nation, that which precedes the presidential election. Instead, the media is saturated like never before with irrelevant topics as debated by full-grown adults trying to shout over each other. It is this phenomenon, the disproportionate public attention paid to topics that, from a humanitarian perspective, are relatively irrelevant, that gives my article its title.
I can’t turn my head without spotting the “Vote No” logo on a t-shirt, poster or sticker, but nobody seems troubled that neither major presidential candidate plans on lowering the Pentagon’s base military budget. In a country whose military expenditure is the highest in the world, greater than that of the next ten countries combined, whose national security is under no imminent threat, where do we get off discussing gay marriage as if it is the hot-button topic of our nation’s values?
Maybe I’m getting my lines crossed by discussing foreign policy and domestic issues at the same time. I don’t really believe that our military budget is unrelated to our domestic lives, but for the sake of argument I’ll disregard it as an issue competing for exposure. Still, there are countless, pressing domestic issues that not only underreported, but virtually absent from discussion both in the media and in everyday life among Americans.
For instance, after over a decade, one would hope the vanishing act performed on our civil liberties following the September 11th catastrophe would show up in the national dialogue. Or perhaps the fact that the last presidential term saw the precedent set for the normalization of extra-judicial assassinations targeting American citizens might draw the attention of those concerned with our nation’s values. Yet these issues remain in the dark while the nation’s eye is collectively deprived of any alternative but to focus on the legality of same-sex marriage and abortion.
A sense of political disillusionment is seeping into the American population. The complaint that there is relatively little practical difference between a vote for either political super-party is an increasingly prevalent one, but the jaded shouldn’t respond with defeatist apathy.
If this system is in fact faulty, the issues that are being neglected as a result of the apparent corruption should be diligently considered. This is why I can’t care about same sex marriage, because too many people already do. As important as this issue is to many Minnesotans, no single political discussion deserves a virtual monopoly on the national dialogue.