“From sea to shining sea” across our national landscape, we are awash in unnecessary, racist, homophobic and outright despicable efforts to legislate against us and our neighbors - to control what we think and do. It’s being done in the name of someone’s “God” or someone’s corporate interests or others with self-serving, underhanded - often dangerous - attempts to prolong their worthless political lives at the public trough.
We’ve been inundated by media coverage of one of the worst of the crop that made it to a governor’s desk. A piece of legislative trash - sponsored mostly by a Colorado group calling itself “christian” - to allow “religious beliefs” to trump citizenship rights of those whom the “believers” disapprove. While the media made it mostly a matter of sexual orientation, it was, in fact, an effort to legislate absolutely any person’s activities if those activities ran counter to someone providing a public service or product. That’s all of us.
The governor vetoed the bill. Not, I think, because it was the right thing to do. Which it was. Remember, this is someone running for re-election. I’d bet she suddenly realized overwhelming public - and corporate - opposition was a prime indicator of Arizona political winds and that she’d be better off temporarily angering her right-wing base than running afoul of possibly a much wider - and likely corporate “contributor” - constituency.
But her political fortunes aren’t the issue here. What IS the issue is eight other states are dealing with the same piece of phony moralistic garbage. Legislatures in Oregon and Idaho appear to have bottled up those bills in committee. For now. But they’ll be back. You can count on it. What the other six states will do is anyone’s guess.
This is just one area in which wrong-headed, narrow-minded, moralistic minorities are trying to do through law what they can’t do any other way - infringe on the rights of the rest of us by making our conduct in various issues illegal if our conduct flies in the face of their “moral beliefs.” There are many, many more similar legislative land mines out there..
Whether it’s gay rights, voter rights, abortion rights, access to medical care, privatizing schools or the post office or prisons or other public institutions of choice, a network of these ideologically vacant “moralists” has been created to raise havoc with our society. We hear and read so much about their efforts that it’s hard to keep in mind they’re minorities. But they are.
It’s no secret who’s behind them. James Dobson and other fundamentalist church leaders, the Koch brothers and their various 501(c)3 and (c)4 fronts, the John Birch Society, Family Forum, the NRA, Heritage Foundation and dozens and dozens of small, tin-hat groups and billionaire self-appointed keepers of the national moral flame. Some are new- some aren’t. But the Internet and other recent technologies have given them the means of spreading their societal undermining so they seem much larger and more important than they really are.
I tangled repeatedly with the little Idaho nest of the Birch Society in the 1960's. The message then was the same as the message now - this country is “going to Hell in a handbasket “ because of (insert your favorite conspiracy). The focus 50 years ago was mostly on “Communists” hiding in our government. But abortion and subjugation of the rights of minorities were - and are - also Birch menu items. (more…)