You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
Shut Up And Say “I Do”
Rage against those scary gays and invoke an angry God—it’s BushCo’s “Marriage Protection Week”
By Mark Morford
Did you hug a priest today? Run from a scary homosexual person? Coo over a copy of Bride’s magazine? Fall on your knees and thank God Almighty that your child isn’t yet gay or pagan or libertarian and if she is that’s OK because it’s nothing that regular lithium and electroshock therapy can’t “cure”?
You did? Great! Because this entire week, Oct. 13-18, has been decreed “Marriage Protection Week” by the delightfully sanctimonious and homophobic Bush administration. It’s true.
And hence the time’s never been better to shove any open-hearted, progressive, nontraditional notions of love or relationships or child rearing you might have deep, deep underground and be numbly happy that our fine government is stepping up to safeguard marriage from, well, you know, them. Or it. Or something.
Did you know? The glorious God-given sanctity of traditional, missionary-position marriage is under savage attack. The GOP is openly terrified that gays are galloping into the cultural consciousness on sequined horseback, lovers are shunning traditional weddings in favor of incense and anal sex and taiko drumming, children are weeping in the streets, neglected and confused and reading Harry Potter backward, wondering why Mommy scours the nerve.com personals while Daddy is off visiting his “sisters” in Bangkok.
BushCo doesn’t, of course, specify just what marriage requires protection from, exactly, except the “gay agenda” thing, which apparently means lots of happy lesbians handing out free vulva hand puppets to confused little girls on public playgrounds. Oh the horror.
But that doesn’t really matter, because, much like porn or ecstasy or murderous wars that gut the heart of a nation and decimate economies and kill U.S. soldiers every day for the sake of petrochemical and political profiteering, you don’t have to actually prove any sort of actual danger from the “evildoer” in question to launch your bilious counterattack.
This is the BushCo way. This is the neoconservative creed. Invent a bogus threat, inject black smears of fear, hint that something church approved and “family friendly” is in danger and that wee innocent children and cute puppies are about to be tattooed and/or made to wear lots of leather chaps and eyeliner, and if we don’t stand up to the Big Bad Evil, society as we know it will, very literally, crumble.
They cite studies, many from antichoice, homophobic neoconservative groups from Colorado Springs. They try to show that children of happy well-adjusted well-narcotized Bible-riffic man/woman parents fare better in the world than children of “other family structures,” like those horrible and clearly irresponsible single parents who should be shunned by society and sent off to savage islands somewhere in Indonesia.
They try to prove that gays are gathering in fur-lined basements and bright airy well-designed lofts right this minute, strategizing how to best rip apart the sturdy corduroy fabric of society and replace it with a nice light wool/spandex blend, all while introducing more young boys to Satanism and cool designer shoes.
Therefore, if we all work to “protect” marriage—which apparently means lots of counseling and guilt-thick church meetings and bad sex and rampant loathing of gay people, coupled with your tacit agreement to bury your sense of self and endure yet another decade of unhappy marriage with someone you might not love anymore and who might be abusive or unhealthy or just plain depressing as hell—society will be saved.
Funny. They do not cite studies that prove children of, say, superlative well-funded public schools and Head Start programs and robust arts programs fare better in the world than those who attend BushCo-reamed public schools as they are, well, right now.
Funny. They do not cite studies that prove it’s not, in fact, marriage that makes the family stable, but, rather, human connection and love and true communication, and that unwanted marriage or “staying together for the kids” can have a vicious, debilitating effect on children (not to mention the miserable parents) that is far, far more harmful than any divorce.
Funny. They do not cite studies showing how the GOP’s very own snide misogynistic antichoice stance and fearmongering tactics drive many young women who aren’t ready to have children into tailspins of misery and guilt.
They do not cite how the Catholic Church is telling poor nations all over the world that condoms don’t prevent AIDS. They do not cite how BushCo’s multimillion-dollar funding of disgusting “abstinence only” sex-ed programs in public schools works merely to poison the burgeoning sexuality of youth and leads straight to far too many misinformed virgins getting married and having awful sex and then getting divorced because they’re so damned lousy in bed.
They do not cite studies that show that sexual repression and typical neoconservative intolerance lead to really awful parenting and the rise of alcoholism and desperately horny priests and slothlike kids who are way, way too into professional wrestling.
And perhaps most telling of all, they do not cite the obvious common sense that anyone of any true awareness knows: that gay couples are equally, if not more, capable of raising healthy and wise and savvy and beautiful children than hetero couples, and that, with a 50 percent divorce rate still raging like a bad STD among happy marriage-protected Christians, it might very well be the new movement toward empowering the gay-love relationship that saves marriage at all.
Let’s make this perfectly clear: Marriage does not need protection. Traditional marriage does not need any forcible recommitment by right-wing Christian zealots who try to force everyone into little shiny happy heterosexual SUV-sized boxes of sameness and sanctimony and bad rented tuxedos and engraved gravy boats.
In fact, much like the church and the concept of “family” and Jenna Bush, marriage needs to be busted wide open. Marriage needs to be allowed to move and progress and dance as the culture moves, as consciousness progresses, as times and mores change, recognizing along the way that what might have been some toxic nuclear-family ideal in 1953 holds nearly zero relevance today, and in fact only makes us more uptight and rigid and confused.
Marriage needs to be tickled until it screams. Marriage needs to be stripped down and sprayed with whipped cream and licked all over. Marriage needs to be blown apart with the dynamite of new possibility and put back together again in ten thousand different kaleidoscopic configurations, each one encouraged and celebrated and applauded, even those that don’t involve ridiculously expensive cakes and tepid church ceremonies and the bride zonked on Valium as the groom slams another scotch to calm his nerves.
This is the only way. Evolve or die, honey. Because it’s exactly when you try to force-fit love’s modern, ever-evolving mutations into archaic, increasingly bitter boxes of ideology and Right wing-approved blandness and sactimony that the culture suffers most. Legislating love is never the answer. Hey, just ask your neighborhood Catholic priest.
So. Let us redefine this week. Let us claim it right back from the hounds of fearful conservatism. Let us call it “Shut the Hell Up and Get Your Damn Conservative Agenda Out of My Love Life Week.” In fact, let us make it a month. A year. An agenda of our own.
After all, marriage ain’t just for uptight right-wing Christian zealots anymore. And it never will be.