The State of Our Unions
“Ladies and gentleman, the state of our unions is screwed…”
I suppose a president couldn’t come out and say that. But on January 31 the president of the United States implied as much in his obligatory State of the Union address to both houses, the Cabinet, Supreme Court and invited guests (except Cindy Sheehan, who was forcibly removed —well, arrested—for wearing an antiwar T-shirt. So much for freedom of speech).
The speech went fine—the usual pablum, spin, partial lies, pledges that never happen. All of that I’ll leave to the political pundits. But then, about 50 minutes in, he mentioned us for eight little seconds, eight seconds that show once again that gays and lesbians are not considered Americans by this administration or this party, and that when Bush or the neocons say “my fellow Americans” they simply don’t mean gays and lesbians.
“They [the American people] are concerned about unethical conduct by public officials and discouraged by activist courts that try to redefine marriage,” the president said as he referred to his coup on the Supreme Court (Alito and Roberts; enter 40 years of darkness in America).
First of all, why? Why on earth take a swipe at gays and lesbians when it’s not on the political radar right now? Is he gearing up for the midterms in 2006? Are the Republicans going to make fags their whipping boys again, hoping to galvanize public opinion?
And how can he mix same sex marriage in with unethical conduct? In the first line he says America is concerned about unethical conduct by public officials—given the state of affairs in politics, one could safely assume he was referring to his own administration. Names like Karl Rove, Tom DeLay, or Jack Abramoff come to mind when thinking of unethical conduct. Hell, maybe it’s just me, but the wiretapping of Americans without a warrant sounds unethical—so maybe he was referring to himself.
But then, out of the blue, in comes the swipe at same-sex marriage. Appeal to the base, shore them up, grab them—at the expense of good, taxpaying Americans.
Well, first a few facts. Mr. President, the state of our unions is stronger than ever. We don’t need pieces of paper—never have, really—to validate our love or our coupling. While your heterosexual counterparts, including many of your friends on the Hill, have done all they could to destroy the institution of marriage through cheating, lying, or divorce (heck, even your brother, right?), we have formed families and unions without your approval or your benefits. Marriage, to us, isn’t about financial gain or keeping up appearances; it’s about forging a bond that many, including the government, don’t want to even recognize. Yet we do it and continue to do it, and nothing you can say or do will stop us. We, like everyone else, love. And when we love, we couple. No activist judge, poll, or vote can change that.
We’re winning more and more, and you can’t stop it and that scares you. As I sat in mediation in my wrongful-death lawsuit just last week, the week of January 23, 2006, the lawyer appointed to be the mediator wanted to thank me. For what? It appears my case has changed state laws in some way, and his cousin, a lesbian, was able to sue for wrongful death on behalf of her partner because of my lawsuit. A year ago she would have been thrown out of the suit. Now she’s in. I did that with the help of attorney Michael Lotta and the second district appellate court in Los Angeles. Activist judges, I suppose, acting on behalf of those who need it.
Yes, states are voting against same-sex marriage. But that doesn’t stop us from getting together. And that’s the bottom line here. The state of our unions is strong, and that scares those who would oppress us. We are out there, in families, in society, in neighborhoods, in films, and on TV. They are dinosaurs caught in the tar pits, and they are trying to take as many in with them as possible.
But something remarkable is happening. America is tired of the muck, the tar. America knows that Cindy Sheehan being arrested is far more important to the nation than gays getting married. They’re aware that an unjust war being fought in a region about to explode is no longer a good idea. They now see the emperor has no clothes. Bush’s approval rating is lower than that of any president except Nixon during Watergate. And that plays in our favor. When a distrusted bully picks on you, even people who normally don’t like you will often take your side, just because the despot is the one doing the name-calling.
The fact is, we’re in a fascist state. That’s not alarmist, inflammatory, or overreactionary. It’s a fact. Noah Webster’s dictionary defines fascism as “an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.” As we talk about spreading democracy throughout the world we must remember we are doing it from a fascist point of view. And fascists don’t like civil rights.
America, the state of your union is not nearly as good as the state of ours. Odd, you say? Again, we have one thing on our side that the president can’t take away: the truth. Coretta Scott King, who died on the same day Bush did this little PR speech, never wavered from her belief that if you keep on keepin’ on, and you’re on the side of truth and tolerance, that you can and will win. There are more women in this country than gays and lesbians, and they are directly under attack by these rich white men in power. There are more 18- to 25-year-olds in this country than gays and lesbians, and their very freedom is in question since, in his speech, Bush made it sound like we’re going to Iran and Syria next, and that will require troops we don’t have. And there are more seniors in this country than gays and lesbians, and their health care is just a few pen strokes away from being all but taken away. No matter what Bush or his cronies do about same-sex marriage, gays and lesbians will still survive, still couple, and still, in some states, fight for and win rights and recognition for their unions. Women, young people, and the elderly? You’re just screwed.
Poor desperate Bush. He’s grabbing at straws to get approval, and the gay-bashing straw is one he grabbed at for his State of the Union speech. Well, Bush, your act is getting old. And we, the people, get it. So do the courts. Your days are numbered in office, and neocons, your days are numbered as leaders. And not because of your stance on gays, but because of your inability to govern all the people in this country.
Gay people, don’t worry about what the prez said the other night. Imagine if you were in New Orleans, a city that has been abandoned and has suffered one of the worst natural disasters in our nation’s history. It took Bush 47 minutes to even mention it, and he didn’t really say a word about how the nation was going to respond.
No, Bush has let everyone down, not just gays and lesbians. The party is self-destructing. This is one time we need to continue our battles in the courts and let this party in power eat their young and self-destruct, each day becoming more and more exposed as the corrupt, bigoted theocrats they are.
Stomp all you want, because no matter what you state, our unions continue.