TODAY, ALAS, WE ARE NOT ALL GAY
Today the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act and paved the way for California to resume conducting same-sex marriages. That's great news. But it leaves me wondering why we're moving forward on gay equality, and possibly on the cause of undocumented immigrants, while poor people, unemployed people, people who've fought with banks over their mortgages, non-whites who want to vote, union workers, abortion rights supporters, and a host of other worthy groups are regularly being kicked in the teeth, sometimes (see: yesterday) by the very same Supreme Court that ruled today.
When I consider the possibility that the difference is that powerful economic interests don't lose anything from gay equality, I think: but why does there seem to be progress on immigration? Well, the party the powerful like best, the GOP, allegedly can't win the White House without Hispanic votes. But, then, why are abortion rights under attack in just about every state where Republicans are in charge? Why do Republicans still think a hard-line stance on abortion has no political downside? And why don't they seem to feel that way anymore about gay rights? How did gay rights get decoupled from abortion as part of the traditional-values wedge-issue package that always kept Middle American whites voting for the party most unabashed in its defense of the pluticracy?
Somehow, gay people have been successful at persuading heartlanders -- and some of the Wall Streeters who finance political campaigns -- to wish them well in their fight. They've fought hard, as have immigrants' rights groups. But a lot of groups fight hard. When I compare these groups to groups that have been less successful in recent years, I wonder: Is support for abortion rights and the rights of African-Americans just subject to fatigue, after America has spent so many decades talking about these issues? Are these issues too associated with the hated '60s and '70s? Does the same apply to the poor and unemployed and the unionized, even when the people we're talking about are people who are newly unemployed or impoverished, people who are often heartlanders themselves? Do the causes of gay people and immigrants seem somehow new to Middle America, which is sick of hearing about all that other stuff?
I don't know. I'm just throwing these questions out. I just wish we could bottle and sell whatever the gay-rights movement is doing right these days.