Young people today have been programmed to “Rage Against the Machine.” The Left has successfully marketed youthful rebellion against “The Man” for decades. One has to wonder, though, how long it will take until today’s budding hipsters -- gussied up in a postmodern hodgepodge of recycled rebellions past -- finally realize that they are the new squares.
“The Man” is now a smooth-talking, b-ball playin’ brother who come up from bein’ a community organizer in the ghetto. He wants to save the planet, offer healthcare to everyone, punish the greedy, redistribute wealth, and offer a welcoming hand to his working-class Brown brothers from the south. He’s surrounded himself with a rainbow coalition of the choicest minorities.
It’s got to be tough to make it as a real radical lefty these days. You really have to do your research and get out your microscope to find your microaggressions. You have to go so far left that it feels almost tongue in cheek and goofy, like that awkwardly ironic t-shirt you bought at Urban Outfitters. You have to hold an anti-plastic bag drum circle. It’s not like back in the ‘60s when you could just grow your hair out, get naked and sit around singing and smoking pot in the mud. And it’s not some wizened old beatnik feeding you communist propaganda; it’s your schoolteacher, your principal, your college professor and your Supreme Court Justices. The future is now, cats, and you can’t fight “The Man” when he’s on your side. You can take to the streets and march, if that’s what you’re into, but your signs might as well say “Yes, sir, more of the same, please!” All you can do is become part of the machine, another cog. Your “rage” is all staged.
Any real resistance, any real rebellion at this point will have to come from the right.
There is growing reason for it. This has not been the people’s revolution. If polls are to be believed and votes are to be counted, the federal government is now behaving more and more like an oligarchy, where a cadre of elites, academics and “experts” decide what’s good for the people. Healthcare reform was passed with waning support, when few even knew what was in the bill. The American people were assured by their irritated masters that they would learn to like it. The State of Arizona, a border state facing a massive influx of illegal immigrants, decided to crack down and enforce the law. A majority of Americans have always supported sensible immigration control and rule of law over free-for-all, but “The Man” stepped in, sued the state and got a judicial decision that hobbled Arizona’s attempt at immigration control before it went into effect.
Most recently, an openly gay federal judge negated the will of a majority of Californians -- 7 million of them -- and decided that the state would recognize same-sex marriages whether the people agreed or not.
As the state progressively abandons the song and dance required to maintain the illusion that America is governed for and by the people, as it stops asking and listening and starts telling, it becomes increasingly illegitimate as a people’s government. At a certain point, it stops being us and starts being them, they, IT.
Andy Nowicki called it when he wrote:
They are the rulers; we are the ruled. They are in control; we aren't.
In fact, they have shown themselves to be openly contemptuous of, even mocking towards, anyone with the audacity to try to stop them from achieving their goals. "Pass all the resolutions you want, suckers!" they sneer, "We'll just send our boys in black to knock 'em down and call 'em 'unconstitutional,' and it'll be back to square one for you bozos!"
Yes, they have the power, and they'll eventually get exactly what they want.
The far Left has been portraying the state as an illegitimate oppressor for years. Until recently, the Right has probably seen itself reflected in the halls of power enough to think of the government as “us,” albeit ever more besieged by usurpers. But the worm has turned and the usurpers have usurped. Again, after Nowicki, “let them have the state” -- withdraw, disengage, ridicule and defy the Other.
What the state does is simply what the state does.
It has long been clear that the list of “rights, benefits and responsibilities” associated with marriage and denied to same-sex couples are beside the point for the majority of same-sex marriage supporters. For many, even a perfect civil union law that replicated those rights, benefits and responsibilities exactly would not be an acceptable compromise, so long as the word marriage is reserved for heterosexual couples. The push for same-sex marriage is emotionally charged and highly symbolic. It’s about a word that equalizes, validates and -- same-sex marriage supporters hope -- confers a sense of collective acceptance that same-sex unions are essentially the same as heterosexual marriages.
But what the state does is simply what the state does.
Those on the Right can withhold social approval and deny that acceptance. The Right can rebel against the state by resisting socially, by refusing to pretend that this consensus exists, by refusing to give the actions of the state any moral authority.
The general public does this already. Take for example the manufactured consensus on transsexuals.
According to the law of the land in many states, a man who takes female hormones and chooses to live as a woman -- usually but not always with the goal of getting breast implants and having his penis removed -- can legally become a woman. Likewise, any woman who prefers comfortable shoes can take male hormones, live as a man, and according to the law, become a man. The media will deferentially perpetuate this illusion by referring to her with all of the pronouns normally reserved for men who were born male. Reporters will even report, straight-faced, that a man has given birth.
The state considers Thomas Beatie a man, and the United States Tennis Association allowed Renée Richards to play as a woman, but few people actually accept that a female can truly become a male or vice versa. If you doubt this, imagine an average guy telling his friends and family that he is dating a male-to-female transsexual. “But the state considers her a woman” will not change the fact that in most people’s eyes, that dude is having sex with another dude. A dude with particularly buoyant breasts who is missing a penis -- a dude who looks like a lady -- but a dude all the same. To the general public, Thomas Beatie is a freakshow, a bearded lady who had a baby. Chaz Bono is just another fat lesbian with a short haircut. The government and the media say one thing, and the rest of us chuckle and believe another.
What the state says is simply what the state says.
Same-sex marriage offers another opportunity to separate what is right from what the state says. Among the various factions and thinkers on the Right, there will be dispute about the place of homosexuals in society and there will competing visions of what is ideal. But I think just about everyone can agree, though sometimes for different reasons, that same-sex marriage is a ridiculous sham and should be treated as such.
And here’s where it comes down to you.
You have the choice either to concede and play along, or you can keep same-sex “marriages” encased in sarcastic quotation marks. I have male associates who refer to male partners as their “husbands” and who consider themselves “married.” I’m not going to indulge that fantasy. As a writer, I don’t refer to MTFs as women, and I won’t refer to some lesbian’s live-in lover as her “wife” -- no matter what the state says.
To restate the old H.L. Mencken zinger, we must respect the other fellow's “marriage,” but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his “husband” is handsome and his adopted children are smart.
“Oh, is that what they’re calling it now?”