As expected, the attempts by the White House to amend the constitution to include the phrase “Homo and Lesbo-sapiens shalt not unite in holy hetero-matrimony” fell flat with a resounding thud on the Senate floor. Those who favored a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages were only able to garner 48 votes, falling embarrassingly and predictably short of the necessary 60 to move it ahead.
For the majority of Republicans, though, even ones like Senator John McCain, who called the move to desecrate the Constitution by members of his own party, “un-Republican” and “un-American,” this represented somewhat of a “victory” (in the Orwellian “doublespeak” sense of the word, that is). For a few moments, at least, Americans were distracted long enough to forget “all that good news coming out of Iraq” and temporarily spared the sight of Dick Cheney's daughter walking down the aisle in a lumberjack shirt and veil.
After their disastrous handling of Iraq, Republicans more than ever need to pour over their pop-up bibles to answer the burning cross question of which irrelevant social issue will deflect criticism of their corrupt and incompetent leadership. New evidence of rape, (this time videotapes of Iraqi boys being sodomized by their taser toting “liberators” at the Abu Ghraib prison) and mounting proof that torture as an interrogation technique was given the Whitehouse seal of approval, has put Bush on the hot seat - just inches from where Saddam Hussein sits awaiting trial for crimes against humanity.
It's likely Bush is feeling the heat rising up from the subterranean depths of his post-Crawford dwelling, which is why he's invoked a new terror alert: powder puff pink (a notch above red) to shore up support from the voting bloc most likely to have a family member coming home to them in a flag-draped coffin. Presumably, in their outrage at the prospect of granting rights to same sex couples, they will soon forget the lesser evil of having lost a loved one in an unprovoked and illegal war waged with the blood of their own -- the mostly rural poor who can't otherwise afford an education.
Now that the former “coalition” is only “willing” to board the next plane out of the smoldering wreckage of the “new and improved Iraq,” (just remove dictator and stir up a homegrown “insurgency”) the Bush White House can no longer pretend that the International community will even consider his “pretty-s'il-vous-plait-please” attempts to convince them that it's in their best interest to mop up the mess they've made in Iraq. Perhaps in his role at Yale as the guy most likely to score a keg for his frat brothers, it wasn't so hard to recruit a freshman to handle the slop and spillage left in the wake of his “Skull and Bones” bacchanals. His former allies, though, have proved to be a tougher sell than your average fraternity pledge, resisting all his threats to toilet paper their country and spray paint 'Surrender Monkey' on their monuments. Luckily for him, the ridicule and contempt he earns overseas can be cashed in for valuable political points at home.
Still, Bush's handling of the economy has even his staunchest supporters scratching their sloped foreheads in dismay and bewilderment -- which is why more than ever, the administration needs something to thump their own chests about. After losing a valuable photo-op in their haste to hand over “sovereignty” to the new Saddam Hussein, (former CIA informant and self-appointed executioner, Iyad Allawi) the Bushi'ites are desperately trying to erect a wall of white noise to drown out the screams of children being tortured in “the new Iraq.” And what better way to whip up support for your flagging Imperial campaigns than to hoist the terror alert up a notch at home to a flaming shade of pink?
For all his intellectual and linguistic shortcomings, “Dumya” is smart enough to know that the only way to get people to voluntarily vote against their own economic interests (like massive tax breaks for the white collar criminals who outsource America's blue collar jobs overseas) is to conscript them as cultural warriors in the fight against the irrelevant wedge issues of the day.
Unluckily for the administration, their attempts to deliver unborn voters to the Republican cause was aborted by Nancy Reagan, whom they had lured out of her crypt for her late husband's funeral, expecting her presence to give their party a much needed boost. Who could have predicted that the former Empress of red chinaware would do a political about face and publicly criticize the current administration for their ban on embryonic stem cell research, leaving Bush with a lot of unfertilized egg on his face?
Not coincidentally, the issue of same sex marriages always comes up when Homeland Security czar, Tom Ridge takes over the airwaves with yet more ominous and unsubstantiated “intelligence” reports that Al Qaeda is planning something “big” (a “big fat” gay wedding perhaps)? Not surprisingly, a number of Americans have come to believe “gay” and “terror” are inextricably linked, but fail to see the connection between veiled threats of postponing the elections and Bush's plummeting poll numbers.
More encouragingly, the gayest icon of them all -- Dorothy of “The Wizard of Oz,” has captured the essence a newly emerging political class. Increasingly, Americans have grown to resemble the once wide eyed traveler from Kansas who sheds her naiveté and becomes emboldened after catching a glimpse of “power” in all its raging impotence behind the wizard's formidable curtain. We've finally arrived at the moment when she interrupts a nasty, wheezing, little man tangled up in the ropes and cables he uses to animate his now useless yet frightening appearing apparatus. Like Dorothy, we can picture him as a foul mouthed oil man with a sputtering, smoke spewing pacemaker, or someone who'd flick his tongue over his comb before running it through his hair. In other words, an embittered neo-con who has booby-trapped himself in a diabolical device of his own making.
We can only hope our American friends return to Kansas like Dorothy, all the wiser for having found the courage to stare down authority, rather than cower before it. In solidarity with Dorothy and all of her “friends”, we should click our heels hopefully each time the false terror alerts hit “ruby red.” It means that we're that much closer to bringing the curtain down on Empire's darkest moment.
Leilla Matsui is a freelance writer living in Tokyo, Japan. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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