Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Life in the Last (Heterosexual) Frontier, Part II

Stewing over the openly stonehearted elements in my state legislature [see previous post below], I wrote a letter to the editor today, blowing about an hour of time that could have been better spent refreshing my knowledge of LBJ's War on Poverty. Thus it went:
To the Editor:

Ordinarily, I disagree with everything Rep. Bob Lynn has to say. However, I must acknowledge the truthiness of his logic in proposing to amend the state constitution to exclude same-sex couples from receiving domestic partner benefits offered to state employees. As the Empire reported -- appropriately enough on Valentine's Day, a day when we all meditate on the profound gift of heterosexual love -- Lynn and others have realized that same-sex domestic partner benefits "diminish the institution of marriage."

I could not agree more vigorously. If history has taught us anything, it is that equality and economic security are more valuable -- and more dearly appreciated by upstanding, normal people -- when certain others are excluded from the full consideration and protection of the law. Would anyone deny that the extension of voting privileges to blacks diminished the institution of whiteness forever? I don't think so. And as a man in his mid-30's, I can only imagine how sturdy the institution of male economic privilege must have been before women were unwisely granted equal employment protections in 1964. And don't even get me started on Social Security. When I see elderly people living comfortably and eating three meals a day, it really chaps my hide. I think to myself, "Doesn't the institution of youth mean anything these days?"

Are there no limits to equality? Well, Rep. Lynn and I believe there are. And the only reasonable solution, of course, is to etch our zero-sum equation in the granite of the state constitution. After all, if everyone is free and equal, then freedom and equality ultimately mean nothing.

A friend accused me today of committing the reductio ad absurdum fallacy; my only defense was that Bob Lynn himself is an exemplar of absurdity, and it may not be possible to reduce his foolishness even further.

The sad thing is, some people won't detect any of the irony here. Even sadder, those people would probably agree with the substance of the letter.