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27 Spotlight Right: My Marriage Means More than Kids Killed in Drone Strikes

Friday, October 26, 2012

My Marriage Means More than Kids Killed in Drone Strikes

I awoke this morning to several repostings of a political plea from playwright Doug Wright, to his moderate Republican friends, which appeared first on Facebook, and then on the Salon website.  I have never met Mr. Wright, but I am a moderate a Republican planning to vote for Mitt Romney, and as such I found his comments a little confusing and a lot overwrought.  The gist of Wright's argument is that if one votes for Romney for economic reasons, even though they disagree with him on gay marriage, they are complicit with a legislative bigotry on par with the  racial segregation policies of the last century.  My first reaction was, I think, a pretty obvious one.  Didn't President Obama oppose gay marriage up until, like, 15 minutes ago?  Were the people who voted for the President in 2008 also guilty of this complicity?  If so, Wright fails to mention it.

But there is a deeper issue at work in Wright's admonition.  He begins with a classic straw man argument, suggesting that all his friends voting for Romney are doing so for the selfish advancement of their own economic interests .  But couldn't one argue that a union member voting for a Democrat is  just voting themselves a better pension or greater benefits?   I don't believe that is true, I believe that most Democrats in unions are voting for an economic approach that balances growth with financial security for all Americans.  Republicans too, are looking beyond their own personal bottom line when embracing conservative pro growth policies.  Both side's arguments have pros and cons, but Wright offers no evidence that Republicans are more concerned with their own condition than Democrats are.

Even if we accept Wright's flawed straw man argument, his lecture to nonconformist Republicans only makes sense if we view gay marriage as an issue of such unique, overriding importance that it should drown out all others.  I don't know what Mr. Wright's position is on American drone strikes that kill innocent children.  But it seems to me that he is telling anyone who refuses to vote for the  President based on that issue that "marriage means more than dead kids."  Its true that Mr. Romney supports drone strikes as well, but Gary Johnson doesn't, and Johnson also supports gay marriage.  Why shouldn't a Johnson supporter accuse Wright of putting his own interest in gay marriage above the right of innocent children to live?  If I am voting for the new George Wallace, certainly we are both voting for a latter day Robert McNamara.

The real problem is that Wright is making his pronouncement a from a moral high ground so lofty that its air is too thin for any of us to breathe.  No single issue, or worldview can ensure happy lives and equitable treatment for all.  All of us struggle to decide what candidate is best, not only for ourselves, but for each other.  This goes well beyond politics, every time we walk past a hungry, homeless person we commit a horrible moral transgression, but we also know that giving that person a hundred bucks can't really fix the problem, at least the larger problem.  Give us a little credit Mr.Wright, if you can put up with drone strikes, we can put up with a policy on gay marriage, that until recently your candidate proudly shared.


At November 3, 2012 at 5:50 PM , Blogger Cameron Page said...

I think this is one of your best posts. Great to see the respect you have for people you fundamentally disagree with. And fwiw, you actually changed my POV: I can and do disagree with the Republican philosophy, but I should not assume that their motives are less pure than mine. Even if they sometimes are.

At November 3, 2012 at 6:27 PM , Blogger Dave Marcus said...

Over the past few years I have read everything I can find on the Crusades, it's been great reading. Whenever the Crusaders win a battle they say it is by the grace of G-d, whenever they lose they say it is "for our sins".


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