You know what I’m tired of? Legislators trying to slide partisan political issues into larger bills just to make a point. Here’s the reason why I’m a little ticked right now.
There’s been a load of conversation over the hate crimes bill in our country, and rightly so, because groups want to know how “hate crimes” is defined, and homosexuals being protected under this bill has been a hot-button issue as well, what with conservatives up in arms that our free speech would be taken away. As far as I’m concerned, if “hate crimes” is defined by physical intimidation or violence directed towards a homosexual, homosexuals should be among the first protected. I’ve stated in other areas as clearly as I can that I believe homosexuality is immoral, but that never never never justifies violence or intimidation against them. Persons that treat gays as Matthew Shepard was treated deserve harsh punishments. But Republicans, given that they identify with conservatives at this point in history, are uneasy about the harsh rhetoric coming out of the Christian Right, and often state they are against this bill, while Democrats use their opposition to claim Republicans are close-minded and judgmental and inhumane. So that’s that.
And, as a separate issue, of course spending bills to fund the continuing conflict in Iraq are a hot-button issue too. Many Democrats (most, if we’re honest, because it’s politically more popular to do so right now) oppose continued support of the conflict in Iraq, and believe opposing spending bills shows their commitment to withdrawing from the situation. Many Republicans then use legislative positions against military spending to accuse Democrats of lack of patriotism (which leads the Michael Savages and Sean Hannitys and Rush Limbaughs to cast them as enemies of the state) and not “supporting the troops.” So that’s that.
Now, knowing how divisive these two issues are, why in the name of all that is pure and holy would you put the two together on the EXACT SAME BILL!?!?!?!?!??!?! Why? Seriously!
Well, both sides are using it to extract political capital and talking points, that’s why. So Republicans can keep accusing Democrats of unpatriotism and Democrats can keep accusing Republicans of close-mindedness and judgmentalism. And you know what, the average citizen will hear the 30-second spots come out around election time with candidates harping on those two points, “Well, my opponent didn’t support the troops,” or “Well, my opponent evidently thinks beating gays is ok, but I care deeply enough about all persons to protect them,” and this citizen will get all up in arms about the issues and won’t know (or care to find out) that both issues were attached to the same bill.
This kind of stuff is putrid. Pathetic. And childish. And these are supposed leaders we’ve elected to steer the course of the most powerful nation in the world. And “we the people” stand idly by and let it happen. And even though the link is highlighting the dropping of the hate crimes piece of the bill, I think my point still stands.
I guess if I could want anything in a perfect world, it would be that;
1) Politicians would quit this immature political maneuvering and make the legislative process more transparent and simple, and
2) Citizens who plan to vote would spend time moving beyond the 30-second sound bite politics and general impressions to really investigate what a candidate is about.
It’ll probably take an overwhelming flood of 2) for 1) to take place, but if both chose to have some guts and courage, we might see some progress and politicians might see a little more trust restored in them as leaders. That, and if they would stop having sex with “escorts” (read: hookers) when they get to D.C., that might help too. But you know. Can’t ask for too much at one time.