A Game Changing Week in Politics
About once a year, so much big political news happens that a single column can’t be devoted to a single topic. This is that week. So lace up your running shoes…
In gay rights, two important things happened. The least of these would be huge in any week – the Maryland Senate voted to provide marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. The governor has already announced he will sign the bill and it’s expected to pass the House, making Maryland the sixth state where gay couples can marry, by as soon as this July.
But that event was overshadowed by the Justice Department’s decision that the Defense of Marriage Act – a law more properly called the Discrimination against Gay Marriage Act – is unconstitutional and not worthy of defending. Despite the reporting, this sort of refusal to defend is not unprecedented. The law even provides for it, requiring the Department of Justice to notify Congress whenever it happens. But it is highly unusual. And it amounts to an official endorsement of equal rights for gay couples. Combined with the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, first term of Obama Administration is sure to be remembered as the civil rights era for gay Americans.
In partisan politics, the Governor of Wisconsin – self-styled union buster Scott Walker – let slip that he’d considered planting troublemakers among the demonstrators but decided he didn’t need to. He thought he was having a private conversation with dirty-industrialist David Koch, a major campaign contributor. This, of course, is a tactic not seen since the Nixon Era, when Nixon and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover recruited operatives to infiltrate anti-war demonstrations and incite violence as a way of turning public opinion against peace demonstrators. Nixon would later try to rig an election to ensure he won a second term and then resign in disgrace when he got caught. Just sayin'.
In international news, Libyan protesters have taken over much of the country, despite the Dictator Kaddafi’s use of planes to bomb protesters and mercenaries to shoot, rape and beat them. You may remember that George Bush bragged about making nice with Kaddafi. Nice. Most lately the dictator is trying to link protesters to Osama Bin Laden and drug use. It’s his last ditch effort to rally western governments to his side. But it seems pretty certain he’s finished.Continued on the next page