It’s all in the details.
Bush’s omniscient domestic policy and stringent focus on the
issues that matter to Americans, leaves many easy targets to focus
on. I’d rather move away from the common cries of taxes,
education and health care to the more exciting realms of marriage
and the National Park Service because that where the most telling
aspects lie.

Kate Green

In a clear sign of the power that outside and even divine forces
have over this administration, President Bush, who has been
reluctant to pursue outright a constitutional ban on gay marriage,
is shucking for the conservative voting base by promising the
closest compromise he can muster, the affirmation of straight
marriage. Having $1.5 billion with no apparent better use for it,
the thought is to spend this money on the promotion of
“healthy marriages,” especially among poor couples as a
kind of display of his commitment to Christian values and family.
Nothing says “I love you” to a conservative, even the
compassionate ones, like marrying off two poor people.

Pragmatically, that $1.5 billion is nothing compared to the
numerous and massive budgetary hemorrhages that permeate this
government, but it is rather symbolic of the secondary nature
reality has to Bush and the danger of his obsequiousness to the
evangelical agenda. The root of the problem does not lie in the
lack of government-sponsored marriage counseling but in the very
conditions that create the epidemic of inner-city life. The men are
often sub-par candidates for marriage due to poor education and a
lack of job skills, which then leaves single mothers to wade around
at poverty level. Some Noah’s-Arc style of
“match-and-pair” is not the solution. Not to be
Marxist, but Bush should understand that it is the bottom line that
plays a substantial role in marriage. If you’re single in one
of these target areas, the last thing you are worrying about is why
you’re not married. Maybe you’re trying to figure out
why the hell the end of the dividend tax means anything to you.

A White House aide was quoted as saying, “The president
loves to do that sort of thing in the inner city with black
churches, and he’s very good at it.” Well aw gee,
thanks now. Regardless of my opinion of the institution of
marriage, statistically, it ensures a more financially secure home,
and is better for children, but we all know where the faults in
that lie. No one needs state-sponsored coercion to enter one of the
most challenging life experiences. Despite a possible tax credit
when you sign up for a 15-year marriage contract with a 10-year
bonus or a new advertising campaign that makes marriage look cool,
this is just a ploy to show that the straight folk still want to
get married so we don’t need to focus on the gays so much.
Even this cannot prevent a decision that will have to be made on
gay marriage.

A further confusion of priorities is evident in the National
Park Service, where in California, the threat was made to switch
over land to a private group if a plaque with Biblical verses was
not allowed to stand. This is part of a “faith-based
parks” initiative that is gaining ground in conservative
circles because, apparently nature is more effective when more
religion is involved. Or something.

And herein lies the subterfuge tactic of choice that has kept
this administration leaving one smoke bomb after the next. Sell the
niche as universal and be a populist, and if they are confused,
they won’t have time to hate you.

“Tax cuts!”

I didn’t get much back.

“No more dividend taxes!”

What’s a divi…

“No more late term abortions!”

But wait, those …

“Let’s go to outer space!”

Don’t we need to finish in…

“Then let’s marry off the poor, more prayer in parks
and send the gays to space!”

What the fuck?

I’m no political analyst but even I’m lost. This
turns out to be an undeniably clear sign of the missing vision for
this country but also the levels shameless politicking can reach as
the election draws near. It really is a disgraceful attempt at
pandering for attention right around the most wonderful time of the
year. The old cool kid needs to show the class he’s cooler
than the incoming transfer student. So you move up the State of the
Union and keep the smoke coming, thick and black.

Rahim can be reached at
“mailto:hrahim@umich.edu”>hrahim@umich.edu.

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