At the End of the Rainbow

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Rainbows everywhere and I couldn’t be happier. The extension of marriage rights to all Americans on an equal basis is long overdue. Canadians did it ten years ago and guess what? The world didn’t end, society didn’t collapse. No pastors set themselves on fire.

Okay it is true that a 44-year old conservative government was defeated this year in a surprise rise of the NDP, Canada’s modestly left wing party and the same party is leading in the polls nationally. But I’m sure the two things aren’t related.

Besides it took ten years to work through the system so that hardly impacts on the ability of the Republicans to take back the White House, now does it?

However, their unbelievably weak response both to the Supreme Court ruling yesterday, the one on Obamacare earlier this week as well as to the Charleston race-crime murders all demonstrate why the Grand Old Party is rapidly losing touch with America.

Ten years ago, before Obama, 59% of Americans opposed same-sex marriage. This year 60% approve of it, similar to the majority that approved it in Ireland. Over time that number will continue to rise. There will always be people who will oppose it – either for reasons based in their strongly held moral code or based solely in hate – but eventually most people will discover that rights are not privileges.

Whereas privileges can only be gained by one person at the expense of another, rights are infinitely expandable. Increasing the rights of others in no way diminishes the rights of those who already had them. My marriage is in no way reduced by the ability of two men or two women to marry. In fact, as I have recounted elsewhere, it was the recognition of gay marriage in Ontario that led me to get married.

But where does this leave America—increasingly divided into those who want the expansion of liberty and those who only want liberty for themselves? There is a hard core minority who view the rights of others as simply wrong-headed and evil; who view opposing opinions as something that need to be corrected—by Second Amendment remedies if need be. There is no future for a Republican party locked in past grievances and appealing to an aging demographic dominated by old white men. America risks becoming a one party state with a permanent angry minority.

The path forward seems treacherous but it is also one lined with opportunities. One of the multitude of GOP candidates has to find the courage to rise from the crowd and distinguish himself (or herself if Carly Fiorina uses this to climb out of obscurity) by standing for the true conservative values written in the Constitution: the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, then perhaps there is real hope for the GOP to stop its demographically driven death spiral and, so, real hope for democracy in America.

But that’s ten minutes

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