- Domestically the federal government has accelerated its death march towards insolvency through profligate spending, uncontrolled borrowing and monetary digitization. Nobody … nobody can persuasively explain how the existing entitlement programs will be sustained two or three decades out.
- One such program, Obamacare, is only now emerging from its protective cocoon of delay and obfuscation to reveal itself more disastrous, by orders of magnitude, than even its worst critics would initially have thought possible.
- Real unemployment, as measured by honest, non-delusional adults, is somewhere north of 15%.
- The southern border remains a turnstile for illegal aliens (apologies: love-struck hopefuls) whose only worry after getting into the country is accidentally running afoul of some U.S. regulation meant to annoy and harass its own citizens.
- De facto legislation through regulation, executive order and judicial fiat is now the primary engine of political change. The actual legislative branch which has Constitutional responsibility for such things, has made itself largely irrelevant. Less enlightened polities refer to this as “lawlessness”.
- Internationally, the U.S. has become the world’s ashtray, a metaphor that could become existentially literal if the bad actors of the world get their way.
- Iran — by virtue of an agreement that nobody understands and no two participants agree on the specifics of — seems poised to acquire nuclear weapons in the near future. Despite the assurances of an administration whose recent accomplishments include the wholesale destabilization of the middle east, some constituencies — notably Israel, the Arab states and pretty much anyone else not afflicted with a death-wish — remain skeptical.
- ISIS (aka the JV team) seems more or less unimpeded in its efforts to bring death, rape, slavery, subjugation (basically 7th century Islam’s greatest hits) to anyone who isn’t their kind of Muslim. (Better described as “most everyone”.)
- Russia (apparently the 80’s called back and don’t want their foreign policy back after all) in obvious deference to Hillary Clinton have in fact “reset” their relationship with the US — to something approximating amused contempt — and are gobbling up whole swaths of the Ukraine with impunity.
Against this backdrop (admittedly incomplete — you could expend another thousand words on the depth of guacamole we’re in without breaking a light sweat) the media have applied the full weight of their moral and intellectual prowess to these issues and decided what we should all be talking about — more or less perpetually — is gay marriage.
(In fairness, this isn’t a total obsession, there’s always room for some “do you still beat your wife” questions about climate change and evolution as well. )
Accordingly, Republican candidates more comfortable with fluff like tax reform plans, foreign policy positions and health care reform now find themselves confronted with probing and substantive questions like “Would you attend a gay wedding?” That, and quick follow-ups like “If you were crossing the international dateline in a steam-powered vessel with a crew of Norwegian atheists on a religious holiday, would creationism still make sense?” guarantee that there will be no place to hide on the issues Americans care about.
Now, no matter where you fall on the issue of gay marriage (I am solidly in the King Canute camp myself, but not to digress) or how effective you think you think it is as a tactic (by all means necessary, right?), there are some home truths that need to be observed about this approach:
- Because cause and effect, much like gravity, is a law that can’t be repealed, it is 100% certain that none of the issues enumerated at the top of this post will get better by themselves. In fact, most or all will get materially worse. This is what the next president will find waiting for him, pretty much while they are still hosing down the tables after the inauguration.
- As these situations deteriorate and the people look to the leader of the free world for direction, the words “Thank God s/he is solid on gay marriage!” will occur to no one ever.
- Laws, including gay marriage laws, mean nothing in a lawless society. A president who is comfortable ignoring immigration laws as it suits him will have no problem ignoring other laws as it suits him. It could be as simple as gays getting trumped by some other identity group. So “good on gay marriage” is probably less important than “good on the Constitution”. Food for thought.
- Neither Russia nor ISIS are particularly enlightened on the subject of gay rights. If they are successful in expanding their influence the question of who is baking wedding cakes for a people group outlawed at best and thrown from high places at worst will become cruelly moot.
- Likewise, economics is no respecter of sexual persuasion. If the U.S. dollar tanks (and there’s only a few dozen ways that could happen) gays may actually have to have a pizzeria cater their weddings — and that’s the rosiest scenario.
Samuel Johnson once observed that nothing focuses the mind like an impending hanging. “Gotcha” journalism has never served us particularly well; it is doubly injurious when the stakes are this high. There is evidence that people are wearying of this kind of thing, if the MSNBC’s ratings free-fall and CNN’s own rating woes are any indication.
Ultimately though, candidates — especially the designated whipping-boys of the left — will need understand that the only way out is through and either not participate in these Wile. E. Coyote ACME box-on-a-string ambushes at all or vigorously reject their silly premises outright.