Grand Old Panderers

It's June in an election year. Right on schedule, Washington's Grand Old Panderers have moved their hottest hot-button social issue to the top of the legislative priority list: gay marriage.

Tom Toles
Tom Toles

On cue, George W steps into the role of The Distractor. This follows his boffo performance as The Decider. George W Bush Osama, wanted dead or alive, is still very much alive and still hiding out somewhere. Afghanistan is falling apart and the once-toppled Taliban are coming back. The Iraqis still don't have a complete functioning government, and the insurgency is most definitely not in its "last throes, if you will." The AIDS epidemic and genocides are devastating Africa. Global warming threatens to melt the ice caps and submerge wide swaths of coastline everywhere. A pandemic of bird flu looms ominously. Americans remain addicted to oil, but any 12-step recovery program is stuck on step 0. The deficits continue to grow, and it will take decades to pay off the debt, much of which is held by foreign countries. Abu Ghraib, and now Haditha, have utterly undermined the moral high ground the US has always tried, usually quite successfully, to occupy in world affairs.

And what does W turn his attention to? Writing a discriminatory definition of marriage into the constitution! Two people of the same gender getting married has absolutely no effect on the marriage of any pair of breeders. Good grief, the divorce rate among them is already near 50%, and homosexuals have had nothing to do with that. It seems to me that heterosexuals are a far greater threat to marriage than gays!

Tony Auth
Tony Auth

US flags haven't been burned in protest since the end of the Vietnam war, but when the Senate gets done debating gay marriage they will take up— flag-burning! Senate Majority Leader (aka Doctor) Bill Frist says, "It's important to the heart and soul of the American people." Even Hillary Clinton has signed onto this one in an attempt to make herself more palatable to the right. ~shiver~

Burning a flag, however painful that might be for a patriot to watch, has never threatened the security of the nation.

And let's not forget obscenity! Two years after Janet Jackson's breast was exposed for a couple of seconds during the half-time show of Superbowl XXXVIII, the FCC is still ruling on fines for the incident. A measure to double the fines for obscenity is awaiting a vote in the Senate. Get a grip: the republic will not fall if someone catches a glimpse of a nipple, some pubic hair, or, god forbid, a penis!


I don't know if Nero really fiddled while Rome burned, but that old expression is a pretty fair description of politics today.