If you are to believe the producers at the 24-hour news outlets, their staff and various places around the Internet, the country (if not the world) is on a collision course between two very different, irreconcilable ideologies. It has lead at least one elder statesman to declare that the age of compromise is all but dead. We live in a reality television fueled world, and somehow that has taken what is typically the mundane business of passing budgets and setting a nation's priorities into something out of ancient Rome, where every line item requires a cage fight and a trip around the talk show circuit. From the article:
"This is not a collegial body anymore," [Rep. Jim Cooper, D-TN] said. "It is more like gang behavior. Members walk into the chamber full of hatred. They believe the worst lies about the other side. Two senators stopped by my office just a few hours ago. Why? They had a plot to nail somebody on the other side. That's what Congress has come to."
In this climate, this week should surprise absolutely no one. The Vice President was asked a question, and perhaps the only mistake he made was actually answering it. The administration rushed a plan that they had in place all along -- endorse the notion that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were not only inalienable rights, but that they also extended to allowing you to choose who you wanted to spend your love, life and fortunes with. What a concept. But for our new American culture, this was the equivalent of Snooki kneeing The Situation right in the groin in the middle of a Jersey Shore beach party.
(I have no idea what I'm talking about when it comes to Jersey Shore. And I'm proud of that. -- Ed.)
Graphics packages are rolled out. Mega-church pastors contract for satellite up link or, if they win that lottery, book a flight to be an in-studio guest analyst. Millions of dollars flow into PACs on both sides of this issue. Also-ran candidates take their talking points on the road in support of the guy a month earlier they would rather have run over with a campaign bus. People spend a lot of time drawing their lines in the sand, but half of them are actually circles around themselves, as no two people will ever agree on all points of policy. But at the core of this particular "battle", there is a couple somewhere that looked at one another, looked at the television screen, and entertained the notion that they may have a shot at equality. I like to think at that point they turned off the television before somebody got on camera and asked the questions that absolutely nobody was wanting asked, but hey -- there is a guy over there that can say something absurd and get the network higher ratings. Just wait until it ends up on YouTube.
I am glad the President offered his support to a notion that, to me, comes down to a simple question -- Do you really believe in the inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness for all of your fellow Americans so that they may be with the ones they love? He finally answered, without reservation, "yes."