- Politics and Social Issues
Where is George Bush's Compassion?
CONSERVING THAT COMPASSION--nytimes lead editorial 10-28
"When future generations of Americans look back on the current era, they'll puzzle over what it was about George W. Bush that made people imagine there was anything compassionate to his conservatism.
"Having apparently lost all hope that he can use terrorism to scare voters into electing Republicans this November, the president has now begun raising the threat of gay marriage.
"The moment the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a ruling on the subject this week, Mr. Bush began using every possible excuse to bring up 'activist' judges and gay weddings on the campaign trail. 'I mentioned his love for his family,' Mr. Bush said at a rally for a Republican Senate candidate in Michigan. 'He understands what I know, that marriage is a fundamental insitutuion of our civilization.. Yesterday in New Jersey we had another activist court issue a ruling...'
"The court in New Jersey, for what it's worth, was hardly activist. The State Legislature had given gay couples the ability to unite in domestic partnerships that gave them most, but not all, of the legal protections available to married heterosexuals. The court simply said that both kinds of partners deserved the same legal protection, and left it up to the lawmakers to figure out how to do it. Harldy a thunderbolt from the sky, but Mr. Bush took up the cause of protecting the 'sacred institution that is critical to the health of our society' as if a cadre of antifamily jurists had just abolished matrimony.
"All this is, as everyone knows, just a show for rousing the base. If the last month has taught us anything about the Republican Party, it is that homophobia is campaign strategy, not conviction. Congressmen who trust their careers to gay staffers vote for laws to enshrine second-class citizenship for gays in the Constitution. Gay apointees and their partners are treated as married people at official ceremonies and social gatherings. Then whenever an election rolls around, the whole team pretends they're on a mission to save America from gay marriage.
"Mr. Bush and his faithful acolytes seem perfectly willing to stoke fears that create division and sorrow in a country that doesn't need any more of either. The president has just a little more than two years left in office. You'd think that for once he'd want to consider devoting his time to making things better instead of worse."