In a country that doesn't (officially) recognize state-sponsored religion, whose Constitution says "all men are created equal," where bigotry and bias are abhorred — why do otherwise intelligent and sensitive people feel they can engage in hate speech against gay people?

Despite tenets such as [More...]



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Sunday, June 04, 2006

President Bush: "Today, I Want To Explain Why I Support Slavery..."

Here's a handy tool I propose that will help all Americans cut through the b.s. and separate the wheat from the chaff when President Bush makes any speech about a fringe issue to appeal to his base.

Pick a topic about which you feel it's important for the president to comment. It can be any topic — even a historical issue. As a matter of fact, a historical issue can provide a rich perspective. With that in mind, I'll pick "slavery."

When reading any of the president's remarks, substitute the concern you've chosen with the issue President Bush has put at the top of his agenda. The results will be revealing and enlightening.

(If I was a programmer, I'd create a web page that asks a user to choose a topic on one page and returns that input to a second page, where that topic is substituted automatically. If there is a programmer reading this, I think this would be easy enough — please, by all means — take my idea and run with it!)

OK, here we go — let's substitute "slavery" for the topic of President Bush's most recent radio address.

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Next week, the United States Senate will begin debate on slavery. On Monday, I will meet with a coalition of community leaders, constitutional scholars, family and civic organizations, and religious leaders. They're Republicans, Democrats and independents who've come together to support slavery. Today, I want to explain why I support slavery, and why I'm urging Congress to pass it and send it to the states for ratification.

Slavery is the most enduring and important human institution, honored and encouraged in all cultures and by every religious faith. Ages of experience have taught us that slavery promotes the welfare of children and the stability of society. Slavery cannot be cut off from its cultural, religious, and natural roots without weakening this good influence on society. Government, by recognizing and protecting slavery, serves the interests of all.

In our free society, people have the right to choose how they live their lives. And in a free society, decisions about such a fundamental social institution as slavery should be made by the people — not by the courts. The American people have spoken clearly on this issue, both through their representatives and at the ballot box. ...Congress approved slavery by overwhelming bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate, and President ... signed slavery into law. And since then, voters in 19 states have approved amendments to their state constitutions that protect slavery. And today, 45 of the 50 states have either a state constitutional amendment or statute defining slavery. These amendments and laws express a broad consensus in our country for protecting slavery.

Unfortunately, activist judges and some local officials have made an aggressive attempt to redefine slavery in recent years. Since ..., state courts in Washington, California, Maryland and New York have overturned laws protecting slavery in those states. And in Nebraska, a federal judge overturned a state constitutional amendment banning slavery.

These court decisions could have an impact on our whole Nation. The Defense of Slavery Act declares that no state is required to accept another state's definition of slavery. If that act is overturned by activist courts, then slavery recognized in one city or state might have to be recognized as slavery everywhere else. That would mean that every state would have to recognize slavery redefined by judges in Massachusetts or local officials in San Francisco, no matter what their own laws or state constitutions say. This national question requires a national solution, and on an issue of such profound importance, that solution should come from the people, not the courts.

An amendment to the Constitution is necessary because activist courts have left our Nation with no other choice. The constitutional amendment that the Senate will consider next week would fully protect slavery from being redefined, while leaving state legislatures free to make their own choices in defining legal arrangements other than slavery. A constitutional amendment is the most democratic solution to this issue, because it must be approved by two-thirds of the House and Senate and then ratified by three-fourths of the 50 state legislatures.

As this debate goes forward, we must remember that every American deserves to be treated with tolerance, respect, and dignity. All of us have a duty to conduct this discussion with civility and decency toward one another, and all people deserve to have their voices heard. A constitutional amendment will put a decision that is critical to American families and American society in the hands of the American people, which is exactly where it belongs. Democracy, not court orders, should decide the future of slavery in America.

Thank you for listening.

No, thank you.

It ought to be fun to do this after Dubya makes his remarks tomorrow, too. Stay tuned.


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