Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Those red-state family values

  "I wonder what his ex-wife is thinking, knowing she put him over the top in South Carolina."

   My wife, who said this, wasn't being serious, of course.

    Who could profit from his ex-wife telling a national audience about him making a teensy weensy request: to mess around on her? This just before a primary in Bible-thump country?

    No one. Not even Newt Gingrich. And yet . . .

    Marianne Gingrich's TV testimony didn't seem to hurt the man at all. Based on exit polls, it didn't appear to undermine his appeal to so-called evangelical voters. It didn't seem to hurt him vis-a-vis women voters.

     We are left to assume that a definition of "family values" holds sway in red-state South Carolina — and in Dixie itself? — that differs greatly from that once presumed.

     Sanctity of marriage? You jest.

     Honor thy wife? Depends.    

     Thou shall not commit adultery? On which days? How about if the life mate is under the weather? Cranky? How about bedridden?

     I believe this is called — and correct me if wrong — moral relativism.

     If that's the case, if it's all relative now, why do red states and the voters who call the shots carry on with the "sanctity of marriage" mumbo jumbo to prevent gays and lesbians from taking holy vows?

     If monogamy is a joke as modeled by Gingrich, why should his supporters care about this marriage institution, anyway?

     This is all confusing, I know, but it shouldn't be. From Ronald Reagan, to Henry Hyde, to Bob Livingston, to Bob Barr, to Arnold Schwarzenegger, the sanctity-of-marriage, family-values party has never been much of one, rhetoric to the contrary. Now, apparently, all pretenses are gone. And what a relief for pretentious prowlers like Newt Gingrich.

      We all knew Democrats were reprobates, deviants, people who never met a marriage they didn't want to destroy. Republicans? No way.

      It's been 20 years now, but my ears still ring from attending the 1992 Republican National Convention at the Houston Astrodome. That was the one where the term "traditional family values" was uttered every other tightly scripted line. Well, admit it. That is so 20 years ago. Right, GOP?

      So, once again: If red-state voters, among whom Gingrich has climbed the charts even after his ex-wife's revelations, are so finished with defending the sanctity of marriage, why can't they give up that pious baloney about gay marriage and say, "I do"?

      Washington state is about to become the seventh state to legalize same-sex marriage. A group of 70 mayors affiliated with the U.S. Conference of Mayors supports the same. We can trust that most of them aren't in the South, or in the red swath across the nation's midsection so predominated by Republican sensibilities. You know, the "real America."

      I ask again: If sufficient numbers of Republicans are willing to have their standard-bearer make a mockery of marriage, why not let gays and lesbians in on the wreckage?

    Here's why. Those Republicans who like a candidate with disposable morals, who'll ditch a wife or two to suit his lusty ways, are afraid. They're afraid of what same-sex couples might bring to the table. No, it's not immorality that concerns them, since morals are disposable.

     They are afraid of the fierce devotion, the true spirit of monogamy, that committed gays and lesbians bring into this equation. What a way to spoil a free-love party. Keep those freaks out at all costs.

     The Seventh Commandment is for squares, and is certainly not an electability consideration for strident anti-government politicos. Amen.

      Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: jyoungcolumn@gmail.com.

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