When the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution, they created a unique way of creating legislation that took a majority of both house of Congress and the White House’s approval to put a law on the books and it has worked well since its inception. In states, there is a similar process to pass legislation and the party in the majority makes the laws, and in a perfect world, there would be some bipartisan support reflecting the will of the voters. In California, like in the U.S. Congress, it takes both houses and the governor’s signature to pass a bill like the FAIR law that ends discrimination against gays by requiring schools to acknowledge the contributions of homosexuals in building the nation. Although the law passed legally and does not have to be implemented until the 2013-2014 school year, there is already a movement underway to nullify the legislature’s actions.
A few days ago on this site there were two articles praising the California legislature for passing the law, and outlining the opposition’s fallacious contention that S.B. 48 was an attempt to indoctrinate school children into the gay lifestyle. There was also a prediction that the law would be challenged in the courts in an attempt by religious fundamentalists to have it deemed unconstitutional, and although that eventuality may still occur, Christian extremists have announced they will begin collecting signatures to allow other socially conservative fanatics the opportunity to mislead the public with lies and misinformation so voters will repeal the law with a referendum similar to the Proposition 8 ballot initiative that banned same-sex marriage. There has been chapter and verse written about the religious fanatics who use the Christian bible to legislate discriminatory laws against gays and women, but there is a more insidious aspect to the story.
Republicans and conservatives of all stripes do not recognize the Constitution’s method for passing legislation when a bill is passed by Democrats and it does not matter how big a majority passes a law or if there is any bipartisan support, Republicans cannot accept that they do not control the country and like the bigots in California, resort to lies and deceit to distort Democratic legislation as if there was an illegal process used to pass legislation. In California, the hateful rhetoric by Christian groups was underway before the bill was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. It is no different than last year when the Affordable Health Act was passed and Republicans began the narrative that the law was passed by Democrats in backroom deals implying that it is illegal and worthy of repeal. Despite the fact that Republicans in the House voted to repeal the law only to be rejected in the Senate, there is still Mike Huckabee crying that the law was “shoved down our throats.” Huckabee and his ilk never regard Republican legislation as being shoved down anyone’s throats because in conservatives’ minds, Republicans are the only legitimate lawmakers.
The problem is not necessarily that Republicans are crybabies who will never accept that Democrats are more than capable of passing legislation for the entire country’s benefit, but that their supporters are not smart enough to understand the way legislation works. This issue has as its basis the election of Barack Obama. The Republicans have used every means necessary to portray the president as alien and not a real American and they have had a measure of success with racists who do not recognize African Americans as “real Americans.” In California, the social conservatives are using every possible fallacy to portray FAIR as an attempt to “turn children gay” and although the law only requires acknowledging the contributions of gays in American history, because it is contrary to Republican values, it is somehow immoral and illegal.
In the case of President Obama, conservatives have put forth the notion that he is a Muslim, not born in America, a socialist, terrorist sympathizer, and somehow different or wrong. The real issue is race and the argument conservatives and Republicans will never admit is that there is a “Black man sitting in the oval office.” The president had barely finished taking the oath of office before Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell stated that for the next four years, the only Republican goal was to make sure that Obama was a one term president. The Republicans had not even given the president the opportunity to set policy, so they had no real idea that he was a right-leaning Centrist; he was a Black man and that was reason enough to obstruct and attempt to repeal any of his Administration’s agenda.
The Republicans have been so incensed that they are not the dictators, that they have effectively changed the legislative process into one requiring a super-majority instead of a simple majority vote. The threat of filibuster has forced the Democrats into making concessions just to move the country forward, and subsequently, the Republican minority has been successful in controlling the direction the nation is moving to the detriment of every person in America except the wealthy and corporations. It did not matter if it was spending cuts or extending unemployment benefits to workers whose jobs Republicans help send overseas, Democrats had to acquiesce to Republicans’ demands just to keep the government operating. Now that the country is facing defaulting on its debt responsibilities, Republicans are again holding the country hostage to eliminate Medicare so the rich, oil industry, and corporations continue getting tax breaks and entitlements. The Republicans are using their tried and true tactic of misleading the population with claims that raising the debt ceiling is a horrible idea even though they raised it seven times for George W. Bush so he could give the wealthy tax breaks and engage in two unnecessary wars that are draining the life out of our economy. It appears that Republicans will never cede control of the government and are happy to destroy the economy to maintain their hold on power.
In California, Democrats have controlled the legislature for years and since the Proposition 8 debacle, Republicans have adopted the tactics their counterparts in Congress have used for the past two-and-a-half years. The difference is they enlist some religious fanatics to go into the churches and neighborhoods spreading lies and misinformation to garner support for their agenda whether it is discriminating against gays, Hispanics, and liberals or convincing stupid fools that taxes are unnecessary and unconstitutional. Although the Republicans in Congress do not have the ability to take their lying agenda before the voters, they use television ads, right-wing pundits, and Fox News to spread hateful lies and misinformation to convince voters that the only legitimate laws are those passed by Republicans.
For those who lived through the Proposition 8 mess, the thought of another fight to ensure all citizens are afforded the same rights as socially conservative extremists is draining, but it is a fight decent people are willing to have. It will boil down to truth versus lies, and the Christians have already began lies and hateful rhetoric that assigning credit to gays for their contributions throughout our history is tantamount to “mental molestation of our children” and it gets much worse. However, it is not any worse than Republicans perpetuating the myth that President Obama is not an American and therefore an illegitimate president. Interestingly, at the start of the 112th Congress, Republicans held a reading of the Constitution, but they must have omitted the parts that outlined how legislation is passed and how the party in the majority sets the agenda for the government. The one thing Americans should be aware of by now is that Republicans do not accept or follow the Constitution whether they have community readings of it or not.
Republicans follow their own set of laws and they are comprised of lies, misinformation, and fear mongering like Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany to maintain control of the government; voters should be outraged. Now that Republicans have nearly accomplished changing the nature of government to a theocratic oligarchy and voters are having buyers’ remorse around the country, Republican candidates may find it difficult to maintain their hold on power. The only option is for Republicans to suppress Democratic voters and they have begun achieving that goal in earnest in many states. Although Republicans are not much on history and following the rules, they should take time to have a reading about why the French Revolution occurred because if they continue usurping power and stealing taxpayer dollars to reward the wealthy, no amount of lying, fallacious information about gays, or theological narrative will save them from suffering the fate of the French aristocracy. When people have been lied to, cheated out of their livelihoods, and starved, it will not matter that god hates gays, or how much we need the wealthy to create jobs, the liars and thieves will face a violent end. Hopefully, Republicans begin ceding their false control of the government before the people rise up.
Image courtesy of Hrafnkell Harraldsson