Don’t tread on me

Today is veteran’s day in the states, which means some of my friends have a work holiday while I do not. Which is fine because my countdown to Christmas is at five weeks even (where that designates the point just over a week before Christmas when I should have accomplished most of the important tasks I have yet to do this year). But veteran’s day is very important and very serious, as we remember all those who have died in keeping us free and as lucky as we are to be Americans.

That said, I am frustrated today. The title of this post, ironically, comes from the slogan that developed around the time of the American Revolution, “in resistance to repressive British acts in Colonial America”. I want to take the opportunity to use this line of thinking as concerns things the Americans are doing to themselves. I apologise for getting political yet once again, but it’s been hard not to be lately.

My biggest beef with my many Republican friends and relatives has been the tendency to legislate rules that apply to other people, who might not believe the same things or have the same convictions. My constant refrains when speaking to a pro-life friend were “educate, don’t legislate” and “abortions should be safe, legal and rare”. I feel the same way about the recent rulings across the US as concerns gay marriage, and felt as though some of the statements in this video clip really were fantastic.

I’m very sad that my fellow Americans think it’s important to take away rights from their fellow Americans who have different beliefs, and I believe it’s quite ironic that this would be so prevalent in the land of “don’t tread on me”.

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6 responses to “Don’t tread on me

  1. I looked at the length of the clip (6.36) and thought “I’ll just watch a bit, can’t be bothered to watch it all”, but then was absolutely unable to click away. He is very eloquent, and I couldn’t stop listening.

    Yes, you’re right. America loves to be the land of freedom, and individual choice, and then some people love to legislate what other people’s freedoms can or can’t be. It’s a complicated thing.

  2. It really, really bugs me that this country actually has “separation of church and state” codified, and yet such huge decisions are based on religion. What about the people who aren’t religious?
    And on a lighter note, did you see Ben Affleck’s rendition of Keith O? Brilliant!

  3. Iota, I couldn’t agree more–I actually watched it TWICE before I decided to post it, even knowing that some of my friends and family back home might be upset by it. He really put time and effort into a well-thought-out argument here that transcends much of the recent discussion on this issue. And in my own mind, his points were just as true about the abortion wars as with the recent gay marriage stuff. Two topics that really rile me up (and prevent me from voting Republican in the end!)

    Expat Mum, no re: Ben Affleck, where can I find it?

  4. thanks for posting this… soon as I watched it I went straight over to my own blog and posted it there.

  5. I lstented to Olbermann’s complete commentary, and was styruck by the way it rested on two alternate assumptions and permitted no alternaitve motive for a point of view. Honestly, that is my experience with much of the American Left.

    Olbermann simply assumes the two critical points upon which his entire statememt rests- what he says is meaningless if you don’t establish the basis for his assumptions. Instead of arguing them, he assumes the conclusion (a popular trick in legal circles for those who don’t have a solid case under law or evidence)-.

    The two foundational points are 1) inability of a same sex couple to marry in the exact mode of a heterosexual couple is, as a civil rights matter, the legal, moral, and physical equivalent of Richard and Mildred Loving being denied the right to marry in Washington DC back in the 1950’s due to execrable anti-miscengenation laws, and 1800’s slaves being prohibited from marrying; 2) the California Prop. 8 ballot initiative was taking away rights that someone already had.

    I simply have trouble 1) equating the two issues as a matter of civil rights, and so did a huge number of African-American Obama voters in California- the polls indicate that it was Hispanic and black support that passed that proposition. Tell someone (e.g., Condoleeza Rice from Alabama) who was not permitted to drink at certain drinking fountains as a child that a wealthy man or woman who has all legal rights guaranteed through a same sex domestic partnership and can marry any person of opposite sex, is being treated in an equally inequitable manner as someone in Birmingham Alabama or Little Rock Arkansas in 1955 and they have a lot of trouble with finding moral equivalence there. I also wonder if 2) it isn’t possible that someone could be opposed to the idea that no one had a true “right” that was provided by a 4-3 court decision on specious- political rather than legal- grounds to overturn an actual law. Should laws be made by people and legislators voting, or by one California judge imposing his or her view on everyone else?

    I think that Keith Olbermann should use his money and opinion platform to persuade people in California of his view if he feels that strongly about it. But I don’t think that he actually engaged the real argument as Megan McArdle, for example (who supported Obama and also supports gay marriage) did in her long Jane Galt post on the subject. And he came nowhere close to the pretty decent arguments made by The Atlantic Monthly’s Jonathan Rauch in his book on the subject (Rauch is gay and strongly supports gay marriage- he also does his homework and argues the issues rationally and non-hortatorically).

  6. Kurmudge, way to go on the use of diversionary tactics (criticizing Olbermann’s arguing style) instead of answering the question that was put forth here. Olbermann’s primary point, and the one with which I so heartily agree, is that it’s unclear how, if gay people are allowed to marry, that this hurts you. No one is forcing you to marry a gay man, but why were so many people willing to put so much money behind the idea that it somehow affects them if gay people that they don’t know are allowed to marry? I still don’t, and likely won’t ever, understand this cultural crusade on the part of the religious right. MYOB!!!

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