NOT NOW, KATO!
Remember the Pink Panther movies? If you don't, then rent them now. Get NetFlix and have the DVD's sent to you. It'll help with the analogy, and my stock portfolio will thank you.
In all of the Pink Panther flicks, Inspector Clouseau, the intrepid master of asian martial arts, used his manservant Kato as an irregularly expected sneak attacker to keep his fighting skills honed.
One fine evening, as the Inspector was entertaining a lovely lass in his bed, Kato crashed into the couple's party as it was just getting interesting. As the three were being catapulted out through the wall, all you could hear was Inspector Clouseau's impassioned scream: "Not NOW, KAAATO!"
As I was driving home tonight, I was half-listening to a debate being held on National Public Radio concerning the right of gay people to marry. All was going well, and I was boredly following the introductions, and then I hear the pro-marriage debater hold forth on this lovely gem.
A few weeks ago, it seems Edwards the Prez candidate was on the spot, being grilled to a nice toasty brown on his position on gay marriage. Apparently Edwards had danced around the subject, refusing to be pinned down. The debater today was triumphantly remembering how he had made the Democratic candidate squirm and falter.
Save me, Monkey Jesus. NOT NOW, KATO!
Right now? After all eternity, this issue has to be forced to the fore, right now, as the Democrats are fighting a game of inches? The next election is going to be microscopically close. As we saw in Florida in 2000, one foolish man, Nader, tipped Bush into the White House. All other issues aside about the Green's right to run, and others to vote for him, in really real life the spoiler did install the most radical president ever to sit on the chair in the Oval office.
Raising the issue of gay marriage, which heretofore has not exactly been a barnburner of an issue, hell, wasn't an issue at all, in the minds of the American public at large, has given Rove and the right-wing southern baptists a solid percentage of the truly intolerant that will vote for the candidate who is dead set against the idea. Hell, Bush insisted on mentioning a constitutional amendment banning non-straight marriage in the last State of the Union speech. That wasn't casual. He lined up several percent of the voting public to vote for him, lies about war notwithstanding. If there is gayness to be fought, they will forgive him the fifteen thousand dead people.
If Democrats are to win this next election, it will be by a percentage point, I strongly believe. Throwing away a few percent of the electorate by insisting on raising this issue RIGHT NOW is bloody stupid, if you are a backer gay rights.
IF Bush wins this next election, he will fundamentally alter the makeup of the federal courts, making them pro-right "Christians", one and all. A constitutional amendment banning gay marriage will be introduced, tho I doubt it will make it into law until Cheney or Rice is president.
IF Bush is elected, the Republicans will start a redistricting crusade that will stonker the historians. They've already run a trial usurping in Colorado and Texas; they've proved to themselves that nobody cares if they take over state representation.
IF Bush is elected, Governors will be recalled left and right. Senators and Representatives on the Democratic side of the Congress will be attacked simultaneously on multiple legal fronts, and will be removed from office.
IF Bush makes it, Diebold and the other voting machine manufacturers will deliver to the Republicans the ability to win any election they choose, if they choose to use the abilities already demonstrated to hack those voting systems. No one will be able to contest a rigged election, because the recount will always match the electronic totals. As a comp sci guy, I am here telling you that there is no way whatsoever to make those systems secure. Anyone who says differently is either too drunk with IT knowledge to make an accurate judgement, a member of a committee who is terrified to admit they bought a hackable voting system, or the bastards who designed and sell the cheat-o-matics.
IF Bush wins, there will never be a gay "right" to anything whatsoever. The court system and the legislatures will be hard-right radical religionists for the rest of this century. I don't see how it could be stopped, if Bush gains the White House again. I don't see how it could ever be undone, for they will also alter the educational system to to foster religious (read right-wing fundamentist) views in young people. They've already waged a twenty+ year campaign to take over school boards, successfully.
It is both the triumph and the tragedy of the Democrats that they are now the big tent. Everyone is in the tent, even those who cannot fathom the damage they do to themselves and their nation if they pursue their goals blind to the results of their campaign. This is not the time. The Right is marshalling its forces to make this issue key for their voters. It does Kerry or Edwards or Dean no good to be force to put up or else on this issue,
Can't it wait a year? Please, not now, Kato.