We interrupt this malaise, complicated by a violent crime spree, to note our unbridled glee as we ride twin tidal waves for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” the “inalienable rights” embodied in our Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution. With two landmark decisions in late June, the U.S. Supreme Court has secured for President Barack Obama the very legacy his enemies, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have long sought to deny him and the beneficiaries.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow breathlessly captured the historic hugeness of the rulings on June 26, a day after the high court, for the second time, reinforced the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare): “The full force of every domestic political enemy this president has, has been brought to bear for years against the signature policy that he achieved as president, the signature policy achievement, which has eluded presidents before him for half a century. But yesterday, in a surprise ruling, the Supreme Court definitively saved and upheld and ratified that law. … It will not be torn down now and it will not be torn down by some future president who replaces this one … Republicans still say they’ll do anything they can to kill it. But honestly, you know what? It’s done. This effort to kill the health law at the Supreme Court ended up making it stronger.”
Obama apparently felt frisky Thursday at University of Wisconsin La Crosse. The lame duck president goosed his hunters: “I have these vague recollections of when Republicans were saying Obamacare would kill jobs and crush freedom and bring about death panels. And it turns out we’re still celebrating the Fourth of July. The only difference is another 16 million Americans can celebrate it with health care.”
The day after the high court held Obamacare harmless, it declared same-sex marriage a Constitutional right, the denial of which “works a grave and continuing harm.” Maddow jubilantly recited a passage destined to resonate through the ages:
“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is they do respect it, they respect it so deeply that they seek to find fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to live condemned in loneliness, excluded from one of the oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”
In defiance of federal jurisdiction, three Kentucky county clerks suddently stopped issuing marriage licenses altogether. Perhaps they were hobbled by the infamous mantra immortalized in Stephen King’s “Misery”: “There is a justice higher than that of man. I will be judged by him.”
Casey County Clerk Casey Davis presumably was high on GOP talking points when he falsely paralleled his neglect of duty with Attorney General Jack Conway’s refusal to defend Kentucky’s ban against a compelling judgment rescinding it as discriminatory. Martin Cothran of the Family Foundation, likwise, misrepresented Conway’s option not to pursue a forbidding appeal as a courtesy extended by Governor Steve Beshear. Conway is the Democratic nominee to succeed Beshear.
In 2004, a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage was approved by Kentucky voters. Since then, pollsters have seen a permissive shift unprecedented among social issues. That coincides with sharp declines in the percentage of Americans who identify as Christians — an all-time low of 71 percent last year, eight points or five million adults less than a 2007 estimate, according to the Pew Research Center.
I suspect that Rachel, Ellen, Anderson, Jim Parsons and Neil Patrick Harris are seducing public sympathy. Kooks may accuse them of waging a vast liberal conspiracy to recruit innocents from mega-churches to California-style communes featuring European-style health spas with Oriental-style “happy endings” — presumably brainwashed into godless, communist sex slaves. But let’s be real. Any vision that elaborate and paranoid is a repressed fetish of someone who’s more afraid of jumping than falling.
As psychoanalyst Allen Wheelis famously said, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”
Seven words to inspire timely therapy: Dr. Phil now or Jerry Springer later.