A few years ago, at the height of his popularity, Tiger Woods had become the beige template for humanity. His fall from grace has done little to push that idea into the background as racially-mixed athletes, performers, academics and executives seem omnipresent in our lives. The malevolence of what used to be called “mongrelization” has transmuted itself into the vigor of diversity.
Another of those transformations — long underway in our society — was kicked well past the “apparent” role into greater cultural normalization this past weekend when New York became the largest population center in the USA to legalize same-sex marriage. While the State of New York may be behind the curve of the City of San Francisco in some affairs (and who isn’t? Take that, pet stores), it appears to be more socially progressive than California’s so-called liberal legislature and its secular Democratic governor. New York’s Roman Catholic Governor Andrew Cuomo was the driving force behind the legalization of gay marriage in the Empire State, and his nearly silent partner was Ken Mehlman, who exited the closet after serving as chair of the Republican National Committee.
If you’ve ever pondered how all of this will look to future societies, the Onion, which bills itself as “the world’s greatest news source,” is happy to oblige with its usual satire. In an article entitled “Future U.S. History Students: ‘It’s Pretty Embarrassing How Long You Guys Took To Legalize Gay Marriage’” and dated from the year 2083, the Onion makes unsubtle allusions to the civil rights era by having one student born in the 2060s ask “I mean was everybody just a huge bigot back then or what?” Inspecting their history texts, the high school kids want to know why self-proclaimed believers in gays rights such as Presidents Clinton and Obama, and political leaders such as Senators McCain and Kerry could oppose the obvious Constitutional rights of citizens just to get re-elected?
Back in today’s world, progressives are thrilled with New York’s decision on gay marriage, while conservatives are of mixed minds. For example, the libertarian-minded Ron Paul has argued for years that the business of marriage is a private issue among consenting adults that should not be defined or regulated by the government, particularly the federal government. The religious right has made the so-called homosexual agenda a litmus test for the backing of any candidate. But a handful of middle-ground Republicans tipped the scales in New York and may have started a geographic movement that appears likely to eventually cross the nation from right to left, as opposed to the usual opposite direction.
Meanwhile, many on the far left have grown impatient with President Obama’s unwillingness to take a clear stand in favor of same-sex marriage, while the Justice Department’s decision to step away from prosecutions under the Defense of Marriage Act created a minor brouhaha on conservative talk radio and within the far right earlier this year.
Even in the future envisioned by the Onion, some societal change was too much. According to the fictional article, they were struggling through their own “big controversial issues, like marrying your clone.”