Saturday, April 26, 2014

Mazel Tov, Mrs. And Mrs. Rosenbrahn, From A Republican Who Still Believes That Individuals Should Run Their Own Lives

     That you two courageous and determined ladies had to go to another state to get married because South Dakota, this so-called "land of infinite variety," falls short of its own ideals is a testament to the power and confidence of your lifelong love affair.    The news of your nuptials will be met with the mixed greetings that you're prepared to accept, but nobody in this state will be happier or more supportive of your decision to marry than I am.  You two are breaking some important political and philsophical ground in South Dakota, but I'm convinced that you have the support of more than a sizable number of residents here.  I believe you have the backing of History itself.
     There will be some who reject your matrimonial status on religious grounds.  That's their inalienable right as Americans and I'd be the last to insist that they break with their fundamental religious beliefs, which they're free to exercise in the confines of their places of worship.  However, if they seek to deny you the basic freedoms of exercising your rights in the public marketplace, I'll be among the first to push back.  Some will use the excuse that by denying you commercial goods and services they're merely exercising their own right to stand by their religious beliefs, but that's a load of baloney.  Why?  Because as taxpayers in a fundamentally secular community (defined as such by the First Amendment to the Constitution), your share of society's burden is to provide public infrastructure and services that make the operation of any business possible in the first place.  The very business that would deny you access is the same one that depends on your share of resources to provide it with streets, sidewalks, water and sewer lines, police and fire protection and the marketing efforts of the city itself to keep that enterprise operating. Given that all of us chip in to keep our communities functioning without qualms about who gets the benefit of our taxes, selectively picking and choosing which customers to serve based on their identities and beliefs is not a prerogative.
     This is a quid pro quo that is the essential "social contract" among the citizens of any community.  Most frustrating to me about those who would circumvent it is the fact that to a one, these folks are in my political party--Republicans.  It's as if some of  us Pubs have shed the basic principle of Republicanism:  "The strength of our nation lies with the individual and that each person's dignity, freedom, ability and responsibility must be honored."   It's not "should" be honored, nor "may" be honored--it's "must" be honored.  That the Rosenbrahns choose to be married is a choice the two of them made as individuals--it behooves us true Republicans to honor that choice, no matter what we feel about it personally.
     I think one of the founders of modern conservative Republicanism, Barry Goldwater, expressed it better than I ever could.  In his acceptance speech at the 1964 GOP presidential nominating convention Goldwater said "those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth, and let me remind you they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyranny."
     Time for some philosophical soul-searching, fellow South Dakota Republicans?  If you're not sure, consider this additional thought from Goldwater's acceptance speech:  "The beauty of the very system we Republicans are pledged to restore and revitalize, the beauty of this Federal system of ours is in its reconciliation of diversity with unity."  I think it is indeed time for us Republicans to re-evaluate our basic assumptions, and I extend my gratitude, along with my heartfelt congratulations, to Mrs. and Mrs. Rosenbrahn for making this blessed event the catalyst for some long overdue considerations within the local GOP.
     

13 comments:

  1. That's a really good post John. I didn't realize that Goldwater was so pragmatic about how government should function and how society needs to work to be successful.

    Here is one that I believe is just as apt a reminder for American politicians of any bent:
    "We all do better when we all do better." I don't know who said it, but I think it's been around for quite some time.

    I'm hearing that on the national level some Republican leaders are saying they ought to drop the whole anti-LBTG thing because it's a political loser. I imagine you'd agree with that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Deb. I do agree with it. Lifestyle choices are matters best left for private, not public, resolution.

      Delete
  2. My local tv station in Mpls, KARE 11, just did a story about these 2 women. You can see it here:

    http://www.kare11.com/story/news/local/2014/04/26/sd-couple-marries-in-minn-expects-legal-battle/8227873/

    They got married in MN by Mpls Mayor Betsy Hodges. (She is a great champion of civil rights for all. Her husband is black, so she probably knows more about discrimination than most white people.) The Rosenbrauns look like a wonderful couple, down-to-earth, courageous and determined to do their part for the rest of SD. Would that our elected officials would have that same kind of moral bravery.

    ReplyDelete
  3. John, from what I understand, these ladies plan was to go to MN to get married (they can't here due to SD law), then return here to fight marriage discrimination in SD. I commend your stance and willingness to post your beliefs on your blog, but I hope you are not to disappointed when the true GOP colors are exposed in one of the most conservative counties in the state (Rapid City, Pennington).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Tim. The Rosenbrahns are indeed following through on the plan they announced a while back. Their first test will be with Pennington County authorities, but the lawsuit they file will be judged in a State of South Dakota courtroom. I've been a resident of Pennington County since the 1980s and get a sense that things are changing a bit around here. Keep an eye on the GOP primary race between incumbent Phil Jensen and his opponent Dave Johnson. That should give some indication of how social and political attitudes in the county are changing.

      Delete
  4. I also have lived here since the middle 80's, every time I think things are changing around here somebody proves me wrong. I do like what I read about Dave Johnson, and I agree, if the radical right gets Jensen re-elected given his views on a lot of things, that will say a lot.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow John, To think that I just about missed this blog post. All I can say, is I almost had tears coming down my cheeks, I certainly had them around my eyes as I read this post. I am so proud of you as a Republican and a Marine to stand up but oh man what am I saying, you stood up a long time ago, and probably have many times since. Thank you!!!! And yes everyone, I am heterosexual.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It would appear Daugaard and the AG are going to bring the full might of the SD judicial system down on these ladies. Very sad they would do this, not to mention the waste of taxpayer money doing it, not one of these laws have been upheld anywhere in the country, and there are a lot of places that are farther out in right field than here. Makes me ashamed to be called a South Dakotan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I see your point, Tim, but I'm thinking that elected officials can use an unfavorable court decision as a poltical dodge on the issue, blaming the courts even as they maintain their posture as being against same-sex marriage. Lifts a huge political burden off their shoulders

      Delete
  7. Tim, That has not stopped the State of SD from pissing our tax dollars down the drain by fighting issues that have already been decided by the court system.

    ReplyDelete