Monday, July 03, 2006

culture wars

The GOP has been making one rather desperate push after another in the last few weeks, and coming up short again and again. First they lost their second attempt to pass the Federal Marriage Amendment and send it on to the states for ratification, thank god. Then they lost an attempt to finally and fully repeal the Estate Tax (because god forbid rich people pay lots of taxes), praise the lord. And finally, and yet again (though granted by the narrowest margin yet), they lost their attempt to end once and for all the scary and threatening epidemic of flag burning that has never actually happened outside their imaginations. Which, by the way, I really don't get. Isn't it more respectful to burn a flag in protest, attributing to it a great and powerful symbolism, an embodiment of all that could be good in this country and yet is so often bad, than to turn it into a t-shirt, or a paper napkin, or a bandanna?

And this is all very well and good, as long as it doesn't backlash against those who held firm in their commitment to common sense, decency, and respect for both the flag (to withstand a burning now and again) and the Constitution (to continue to protect rather than to oppress) and the notion of fairness (those who have more should pay more).

Now all we need is for Congress to stop giving itself salary raises ($31,000 since 1997) and instead raise the damned minimum wage already ($0 since 1997). Despite my ambivalence about Hilary Clinton, I think her introduction of a bill to harness increases in minimum wage to increases in Congress's own salaries is brilliant. $5.15 per hour is shameful in a land blessed with an embarrassment of riches.