174 words that expose the very contradiction at the heart of the Republican Party

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

As recently as 2004, Karl Rove and George W. Bush used gay marriage as a wedge issue designed to divide Democrats. Now, just ten years later, it is marriage equality that is splitting the Republican coalition asunder.

Just this week, the Pew Research Center released a poll that shows that 61% of Republicans aged 18-29 support the legal right of gays and lesbians to marry.

And now, we've got the Oregon Republican Party releasing a statement assuring its base that no, the Dorchester Conference (which last weekend endorsed marriage equality) is not a formal party organization.

But what's amazing is the stunning illogic of the statement. I mean, check this out (emphasis added) -- it's kind of amazing:

The Republican Party is proud to be known as the party of liberty. As the party of freedom, we believe that Americans should be free to live their lives as they wish, so long as they do not impede the freedom of others to do so. The state leadership of the Republican Party in Oregon continues to stand for freedom and religious liberty.

The Republican Party has been the champion of civil rights for 160 years including leading the great movements abolishing slavery and enacting civil rights legislation in the 1960’s. However, freedom also includes being free from having the institutions of government used to interfere in your life and redefine social institutions such as marriage, which people have built their societies around for thousands of years.

The institution of marriage being between men and women pre-dates government, and has continuously served as the foundation for family structure in ordered societies for thousands of years. We oppose the use of government to suppress and control your rights by interfering in bedrock social institutions.

From time to time, we've got some social conservatives that chime in here. I'd like to challenge any of 'em -- or anyone that shares the view expressed in that statement -- to please explain to me, in very plain terms, exactly how it is that my rights (as a man married to a woman) are in any way interfered with, suppressed, or controlled if a man down the street marries another man.

As far as I can tell, it's wholly illogical. And it comes from almost a schizophrenic tension in the mind of the 21st century social conservative. Freedom! is the rallying cry. Except when it's not.

They are desperately trying to hang on to the libertarian wing of the party even as the social conservative wing has taken control of the levers of internal party power. They know they need them -- they even think that they are, themselves, "the party of liberty".

And they are, in that fly-the-flag, bald-eagle bumper-sticker kind of way. In any way that involves actual, y'know, liberty, they're not. They just aren't. No matter how much they really, really want to be.

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