Thursday, November 13, 2008

Proposition 8, Mormons, and why the death of “serious journalism” does not matter

I do not live in California, so I did not follow the campaign for Proposition 8 (the Marriage Amendment). The resulting protests, however, did catch my attention.

The targets of choice for the gay marriage side are the Mormon Church and the state of Utah. They are the perfect villains because they are mostly white, conservative, and outsiders. There is no danger of the kind of internecine unpleasantness that bubbled up when exit polls revealed that African-Americans voted 2-1 against gay marriage.

If any group has a right to say, “Dude, get over it” when it comes to traditional marriage, it is the Mormons. They, after all, had to renounce polygamy as the price of Utah’s admission into the Union. Before they changed their doctrine, state and federal governments used their police powers to stamp out the practice of plural wives.

A few renegade sects have refused to buckle under to Caesar on this political definition of marriage. As we saw recently in Texas, Caesar remains willing to use SWAT teams to enforce its view of appropriate family structures.

Blaming outsiders for Prop 8’s defeat is the sort of weak joke that politics often affords us. After the 2006 election, The Atlantic ran an article detailing how wealthy gay activists in Colorado and California had used their money to defeat anti-gay marriage politicians across the nation. Their biggest coup was beating Rick Santorum here in Pennsylvania.

No one on the Left seemed perturbed that outsider money was influencing local elections when the shoe was on the other foot.

I have not seen this reversal mentioned in any of the post-election news reports. Instead, journalists have allowed the anti-Prop 8 protesters to frame the story as one of outsiders mucking around in California elections.

That is, they let the pro-gay marriage side avoid politically dangerous recriminations and undermine the legitimacy of the democratic vote in California.

This is just one more reason not to worry about “the looming death of serious journalism.” If “serious reporters” at respectable MSM papers do not read and remember what their fellow “serious journalists” write, why should we in the great unwashed pay attention to any of them?

No comments: