This column was written while states were still reporting and before Obama was declared the winner.
Congratulations and here’s to another four years!
When I started this blog in June of 2011, it was designed to be a website to promote my books. It didn’t take me long to realize that about the only thing I was interested in covering was politics—the thinking man’s sport. By November, Secret Laboratory had been born, with a new look and a staff of talented writers who cover every conceivable topic. And speaking of sports, that was the first department I added, because sometimes it’s better not to think too much—just drink about a dozen beers, eat a pizza with everything on it, and watch your favorite teams lose.
And so here we are. I’ve been covering this election since the primaries got underway. I seriously considered voting for Roseanne Barr and even endorsed her at one point; and while I think she’d make a fine president, there is too much at stake to throw a perfectly good vote away. And that, I suppose, is why we’re stuck with this goddamned two-party, dog-and-pony show that we call democracy.
But what the hell, right? I like old Butterfingers Obama—and while he might not follow through on everything he says (usually due to Republican opposition), we’re moving in the right direction.
Well … I hope that we are. If Mitt Romney gets his hands on the helm, we’ll see all of that progress destroyed, a little bit at a time. Let’s not forget what Elizabeth Warren said: “We should not be fighting about equal pay for equal work and access to birth control in 2012; these issues were resolved years ago, until the Republicans brought them back.”
Richard Nixon was a crook and George W. Bush was a war criminal, but Mitt Romney is a greedy, power-hungry pig who sees nothing wrong with saying one thing and then contradicting himself ten minutes later. And that’s one of the main problems with him—he’s a politician, no matter what he says about being a businessman. I at least know what he really stands for—and I’m not alone—but there are a hell of a lot of people out there who have only seen one side of his personality and never bothered to check the facts. I wouldn’t mind the crooked old bastard so much if he would just form an opinion and stick to it—at least then we would know what we’re voting for or against—but instead, he talks out of both sides of his mouth and tells anyone who will listen whatever they want to hear. He’s like a senile old woman who might have a moment of clarity from time to time … but then she mistakes her husband for her brother, forgets that the dog is dead, and gets worried because the Japanese are bombing Pearl Harbor.
A couple of days ago, Daily Kos published 500 reasons to vote against Mitt Romney. It’s a hell of a list and takes a while to get through, but it’s worth it. In it, you’ll read direct quotes from the man himself, flip-flopping like a fish out of water.
Here in Minnesota, we have two constitutional amendments to deal with, both of which are ill-advised monuments to bigotry, backwards thinking, and the trampling of civil liberties. One is a proposed voter ID law, which won’t solve voter fraud since it is basically non-existent; what it will do is disenfranchise as many as 200,000 eligible voters, who just happen to be the same people who vote mostly for democratic candidates. Here is a quick video that sheds some light on this veiled attempt by the GOP at voter suppression:
The other amendment is the one that really has me climbing the walls. It would constitutionally define marriage in Minnesota as an institution between one man and one woman, effectively closing the door for same-sex couples to wed. Ever. The fact that this thing is even being considered makes me ashamed to be a Minnesotan, especially since what should be on the ballot is an amendment to legalize gay marriage once and for all.
I discussed this topic with a friend of mine the other night, and he said that he’s voting yes on the amendment—not because he doesn’t think that homosexuals should be able to be together, but because they should make do with a civil union. It reminds me of when interracial marriage was illegal and blacks had to ride at the back of the bus.
Many ignorant fellows could be heard saying, “Now, I’m not prejudiced … but what are they complaining about when they have their own water fountain?”
Separate but equal, right? It’s the same goddamned argument, only it is being applied to a different class of citizens. My friend says that marriage is a religious institution and that no religion supports gay marriage … which is patently false, since thousands of churches all over this nation and the world support and perform gay marriages.
Religion is what you make of it, which is why there are thousands of different sects of Christianity. How do you think the Lutheran Church got its start? Or the Mormon Church? Or even Scientology, which is a perfect example of what I just said. It was founded in the Twentieth Century, based on fictional sci-fi novels by some yahoo named L. Ron Hubbard, yet countless people take it quite seriously … and so do their children, because they were raised to believe that it’s true. Religion is arbitrary—most people will go on believing whatever they were taught when they were young, while others will discover religion later in life and use it as a crutch and a source of comfort because they can’t handle their problems effectively and their own mortality scares the shit out of them.
I’m not religious and in fact have been a harsh critic of religion for some time. It’s not all bad—many people do very good deeds in the name of religion—but others use it as an excuse to commit horrific crimes. We don’t need religion to be kind and generous—it’s called compassion and empathy, and everyone but sociopaths are instilled with these instincts. It baffles me that so many people cling to these ancient beliefs, all of which were dreamed up as a way to explain such simple things as the weather. (What’s worse, is that after religion was entrenched, it was and continues to be used as a way to control people and make money off of them. Religion quite literally sells its followers a non-existent product—nothing—and enjoys a tax-free existence while doing so.) Furthermore, most folks don’t give a second thought or lend any credibility to the thousands of gods who were worshipped before Christianity or other modern religions, yet those religions were followed by millions of people and taken just as seriously. The first modern humans appeared on this planet about 200,000 years ago, while our direct ancestors were walking around seven million years ago … and I guarantee that they worshipped gods we’ve never even heard of. And even modern religions dismiss all of their counterparts as utter nonsense.
So much for religion.
Now, where was I? Oh yes, religion as it relates to same-sex marriage. Since the majority of people are religious, we’ll have to humor them for the sake of this argument—but I’ve already pointed out that plenty of religious institutions recognize gay marriage. After all, there are gay couples who are Christian and attend services every Sunday … so if their church welcomes them and is willing to marry them, who is the State of Minnesota to say no? When a government body grants certain rights to some people while denying them to others based on their gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, it is discrimination and supporters of such underhanded legislation are bigots.
Some would argue that gay marriage, while not affecting traditional marriage in any way, somehow cheapens or perverts it. Huh. I’ve been married twice and each time, it took my wives less than four years to cheat on me and abandon their families. With the divorce rate in this country hovering right around 50%, it is laughable to say that it is a sacred institution. It’s a bad joke, and if anything, it’s a pretty good indication that lifelong monogamy is unrealistic at best.
My friend believes that homosexuals want nothing more than tax breaks that will cost the rest of us dearly—according to him, it is their sole motivation for wanting to get married. He believes that millions of straight people will take their cues from I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry and that our nation will be bankrupted by dishonest, opportunistic ne’er-do-wells. Again, this is lunacy. People get married because they are in love, not for tax breaks—and while a few might abuse the system, it wouldn’t be any worse than it is now. If it’s tax breaks you’re looking for, it’s just as easy to marry someone of the opposite sex as it is to get hitched to your buddy.
Jesus God, I feel stupid even arguing these points—the same way Martin Luther King must have felt when he was trying to get others to see his dream. Amendments like these are madness and treachery on their face, and I’m forced to wonder just how stupid people can be.
Well … shucks. Just this evening I had to show a grown man—someone nearly twice my age—how to change a light bulb. After that, it was someone who wanted to know why that funny thing on their wall was beeping. I had to explain that smoke detectors have an audible low-battery warning, and she still didn’t get it. Minutes later, I was approached by an elderly white woman who wanted to know if she could discard a piece of campaign literature now that she had voted. Why would she ask such a thing? Because she’s illiterate. And that’s not one of my grandiose exaggerations—she really is. All day long I’m surrounded by people who can’t speak English, couldn’t write their name on a paper sack, and don’t even know the candidates’ names … yet they’re all parading around with those cute little red stickers on their chests that say they voted.
I fear that we’re doomed, no matter who wins this election. When you have an entire country full of people who know more about American Idol than their own government, who don’t give a shit about history or books or global affairs, who think that politics is just some game that old men play … well … you get the government you deserve. It’s no wonder that we’re careening toward a fiscal cliff that will spell the end of our economy, while international bankers are getting richer by the minute. Shadowy ghouls cackling with lunatic glee, both hands in the till, robbing us blind, and no one even knows they’re doing it.
And here I thought that this race was going to be close—that I would be watching the numbers for the rest of the night—but it’s official and Obama has won by a landslide. I thought that I could get this column published and that I would be following up with another one in the morning, but the race wasn’t even close. Mitt Romney got his ass handed to him, which is funny because earlier this evening he hadn’t even entertained the notion of writing a concession speech; on the other hand, he had his victory speech done days ago. Oh boy.
But you know what? For the last hour, I’ve been listening to an imbecile talk about how awful Obama is and how he’s a Muslim, which illustrates my point about the idiocy of the American public rather nicely, I think. Really? You think that Obama is Muslim? Try reading a newspaper or watching the news … but they can’t read and they can’t even comprehend a sentence when it’s spoken to them. But so what? He won handily and anyone who doesn’t like it can go fly a kite.
Here’s your wisdom:
John T. Schmitz is the editor & publisher of Secret Laboratory; he is the founder of Maple Hills Press and has also freelanced as a writer and photographer, contributing to various local and international publications. Mr. Schmitz lives in Minnesota with his wife, Megan, and their two children; he is the author of five books.
Email Mr. Schmitz at email@example.com.