Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Don't Ask, Don't Tell meets Don't Know and Don't Care

A little more than week ago, the State of Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that people who love one another and who are not already married to someone may now marry one another. Doesn't seem like news when I type it because that's the important human part-the politics (at least and Passion Play morality at most) is, of course, two people of the same sex may now legally marry in the Land of Steady Habits. Talk about Pilgrim's Progress.

Nature abhors a vacuum and the Connecticut Supreme Court's action has provoked a reaction, of sorts, from people who two months ago couldn't quote a sentence from the state's constitution but now want voters (as has happened every twenty years, by law) to consider calling a state Constitutional Convention so the document can be changed to do who knows what to who knows who (or whom).

The Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal and the State Comptroller, Nancy Wyman have both urged voters to just say no to a constitutional convention. Those on that side of the issue claim it'll be a festival of favorites as special interest groups and lobbyists ply delegates with shiny objects, trinkets and glass beads. If you've ever attended a session of either upper or lower chamber of the CT state legislature you already know that the number of registered lobbyists is many times larger than the total number of state representatives and state senators. By legislators' own admissions (not mine, or yours, of course; they're good folks. It's the other ones I'm talking about.), many lobbyists not only propose a particular bill for a purpose, they also write the legislation and then find sponsors who sign on for it.

I don't know about you but it's this very type of democracy those fine folks in Baghdad and Kabul are just waiting for a chance to have for themselves. Don't you love having friends with influence in positions of power? Don't you wish everyone did? The public trust as a public trough-get your snout in there and get your fill.

I'd be interested to see a return of county-based governance in Connecticut, which ceased having it many years ago (I was in Germany. My passport is stamped; I have an alibi). Right now we have 168 municipalities forming alliances of convenience to wheedle programs and funds from the increasingly cash-strapped state government in Hartford. Seems to me to be not all that effective or efficient, but short of insurrection, there's nothing to be done within the current limits of the state constitution.

Thus, with all due respect to those who normally want government out of their lives, but think it should be in the bedroom, I'll consider voting for a Constitutional Convention because it expands horizons and enlarges the discussion. If you think you can stop people who are homosexual from marrying one another by voting one way or the other on November 4th on the question of convening a constitutional convention, do the rest of us a favor, please, and stay home.

I have the sinking suspicion most of us don't care what consenting adults do, or don't do, in the privacy of their own homes and with the liberty of their own lives. It's not a reality show where some one phones a friend or gets voted off an island. We don't have to watch or join in, so I don't think we care. We owe one another a reasonable amount of clarity and honesty in our public conduct so don't adopt a cause or lead a crusade for systemic and systematic change to how we make government work if you're not prepared to accept every one's issues and not just advocate for your own.
-bill kenny

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