Saturday, October 20, 2018

Vote Democrat

There are 16 days left before America gets to vote.   My message is very simple.

Vote Democrat.

Maybe the Republican in your county, district or state is more experienced.  Maybe s/he is more polished, smarter, even wiser.   That’s too bad.  But it wouldn’t change my message. 

Vote Democrat.

That sounds like a parody, right?  Like I’m making fun of the so-called “Yellow-Dog” Democrats.  Well it’s not, and I’m not.  My message is very simple.

Vote Democrat.

The Democrats aren’t the ones denying climate change.  Or the right of women to control their own bodies.  Or the right to universal health care. 

Vote Democrat.

The Democrats aren’t the ones who support cutting taxes for the rich and then, when the deficit balloons (who knew?), support stripping away at social welfare programs.  Nor are the Democrats the ones who are enamored with corporate welfare programs. 

Vote Democrat.

The Democrats aren’t the ones who are being propped up by the Russian Government.  Did you ever ask yourself why Putin has it out for the Democrats?  Or whether whatever group Putin opposes might be a group you want to support?

Vote Democrat.

The Democrats aren’t the ones who are bought and sold by the gun lobby. 

Vote Democrat.

The Democrats aren’t the ones who are dominated by a single ethnic group or the ones whose leader praised the “very fine people” who participated in a Nazi march.

Vote Democrat.

Hillary Clinton isn’t on the ballot in these mid-terms.  But Donald Trump pretty much is.  He acted like he had a mandate when he lost the popular vote.  Imagine how he would feel if he won the midterms.

Vote Democrat. 

A vote for the Democrats is a vote for checks and balances.  It’s a vote for a party that keeps losing elections because their voters disproportionately live in populated states or in disenfranchised areas like Washington D.C. or Puerto Rico, or because the other party successfully gerrymandered districts.  A vote for the GOP is a vote for minority rule.

Vote Democrat.

The Democrats aren’t the ones pushing for roadblocks on the right to vote.  Nor are they the ones who, not too long ago, started a war based on phony intelligence. 

Vote Democrat.

If you vote for a Republican Governor and something happens that causes one of your Democratic Senators to be unable to finish his or her term, the Republican Governor will be able to find a replacement from his own party.  And the first thing that replacement will do is join Mitch McConnell’s caucus.

Vote Democrat.

Honestly, I realize that sometimes, the best person on the ballot is an Independent or even a Republican.  But these are not ordinary times.  Right now is the time to fight for a party that has had the deck stacked against it for years and needs YOUR support to ensure that the GOP doesn’t control literally every branch of government.

Don’t overthink this.

Vote Democrat.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

An Interfaith Address

After the madness of the previous few weeks, I am taking this blogpost off from politics -- partisan or otherwise.  What's more, I am taking this blogpost off from divisiveness generally.  Yes, I understand that what follows may be viewed as divisive by someone who is antagonized by the very existence of religion.  But if you fall into that category, I mean no offense.  For I assume that even the "non-religious" have their own world view, their own "ultimate concern," and I include you and others like you in any dialogue that is truly interfaith.

What follows is the substance of an address that I gave last week at a mosque in Lanham, Maryland.  It was part of an International World Islamic Conference entitled "The Spirit of Good Morals," and I was participating in a panel that focused on harmony and interfaith cooperation.  May you find these words meaningful --

In Judaism, the “Prophets” are known above all else for their love and their courage.  They are courageous enough to rail against even the most cherished of ceremonial rituals, whenever these rituals are placed above such values as justice and compassion.  For example, on the holiest day of fasting in the Jewish calendar, we read from the Prophet Isaiah:  “Because you fast in strife and contention ... your fasting today is not such as to make your voice heard on high.  Is such the fast I desire, a day for men to starve their bodies? [To] bow ... the[ir] heads like a bulrush and [lie] in sackcloth and ashes? Do you call that a fast...?  No, this is the fast I desire: to unlock fetters of wickedness ....  To let the oppressed go free.  It is to share your bread with the hungry, and to take the wretched poor into your home.” 

That is Prophetic Judaism.  It is why rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said that the Prophets were absolutely consumed with the horrors of social injustice.  The Prophets, Heschel wrote, throw us “into orations about widows and orphans, about the corruption of judges and affairs of the market place.  Instead of showing us a way through the elegant mansions of the mind, the prophets take us to the slums. ... The[y] ... are scandalized and rave as if the whole world were a slum. ...  To us injustice is injurious to the welfare of the people, to the prophets it is a deathblow to existence: to us, an episode, to them, a catastrophe, a threat to the world.”

To be a Jewish follower of the Prophets is to fight injustice.  And to love all expressions of God – and especially our fellow human beings.  We honor God, by loving humankind.  All of humankind.  Not just our family.  Not just our tribe.  Yet we live in a time where it is tempting to become tribal.  To circle the wagons and fight for our own kind.  White versus black, red versus blue, rich versus poor.  Such is life in 2018 in America.

But that is not a righteous life.  Righteousness requires us to transcend the tribal.  Yes, I am a son of Jacob.  But first and foremost, I am a son of Adam – and a lover of God.  My God commands me to open my heart to all people, and especially those most in need.  My God commands me to open my mind to all teachings, and not be afraid of dialoguing with those who disagree with me.  My God commands me to open my lips to speak truth to power, to preach based on hope not fear, and to be candid when others are circumspect.

While recognizing that interfaith is difficult whenever people dialogue with candor, I am proud to be a member of the interfaith movement.  And why not?  As Spinoza said, “all things excellent are as difficult as they are rare.”   If you ask me, few if any social movements are more excellent than interfaith.  Without it, we will never form the unity needed to the bridge the divides that plague our world.  If we don’t build these bridges, the poorest among us, the weakest among us, their bodies will suffer the most.  Their bodies, our souls.

I understand there are people who won’t dialogue with me because I am a Jew who has a love for the state of Israel. Decades ago, I left this country at the age of 20 to travel there.  When I left, I was a non-believer in God.  When I returned, I was a believer for life.  I have called out to all who are interested – come, let’s dialogue about the plight of Palestinians and Jews in that part of the world.  Some have answered my call.  Others would say “No. Don’t dialogue with him.  If you do that, you normalize the oppression for which his people are responsible.”

My brothers and sisters, that is what interfaith is up against.  Every tribe has its reasons NOT to dialogue with those who see the world differently.  Every tribe has its reasons to fear, to mistrust.  But that is not the path of the Prophets.  That is not the path of an open heart or an open mind.  To the Prophets, all human beings have dignity.  All voices should be heard.  All cries for help should be answered.  And to answer them, we must join hands, pool our resources, and work together. 

A week or so before this complex had its Grand Opening, a number of us from the interfaith community met here and shared a few reflections.  My message was simple.  The interfaith movement is beautiful, but it has a big problem.  For the most part, all we do is preach to the choir.  We see the same faces over and over again, and they all nod in agreement.  But we aren’t succeeding in reaching the mainstream of our congregations.  They are still apathetic or fearful.  So they’d rather not share their ideas about the hot-button issues outside their communities.  They prefer the comfort food of praying with their own kind, rather than, say, looking into the eyes of the “other” and seeing their own reflection.

How do we get the rank and file from our congregations to leave the comforts of home?  The answer starts with a commitment by our leaders to emphasize interfaith.  First, they must find fellow clergy from other faiths who they trust.  And then, these clergy must bring their congregations together and twin.  Congregational twinning is how you form trust and lasting friendships, and open up the preaching beyond the choir.  

In this world, there is nothing more inspiring than seeing people who disagree with each other nevertheless love each other.  Learn from each other.  And teach each other.  Yes, it’s difficult.  It takes time, patience, and plenty of humility.  But we have no choice.  We must take on the interfaith challenge.  Our Prophets require it.  You see, they demand that we, inspired by our love of God, heal our planet and care for our needy.  If we don’t work together, we can’t get that job done.  And that would be a catastrophe and a scandal that the Prophets cannot abide.   Nor should we.

Saturday, October 06, 2018

“When They Go Low, We Go High” – Yet Another Case Study

In mid-February 2008, Michelle Obama made a statement that, according to Republicans at the time, revealed her as a hater of America.  Reflecting on her husband’s popularity as a candidate for President, Michelle said that “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.” 

Her statement was mocked far and wide over talk radio.  No matter what time of the day, you could listen to nationally syndicated voices blasting her as an ungrateful, militant feminist – and on those shows, there is no insult worse than “feminist.”  Rush Limbaugh, one of the pre-eminent voices of talk radio regularly uses the term “feminazi” instead of feminist to further illustrate the point that feminists are nothing short of a cancer on the nation.  I suspect he would use this term for any of the top women leaders of the Democratic Party – Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand.  Whichever of these women are actually seeking power at a given time are dehumanized on a regular basis throughout the day on stations all over America.  These are the programs through which Red America gets its talking points.  It has been this way for nearly three decades.  By contrast, Blue America tried to create its own network, Air America, but it failed in less than six years. 

Ten years have passed since Michelle Obama uttered those famous words about pride in her country.  She is pretty much out of the news now; since she is not threatening Rush, Mark, Laura, Sean and the other right-wing talking heads, nobody’s bothering to lash out at her.  Lucky woman.  The last time she was really at the center of the nation’s attention was when she delivered her speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2016.  Michelle was reflecting on the people – like our current President – who have questioned her husband’s citizenship or faith, using hateful language and acting like a bully (for what else do you call getting on the radio or television in front of an amen chorus and dehumanizing the leaders of the opposing party constantly for nearly 30 years).  And she was very clear about the proper way to react to such bigmouths:

“When someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level.  No, our motto is, when they go low, we go high.”

There you have it – the motto of the Democratic Party.  So please allow me to translate – the Republicans can engage in mixed martial arts, throwing elbows, fists, knees, feet, you name it.  And we’ll respond with dressage – calm, composed, graceful, artistic.  Somehow, the good Lord has thrown us both into the same ring.  Naturally, the Republicans keep on winning battles (i.e., elections).  But we, the Democrats, feel like we’re winning the war.  Because in our minds, we’re the ones who can look ourselves in the mirror the next morning, proud of our performance, whereas they – those cruel bullies – they should be ashamed of themselves.

I assure you that they’re not.  In fact, right now, as we speak, all over the country, Republicans are laughing at their opponents, the way the Harlem Globetrotters must have laughed at the hapless Washington Generals.  They keep winning.  They have the Presidency, the Senate, the House, the State Houses, more and more courts, and now they are about to have the Supreme Court for a long, long time.  So much for the value of dressage.

The two sports were fully on display during the Kavanaugh hearings.  The Democrats brought calm, respectful Senators who asked questions and, indeed, elicited a number of “little lies” about the Senator’s high school yearbook and teenage alcohol habits.  “Well played,” as they probably say in dressage (you’ll forgive me but I’ve never learned dressage jargon, so I’ll have to speculate about it).  None of the Democrats lost his or her cool, or even broke a sweat.  Democrats rarely break a sweat – they’re surely fearful that if they did, it would look bad. And the one thing you can’t do in dressage is look bad – not you, not your horse.  Meanwhile, Kavanaugh came out like Ronda Rousey in her prime. He was ready to throw punches, show off his judo flips, and kick ass.   And when he was finished, Lindsay Graham was just warming up.  “This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics,” he hollered, “And if you really wanted to know the truth, you sure as hell wouldn’t have done what you’ve done to this guy.” 

Graham was yelling.  It’s the political equivalent of the knee to the face, which badly gashes the opponent and turns a white or brown face a red one.  Republicans don’t mind yelling.  Our President does it on a daily basis.  Bernie Sanders tried to do it on the Democratic side as well as Elizabeth Warren.  But they don’t get very far.  Bernie wasn’t even given a fair shake to win his Party’s nomination.  And Warren?  She’s viewed as unelectable – too “shrill,” too “negative.”  That’s another way of saying that there is no crying in baseball and no yelling in dressage.

As for mixed martial arts, there are comparatively few constraints.  It’s kind of no holds barred – you basically do whatever you have to do to win.  Principles are for pussies.  Uppercuts, armbars, and guillotines are for champions.  But there is one rule that applies AFTER you’ve won.  When you choke someone unconscious, for example, you’re supposed to let go.  You’re supposed to let the medics attend to the loser right away.  In Republican politics, the analogue is that you’re supposed to behave in a bi-partisan, statesmanlike way – after the choke hold has been successfully applied.  So, for example, when it became clear that Kavanaugh had the votes, he could go to the Wall Street Journal and write his op-ed about how maybe, just maybe, his performance in the ring last Thursday was a bit much.  Of course, there is no such thing as a bit much when you’re in the UFC and you’re fighting for the Title (in this case, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court).  You can make nice when the fight’s over, but only when the fight’s over.  Because if you let your guard down earlier, you might just get kicked in the face.  Even a Republican could have trouble rebounding from that.

It’s kind of funny, I guess, that the Republicans figured out a way to turn the would-be perpetrator into the victim.  Their passion has galvanized their base.  And the Democrats?  They have their base wondering about how things could have been different.  How Mitch McConnell could have said “Of course, sir,” when President Obama asked if his own nominee, Merrick Garland, would get a fair hearing.  Garland was a political moderate and AARP-eligible for 13 years, but still McConnell didn’t feel like giving him a fair hearing.  Again, no rules.  Elbows, knees, feet, fists – all good.  And how did Obama and the Democrats respond?  Rage?  Are you kidding.  There is no rage in dressage.  Seriously, if you want to win gold at that sport, you must exude class at all time.  You and your horse.
So President Obama took McConnell’s news like the class act we knew him to be when we elected him.  “No drama Obama,” we called him. Cool as the other side of the pillow.  No problem.  We don’t need our Supreme Court Justice this year.  We’ll wait until after we win the election in 2016.  In fact, we won’t even bother to campaign in the states where the polls are close, because our candidate is classy and your candidate is a lout, and Americans would never elect a lout.  What do you think this is, mixed martial arts?

Ah, yeah.  That’s exactly what it is.  You see, MMA is a battle between people with different specialties. You have boxers, wrestlers, judoka, and Muay Thai specialists, and they somehow get together in the same ring and fight it out – sometimes standing up, and sometimes on the mat, depending on whose skills are most dominant.  Similarly, the Republicans are using the full panoply of MMA skills to ignore the environment, cut taxes for the rich, and roll back reproductive rights and the Democrats are using the full panoply of dressage skills to ... well, let’s just say to look classy and feel good about themselves when they see themselves in the mirror after their inevitable defeats.
It’s not a fair fight.  Then again, nobody thinks about politics as being fundamentally fair.  Even the Democrats know that much.  Still, for reasons known only to the people at the last Democratic Convention, they cheered when Michelle Obama said, “When they go low, we go high.”

That’s insane.  Because in MMA, when a wrestler goes low, and the opponent goes high, he’ll swing and miss, get taken down, and then either get pummeled via the ground-and-pound or get arm-barred and need to tap out.  And then his opponent can hug him and behave in what we call in Washington a “bi-partisan” manner, until the next fight.  It’s a losing proposition.  But apparently the Democrats would rather stay classy than be effective.  You would forgive me for wondering if their heart was really in the competition.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

A Week That Will Live in Infamy

As a white male who grew up in the 60s and 70s in Bethesda, Maryland, I somehow feel relevant all of a sudden.   Perhaps you are waiting for secret dirt – like the fact that back then, a 16 year-old high school boy could cruise into Wildwood Deli (an eight-minute drive from Georgetown Prep) and buy beer with no questions asked, or the fact that I personally did so on numerous occasions.   But enough about me.

Instead, I’m thinking about my 97 year-old mother, herself a 50+ year resident of B-Town, but not a patron of the Wildwood Deli.  My mother is part of a very different cohort than mine.  In her day, the boys went off to war and fought together, rich and poor alike, against the most evil enemy known to humankind.  They came back – or at least some came back –as young but wise men.  They were victorious and, no doubt, exceptionally patriotic.  Having looked into the heart and soul of darkness, they cherished the values associated with the red, white and blue.  Values like freedom of expression and opportunity, equality, respect for human dignity, brotherly love, and an appreciation for the principles of democracy.  It’s no wonder that America became the envy of the world.

When these young veterans grew older and went into politics, they were determined to honor the country they loved so dearly.  They knew that America was capable of great things – if it could defeat the Nazis, surely it could put a man on the moon.  And we did!  Our politicians worked together.  They ended the Jim Crow Era, implemented the Great Society programs, and created the Environmental Protection Agency.  Equality of wealth in this country was never greater than back in those days.   Nor were expressions of cultural unrest.  We saw the Summer of Love, the rise of the feminism, and a powerful Anti-War movement.   To be sure, that generation wasn’t perfect – they gave us the debacle of Vietnam.  But all and all, the “Greatest Generation” as they are now called will be remembered far more for what they did right than what they did wrong.  And my cohort – those of us who grew up in the 60s and 70s – were among the beneficiaries.

Obviously, as that older cohort faded away and my own came to power, we have seen national deterioration.  I was born in the latter part of the Baby Boom generation.  The earlier Boomers were the ones who were born shortly after World War II.   When it was the new generation’s time to serve, the war (Vietnam) wasn’t nearly so compelling.  The richest families figured out legal ways to evade service, and the poorest families took on casualties for no apparent reason.  In the mid-to-late 70s, we saw one politician get caught committing a crime, and two more who were clearly not ready for prime time.  So then came the Election of 1980, the ascendancy of Ronald Reagan, economic policies based on a combination of rugged individualism and social Darwinism, and an uptick in economic inequality that has been growing for decades.  Also in the 80s, we saw the beginning of right-wing talk radio, where liberal Americans are vilified on a daily basis and conservative Americans receive their talking points.  That phenomenon begat similar cable news outlets on the left, which can be equally dismissive of conservatives and their motives.

By the turn of the century, with the Baby Boomers firmly in power, we no longer saw the same kind of common values inform our political discourse.  America had become tribal.  The Presidential Election went to the guy who won fewer total votes but was a member of the party with a slim majority on the Supreme Court.  The public lost confidence in that court.  It already had lost confidence in the Congress. Now, people just lined up with their own tribe in an everything-goes battle against their domestic enemies.

Rural vs. Urban, Red versus Blue, Men versus Women, White versus Black.  To the people on the political right, the New York Times became the “New York Slimes,” feminists became “Feminazis,” and ethnic and gender studies departments became un-American symbols of political correctness.  Meanwhile, to the people on the political left, conservatives came to be seen either as evil hypocrites or knuckle dragging morons, the former moniker being used for the leadership and the latter for their followers.

E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One) had morphed into E Pluribus Duo.  And we owe most of these trends to my cohort, the Baby Boomers.  Apparently, too many of us grew up fat and happy – guzzling beers in high school, guzzling beers in college, and then walking into a job market that was pretty sweet and forgiving.  The Gospel of Luke taught that “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required.”  But in the case of my cohort, we were given a lot, we expected to receive just as much, and we became indignant whenever someone asked us to share money or power.  What took our predecessors centuries to build up, we have squandered in one generation.
... which leads me to the spectacle at the Senate on Thursday.

On the one hand, we’ve all seen something similar before.  I vividly remember feeling incensed during the so-called “high tech lynching” of Clarence Thomas 27 years ago.  But somehow, this past week’s spectacle was even more difficult to experience.  This time, I didn’t feel enraged so much as wounded.  At times, I was near tears, and I’ve never even big a victim of sexual assault.

I won’t take a position in this blog about the guilt or innocence of the nominee.  The FBI is about to investigate, so I am not going to comment about that. But whatever happened at that Bethesda party back in the early 80s, I want to know what is happening in the backrooms of the Senate in 2018.  I want to know what it means for us today to have a “Separation of Powers.”  I want to know whether, when then candidate Trump joked that “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” he was talking about people like the Republican leadership of the U.S. Senate.

Do we really want to deny Democratic Presidents the right to nominate people to the Supreme Court and then “plow right through” when serious questions are asked about a Republican nominee?  Do we want, in other words, to apply a beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard whenever Republican nominees are being accused of misconduct, after denying a Democratic nominee the right even to be considered for the job?   Are these the principles that the Greatest Generation would have applied when they came to political power in the 60s and 70s? Or are they signs that American governance has fallen prey to only a single principle – might makes right?

The Greatest Generation, once they returned from World War II, came to be known as Cold Warriors.  They battled Marxists and Marxism, especially its idea that even totalitarianism can be justified by the idea that “the end justifies the means.” To me, as to these Cold Warriors, that notion is a disgusting abdication of values -- for situational ethics are no ethics at all.

The Greatest Generation fought against such “ethics” – on the battle field, in the realm of geopolitics, and even in the halls of Congress,   They sought bi-partisan agreements, expressed genuine affection for politicians across the aisle, and reached principled results.  They accomplished big results.  And they did so together. 

Unfortunately, those days appears to have left us.  The old Cold Warriors are dying, and a new Cold War has returned.  This time, it is not America against foreign enemies.  It’s one group of Americans against another.  This war is no holds barred.  We wait until someone screams across the aisle, and then we salute that screaming.  We have come to see civility as a sign of weakness or cowardice.  Even our would-be judges are encouraged to spew partisan passion.

I look for the next generation to get things right.  Clearly, my cohort can’t be trusted with power. 

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Celebrating a Milestone

At midnight, when this weekend officially ends, I will be halfway to accomplishing the central goal that I have set out for myself in life – the single item on my bucket list, as it were.   My ability to attain this goal is not totally up to me.  In fact, it’s largely out of my control.  But that’s OK, because luck is central to pretty much every venture in life, and I’m at peace with depending on luck in the things that matter most to me. What choice is there?

So what happens at 12:00 a.m. Monday morning?  I celebrate my 30th wedding anniversary.   My goal is to make it to 60.  Once that happens, if that happens, I would be 88 and my wife would be 89, and I’ll be ready for whatever God has in store for us.  Until then, I respectfully request that the two of us keep on breathing, and we’ll take care of the rest.   

As long as I can remember, I’ve revered the institution of marriage.  I saw my parents fight and fight and fight and yet, I never saw them separate, let alone divorce.  They were married for 17 years before I was born and another 41 years thereafter, and believe me, it was no bed of roses.  I knew they deeply loved each other.  And I also knew that they drove each other crazy.  So I had to decide – what is the more important value in life: to minimize the extent to which we are driven crazy by our loved ones?  Or to maximize the extent to which we experience and bestow the deepest of love?   You have my answer. 

I have been a bit more fortunate than my parents.  I married a woman who actually doesn’t drive me crazy.  I found her at Harvard Law School, where she was a bit of a fish out of water.  Now, instead of honing her rhetoric and brinksmanship skills in arenas of verbal combat, she teaches 5-10 year old schoolchildren how to appreciate reading and do research.  Recently, she spent 15 days in a hospital attempting to recuperate from surgery, but never once did she get upset with me, or with anyone else.   No, being married to her for 60 years would hardly entitle me to combat pay.  In fact, to use the immortal words of Lou Gehrig, it would make me “the luckiest man alive.” 

This weekend, as I reflect on the significance of Monday’s anniversary, I’m reminded that not everyone in my generation was given the opportunity to aim for the goal that I’ve set out for myself.  In order to have a reasonable chance to be married for 60 years, the members of my cohort needed to tie the knot by the end of the 80s or early 90s.   But for many, that wasn’t possible.   Not in America.  Not overseas.

The group of people I have in mind who were denied their rights to marry were formerly known by several nasty, hurtful words.   Oh, there was no shortage of names.  They weren’t sequestered from society like lepers, but to a degree they served the same role in society.  They were the ones most likely to be bullied by teenage alpha males.   Why sequester them if we can ridicule them instead?  It’s so much more fun, right?  Civilized people – the kind who thrive at places like Harvard Law School – would know enough not to mock these people or even to refer to them by derogatory names.  But when it came time to decide whether to support their right to get married, now that was a bridge too far.  Like most Americans, Ivy League educated lawyers turned politicians, knew enough NOT to advocate for same-sex marriage.   Obviously, the Republican leaders opposed it.  But, more notably, so did the highest leaders of the purportedly-progressive Democratic party.

Barack Obama finally came out in favor of gay marriage in 2012.  He was joined by Hillary Clinton in 2013.  Is it any wonder that as recently as 2003, not a single state allowed gay people to get married? 

In 2018, the times have changed.   The coup de grace was the 2015 Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which mandated that all 50 states allow same-sex couples to get married.   The vote was 5-4.  And yes, Justice Kennedy decided with the majority.

I have scrupulously striven to make this blog a law-free zone so that I may separate what I write about on weekends from what I do for a living.  Accordingly, I don’t wish to comment on the legal reasoning of Obergefell, or the stability of this precedent in light of past and future changes on the Court.  That kind of candor will be preserved until the time I leave government service and feel free to speak my mind on all topics.  But today, allow me to point out on a personal level just how important it is for me that other Americans be granted the same fundamental rights that I possess, and just how fundamental I view the right of all consenting adults to get married.

It is sad enough that gay people my age will never dream of reaching the big 6-0.  But I pray that in my children’s generation, and their children’s generation, every American will grow up secure in the knowledge that they can reach for this beautiful milestone regardless of their sexual preference. 

You know, my wife isn’t a very opinionated person, and she is definitely an open-minded one.  But I remember her telling me once that while she is typically able to see two sides on every issue, the one issue on which she only sees a single side is gay marriage.  I feel the same way.  Anyone who would take away that right for secular reasons is making arguments I simply can’t fathom.  And anyone who would take away that right for religious reasons is just the opposite kind of religious person than I am. 

Long live marriage.  Long live tolerance.  Love live progressive religion.