Of flags, mar­riage and de­nial

Si­mon Wil­liamson lives with his fed­er­ally-rec­og­nized spouse in the wild yon­der of New­ton County. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @si­mon­willo.

GA Voice - - Outspoken - By Si­mon Wil­liamson

There is a se­vere ab­sence of em­bar­rass­ment here in ru­ral Ge­or­gia over the Con­fed­er­ate flag ker­fuf­fle. Like bel­liger­ent teens, cur­rent own­ers of the most rec­og­niz­ably ran­cid sym­bol in Amer­ica are now fly­ing the flag more promi­nently, high­light­ing it like Justin Tim­ber­lake did Janet Jack­son’s Su­per Bowl tit.

A bit of back­ground: I am a white South African whose for­ma­tive years took place un­der apartheid. We also had a flag. And we also got a new one, be­cause the old one stood for such a hate­ful gen­er­a­tion of op­pres­sion by white peo­ple against black. Don’t for­get, that white su­prem­a­cist mur­derer in South Carolina may have had a Con­fed­er­ate logo on his car, but the apartheid South African flag is etched onto his jacket.

So I am not speak­ing from a place of ig­no­rance when I say I am in full agree­ment that the Con­fed­er­ate flag has no place on the offi- cial grounds of any gov­ern­ment in the Union, state or lo­cal. And that I think pri­vate cit­i­zens who fly it are largely mo­rons, and I look down upon them as con­de­scend­ingly as I do peo­ple who think Shia LaBeouf can act.

And so it will be re­gard­ing the peo­ple who hate on the civil in­sti­tu­tion of mar­riage equal­ity. This coun­try has seen peo­ple of the same sex marry for over 11 years now, and the deities of var­i­ous re­li­gions have yet to smite the na­tion with any weather that hasn’t been seen be­fore.

When I moved to the United States in late 2011, there was still fall­out from New York State’s leg­is­la­ture al­low­ing men to marry men and women to marry women. Although the bill had moved through the leg­is­la­ture six months ear­lier, Car­di­nal Ti­mothy Dolan was still com­plain­ing like Don­ald Trump in econ­omy class. News­pa­pers were still de­bat­ing what the ef­fects would be. And Amer­i­cans were still pass­ing con­sti­tu­tional bans against mar­riage equal­ity with flaw­less suc­cess—it was the prej­u­dice equiv­a­lent of the S&P 500 in Obama’s Amer­ica.

Merely four years later, the sit­u­a­tion has been tipped on its head, and more than one public of­fi­cial who was once against gay mar­riage, or was too scared of the po­lit­i­cal fall­out to say oth­er­wise, is now in our boat, pad­dling mer­rily along to Cher’s great­est hits. We’ve strug­gled a bit with Repub­li­can of­fi­cials, but as more of them breed gay chil­dren, or re­al­ize where they are in re­la­tion to the public opin­ion in their dis­tricts, that re­sis­tance will fall as read­ily as if David Has­sel­hoff had sung on top of it.

Although Mike Huck­abee and his votaries, with their se­lec­tive read­ing of both the Bi­ble and the Con­sti­tu­tion, have made a big noise since the Supreme Court ruled, their squeal­ing has had all the ef­fect of a rolled-upon piglet. Public opin­ion will not be hauled back by bit­ter peo­ple with­out an ar­gu­ment that can’t rea­son­ably be con­strued as hav­ing its ba­sis in any­thing other than dis­lik­ing gay peo­ple. This is not re­ally the sort of thing that goes back­wards (the Roberts Court’s de­mo­li­tion of the Vot­ing Rights Act notwith­stand­ing).

So while, of course, we are not out of the woods, and a third of the na­tion still thinks we’re just out to do to the na­tion’s mo­rals what Illi­nois gover­nors do to the state fis­cus, there will come a time when crap­ping all over the civil in­sti­tu­tion of same-sex mar­riage makes you look like as much of an in-de­nial dick­head as a Con­fed­er­ate flag bumper sticker at­tached to the rear of your car.

“I am a white South African whose for­ma­tive years took place un­der apartheid. We also had a flag. And we also got a new one be­cause the old one stood for such a hate­ful gen­er­a­tion of op­pres­sion by white peo­ple against black.”

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