"So now you see the light, eh!
Stand up for your rights. Come on!
Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!"
Lyrics form the song, "Get Up, Stand Up", by Bob Marley If you listen to the TV or radio talking heads, it would be easy to think that America is permanently in the grip of some major political issue. That there is always some great political division at stake and everyone just can wait to get to the polling stations and express their opinions. However, it is not exactly true. If you look at simple numbers of voter turnout, they are comparatively low. For instance at its peak, during American presidential election year it averaged between 50 and 60% of the eligible voting population in the last several decades (and it is the high point), whereas in German federal elections voter turnout averaged more than 80%. It almost seems polite not to get into a debate on political issues in personal conversations.
Of course, there is always an exception. Typically it is someone at one of the extremes of the political spectrum, who is upset about some political injustice and eager to talk about it. I have a coworker like that - a smart guy and a rare bird in American politics (he is a true liberal and a socialist). Recently we had another conversation about a subject that affects only a small portion of the population and at the same time appears quite inflammatory and emotional. I am talking about gay marriage.
He, of course, is all for allowing gays to marry. He was quite upset about recent vote in Maine and a vote a year ago in California and was arguing for enacting some forceful decisions on the federal level. I, on the other hand, while agreeing with him on the essence of the problem, was not so sure that this is an issue to be forced or legislated. Especially when you take into account all of the difficulties the country is facing right now. However, after thinking about it a little bit more, I decided to address this problem in front of you, try to convince you that it is indeed a major issue and worth casting apathy aside. At the same time I'd like to offer a solution that may make a resolution of this problem more palatable for everyone.
First, why do I think this is important? On the surface I don't have a horse in this race (I'm not gay or have close gay or lesbian friends. In fact that's likely the case for most of us - only about 5% of the population is gay or...