I don’t know if I can put it more charitably than this: In the five weeks since the 2012 presidential election, I’ve become pretty fed up with politics. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I fully intend to blog and tweet about politics in the future. It’s just that even a politically obsessed lawyer/blogger like me needs to take a break every so often.
Indeed, I would have thought that after our guy got reelected, we would have been entitled to a little break, if for no other reason than to enjoy the moment. But no. As soon as the results were in in the early hours of November 7, the political animals on Twitter and Facebook launched full-throttle into the “fiscal cliff” debate – Obama must raise taxes on the rich! Don’t let Obama cave on Medicare! Tell Obama not to compromise on Social Security! No retreat! No surrender! …
And so the hyperventilating became, if possible, even more intense than in the weeks leading up to the election.
But at least the fiscal-cliff-related hyperventilation involves actual pressing issues. I find it hard to maintain that level of intensity/outrage right now, but I get it. It’s important. On the other hand, the breathless speculation about who will run for the Democratic nomination in 2016 – cough, Hillary Clinton, cough, cough – is really nuts. In fact, I had folks inviting me to join Hillary 2016 groups and sign petitions and the like at least a month before the election.
Hey, how about we let Pres. Obama enjoy his second inauguration before we crown Hillary Clinton the Forty-Fifth President and Great Savior Of All Things Liberal, okay?
So, yeah, I’m a little tired of politics at the moment. But you know what I’m not tired of? Progress. History being made. America becoming a little more America-ish. That sort of thing is always welcome.
“What sort of thing?” You ask. Why this sort of thing:
[Illinois’] Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn today said he hopes state lawmakers send him a gay marriage bill when they meet again in January, but even the measure’s sponsor is unsure the issue will rise to the top of a busy agenda.
“I hope that bill goes forward,” Quinn said when asked about the possibility of the measure being passed before new lawmakers are sworn in Jan. 9. “It’s the House that probably the key arena at this time, and I think we’ll see how the members look at that issue. They should study it carefully and vote their conscience.”
Rep. Greg Harris, the chief sponsor of the gay marriage bill, said he was encouraged by Quinn’s comments but acknowledged the issue may take a back seat during the lame duck session.
“At this point, we will call it when we have the votes there,” said Harris, D-Chicago. “We can see the trend of public opinion having shifted dramatically… but it takes time for legislators to figure that out. And there are a number of other key votes, pensions is obviously number one among them.”
Harris helped shepherd through a measure allowing civil unions for same sex couples during the lame duck session two years ago, and argues it’s no longer a matter of if same sex marriage will be legalized in Illinois, but when.
“People all around the political spectrum have thought about this issue and said there is really no good reason that we shouldn’t treat one family in Illinois differently or with less respect than we treat another,” Harris said.
Okay, so, yes, it’s a mixed bag, so to speak. The Governor wants marriage equality in Illinois; the Democratic leadership wants it; but there are so many pressing financial issues facing Illinois right now, a marriage equality bill may not pass next month. But Gov. Quinn and Rep. Harris are right: The public is ready for it, and the General Assembly will catch up. Sooner, we hope, than later.
Either way, there’s little doubt that Illinois will join Iowa, New York, Washington State, Washington D.C., Maryland, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, by adopting full equal marriage rights for our gay and lesbian citizens. There’s little doubt that Illinois will move forward on marriage equality, because that’s where the future lies. Forward.
As Joe Strummer said in an altogether different context: It’s just the beat of time, the beat that must go on …
And it’s getting louder.