Watching the response by conservatives and the Republican candidates to the events last week, especially the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, tells me something about them beyond just their political stance and the base they’re pandering to. It tells me that they have come to the realization that they are no longer in control, and they can’t deal with it on a rational basis.
The responses by the presidential candidates and leading voices in the conservative movement have been both apoplectic and infantile, ranging from threats of secession to indecipherable spluttering about amending the Constitution and bracing for God’s revenge. These are not the reactions of rational minds and it calls into question whether or not these people should be trusted with positions of power. Invoking “states rights” may carry some weight when you’re talking about enforcing medical marijuana laws, but when you are dealing with fundamental human rights such as marriage or equal access to accommodations, there has to be an understanding that there are certain things we don’t get to vote on: those are already hard-wired into the foundation of the country. When the Constitution says that “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,” that applies to everyone.
This theory presumes, of course, that they ever really were in charge of the narrative of America: that we were a nation of straight white people who went to church on Sunday where the preacher told us that gay people were abominations and that people of other faiths were not to be trusted because they didn’t have the same values as we did. It never was really that way and it never has been despite their best efforts to make it so. Now that significant steps have been taken to demonstrate that all people are entitled to all the rights, that making healthcare available to all people is possible, and that old banners of treasonous states are no longer acceptable in polite society, they feel as if they are the ones being marginalized.
Their biggest fear is that they will now be treated the same way as they used to treat the ones they marginalized.