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Feingold On the Politics of Distraction and Discrimination

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Russ Feingold offered an eloquent response to the cynical, manipulative efforts of the Republicans to distract the American public with another proposed amendment about gay marriage:

There are serious issues facing this Congress — the war in Iraq, health care, high gas prices, relief and recovery after Hurricane Katrina, the economy. These are the issues on which the American people are demanding that Congress act. But instead, we are spending much of this week debating this poorly thought out, divisive, and politically motivated constitutional amendment that everyone knows has no chance of success in the Senate

He also warned: "We meddle with the Constitution to our own peril. If we begin to treat the Constitution as our personal sandbox, in which to build and destroy castles as we please, we risk diluting the grandeur of having a Constitution in the first place." My colleagues, those are the words of the author of the Federal DOMA statute. That is what he said about the wisdom of trying to amend the Constitution in this manner. I have spoken with Mr. Barr about this. He and I disagree about many things. But we agree wholeheartedly that the Constitution is a very special document and that amending it to enact the social policy of the moment would be a grave mistake.

Mr. President, we should not write discrimination and prejudice into the Constitution. And we should not prematurely cut off the important debates taking place in States across the country about how to define marriage by putting in place a permanent, restrictive federal definition of marriage.

As we sit here today, there are Americans across our country out of work, struggling to pay the month’s bills, worrying about their lack of health insurance or their ability to put their kids through college. Instead of spending our limited time this session on a proposal that is destined to fail and will only divide Americans from one another, we should be addressing the issues that will make our Nation more secure, our communities stronger, and the future of our families brighter.
I urge my colleagues to oppose this unnecessary, mean-spirited, divisive and poorly thought out constitutional amendment.

Maybe they are finally overplaying their hand. Maybe the American electorate will see through this cynical charade.

Or maybe they want to support people like this idiot.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a seventeen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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