Last month states like Kansas and Arizona made John Stewart’s life so easy. The Daily Show practically wrote itself, thanks to the appalling behavior of legislatures whose elected officials have a distorted view of what constitutes religious freedom.
And it would be natural to look at their behavior and be depressed. But instead, I celebrate it. Because it means that we actually are winning.
In the years after the Second World War, when African-American soldiers returned from serving their country and refused to return to the subservient role that they had left, the push for civil rights could no longer just be swept under the rug. So in the south, the state legislatures and city councils reacted in a very predictable way: Jim Crow laws were proposed and passed right and left. What little wasn’t already regulated was by gosh regulated now! Those in power clutched at that power with everything they had.
And they lost. It wasn’t easy. It took a lot of time, and a lot of bloodshed, but they lost. All those laws were overturned.
What we are seeing now? That same, final panicky grasp at the status quo. The turnaround on these changes is a lot faster–after all, neither state actually enacted these laws. But what we are seeing, and what we saw back in 2008 when a bunch of states passed constitutional amendments prohibiting same sex marriage, is a final bodice-clutching, fan-wafting, smell-salts-fueled hysteria.
They’ll lose. It’ll take a little more time, hopefully no more bloodshed, but they will lose.