Guest post by Miguel Duque
“Moral outrage is the most powerful motivating force in politics.” -Morton Blackwell
Although there is no doubt that marriage inequality amounts to genuine oppression for many Americans, the constant buzz surrounding it all these years seemed to me little more than an unfortunate distraction. After all, the supposed problem is such a no-brainer in the midst of other more urgent national crises. However, much to my surprise, the recent resurgence of debate this time brought about a change in my outlook.
Whatever true expanse of meaning the institution of marriage bears in society, the consensus doesn’t likely treat it as a run-of-the-mill legal bargain settled in the courthouse. Marriage carries a weight deeply more personal than that. It’s intimate; it’s selfless; it’s eternal; it’s often spiritual. It’s about love and nothing more than pure love. Most people understand that intuitively. Thus, the question follows: What on Earth business do federal, state, local, or any government have regulating marriage in the first place?
Such a terrible shame, so I thought, that everyone’s been duped into bickering about Adam and Steve while the very fabric of liberty is whipped from under their feet. Many of those claiming to stand up for individual rights either remain unaware or purposefully ignorant of the countless far more vicious assaults on our freedom: impending fiscal and monetary catastrophe, bringing with it a full economic collapse; the failed military-industrial complex’s self-destructive policies of unlimited, endless war; and state-perpetrated domestic terror coupled with a disgusting contravention of the Bill of Rights. I mused that perhaps many of these people taking a sudden interest in politics for gay marriage are really only doing so to be trendy.
Then I remembered to calm my ego down and stop thinking so pretentiously. I briefly considered my own past attitudes toward current events, from before I took a more serious interest in the full spectrum of tyranny we now face. Despite caring very little to hear about anything related to politics, marriage equality was always one of the few things that just “clicked” with me.
This is when I realized something about the subjective nature of the marriage debate, and the entirety of my sentiments regarding the issue’s worth reversed themselves. Perhaps the whole discussion was not such a waste of precious time after all. The reason it evokes a passionate response from fresh faces, even those who would otherwise show total disinterest in politics, is simply because the answer is so painfully commonsensical, and because the plain injustice strikes a harsh chord with our very sense of morality. “Where do these sanctimonious, meddling politicians get off trying to tell people who can and can’t get married?!” most of us naturally demand.
Moral outrage is, after all, the most powerful motivating force in politics, as noted by the great grassroots activism legend Morton Blackwell. Now it is up to libertarians, as the emerging voice of reason in the Republican Party and the conservative movement, to take heed of this law and reinforce our message in a way that harnesses the power of that growing moral indignation. Marriage inequality, SOPA, gun control, the War on Drugs. Whatever produces a spark, we absolutely must stand up and answer the cries of the politically homeless, those who now realize that they’re not being heard or represented but actively threatened and tormented. We must use that spark to set the brushfires of freedom in the minds of the people and help them find the courage to speak for themselves.
This is ground zero in the people’s struggle to live free. Liberty is in grave danger. America needs to get mad.
Miguel Duque is a grassroots activist and former field representative of the Leadership Institute. Follow him on Twitter @MiguelADuque