Cantor’s Cant And Marriage Equality

Andrew Sullivan —  Jun 25 2011 @ 2:58pm

A reader writes:

It struck me as fitting that your post on Rep. Cantor and the inflexible and passionate ideological purity of the Tea Party/neocon right on financial issues happened on the same day as your live blog of the marriage equality victory in New York.  

Over the last decade or two, individuals holding what we now identify as neocon views had been driven by social issues.  Sure, they had opinions about taxes and spending, but the hyper-passionate ideological inflexibility – the thing that got them out of bed in the morning ready to fight – derived from social issues.  The same sort of reckless and passionate inflexibility in the face of reality that they now apply to issues of taxing and spending used to be applied to issues of discrimination, religious intolerance, and fighting marriage equality.  The same "litmus test" now being used to blackball any GOP candidate willing to consider revenue increases mirrors the old social-issue litmus tests on issues like marriage equality.

And now, with a lot of those social-issue battles in the process of having been lost – a bi-racial president, marriage equality spreading, a growing and dynamic population of racial and ethnic minorities in America – it seems fitting that these ideologically driven purity tests have moved into the fiscal arena.

Looking at the battle for marriage equality gives me hope that, in the end, truth and justice and just-plain-facts-on-the-ground win out over harmful and inflexible rhetoric (though the fight is by no means over, and I don't want to minimize the work that brave people still have to do). But I am also sobered by the fact that so many gay Americans have had to suffer for so many decades while fighting for right. And I fear for the millions of Americans likely to suffer the consequences of Tea Party economics over the next decades as this new fight emerges.