A few of my friends have recently had terrible experiences with e-dating. One of them progressed from an on-line conversation to a phone conversation to a suggestion that they have a drink—which then became “let’s walk our dogs” which then degenerated into stand on the corner and I’ll drive by, pause for a minute and either we’ll go for a ride or I will get back in my Jaguar and leave. My friend agreed to do the drive by date because she wanted to see what kind of an asshole drove such a nice car. My other friend actually met the date (who had made 1000 connections, had two first meetings and no second dates) and they spent two hours talking over dinner. He told her he would contact her the next day—which he did and informed her that a match does not always a flame make.
I assured both my friends that they were fabulous people and that these guys were morons but still it does do something to your ego when you can’t even get a repeat performance from a total schmuck. But that’s not what I wanted to blob about. I wanted to blob about schmucks and relationships which brings us back to the subject of the President and gay marriage.
Clay, our guest blobber, thinks that the President’s policy is totally backward and that all gay couples should be forced to get married. Kind of along the lines of a Henny Youngman joke — why should gays get away with not being miserable for the rest of their lives? Of course, Clay also thinks that our immigration policy should be based on a one for one exchange. We get to choose who goes. I like both those ideas very much and we’re open to other suggestions. But as a person with a graduate degree in rhetorical theory, and taking a totally non partisan approach to the statements yesterday, I look at what the President says and I want to run screaming into the streets for mercy. What does “Our policies should aim to strengthen families not undermine them,” mean? Let’s begin with defining our terms—that’s what we have to do when we analyze any rhetoric because meanings are in people, not in words.
How do we define policies or strengthen, or family? For example, in a medical dictionary it is defined as follows:
1 A group of blood relatives, especially parents and their children.
2 A taxonomic category of related organisms ranking below an order and above a genus.
Source: The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
In a legal dictionary it is :
1 : a group of individuals related by blood, marriage, or adoption
2 : a group of usually related individuals who live together under common household authority and esp. who have reciprocal duties to each other
NOTE: The interpretation of the word family in a law context depends upon the area of the law concerned (as contract or zoning law), the purpose of the document (as a statute or contract) in which it is used, and the facts of the case. Often for zoning purposes, the occupants of a group home are considered a family.
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law, © 1996 Merriam-Webster, Inc.
On the internet it is:
1: a social unit living together; "he moved his family to Virginia"; "It was a good Christian household"; "I waited until the whole house was asleep";
2. "the teacher asked how many people made up his home"? an association of people who share common beliefs or activities; "the message was addressed not just to employees but to every member of the company family.
Source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University
If you look for a definition of strengthen, it is defined as being stronger which is defined as:
1 Physically powerful; capable of exerting great physical force.
2 In good or sound health; robust: a strong constitution; a strong heart.
3 Economically or financially sound or thriving: a strong economy.
4 Having force of character, will, morality, or intelligence: a strong personality.
Combine any of those definitions with what the President said and then tell me how, by definition, gay marriage undermines anything – including organisms or employees. Here’s the bottom line. A social unit can be gay or straight, good or bad. By definition it has nothing to do with sexual orientation. Children should have loving parents who are in good health, physically powerful, economically solvent, and are intelligent and moral. We all know straight families who cannot fit that description. What the President said is exactly like what the schmuck who had 1000 conversations said. It sounds good, maybe even sensible on the surface, but when you take it apart it has nothing to do with any sense. A match does not a flame make, indeed. We’re just sayin…