Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Random Notes, January 2013
It's been much too long since I've commented on current events:
+ If you follow what's going on down in Springfield, chances are you won't hear much about anything besides measures to legalize gay marriage. Even though same-sex civil unions have been legal in Illinois for about 18 months ago, full marital rights are now at stake. We're far from being the first state to debate the topic, but we might be first where there is support from Democrats and Republicans. The armchair conservatives that densely populate the Chicago suburbs are warming up to the idea, and GOP support in central IL and downstate has been more indifferent than opposed. Strangely, only a smattering of religious conservatives are voicing their dissent.
The Illinois GOP is still in relative disarray since George Ryan's ignoble term as governor ended ten years ago, but at least they're (almost) on the same page about something, and for a decidedly "liberal" cause, no less. The core of the state Republican Party is relatively moderate; outside of one-term wonder Joe Walsh, the Tea Party hasn't found much footing in the Land of Lincoln. On the other hand, this is the same Illinois GOP that couldn't beat Rod Blagojevich for the governor's seat... twice. It's a weird mix of kowtowing, populist fervor, and just being sensible.
+ The majority of gun owners in America are not loners, lunatics or sociopaths. Sadly, it's that lunatic and sociopath minority that continue to gobble up headlines and alter the course of gun control in the United States. We can't overlook the hubris and lack of preventative measures by lobbies like the National Rifle Association that keep dragging out the second amendment debate what seems like every three months or so. You can make the argument that gun control doesn't work, but at the time there has to be some type of regulation. Governor Cuomo's new legislation in New York state is strict and well-meaning, but could backfire easily. In short, in the wake of Aurora and Newtown, the gun debate is just as complicated and irresolute as ever.
+ Finally, as happy as I am that the NHL is back in action, it's too little too late. The league and the players' union have been at loggerheads for so long that neither party came out of the lockout a winner. Simply put, the players are overpaid and the owners are greedy, and both share a virulent streak of narcissism. I fear that the damage now is irreversible, that one more labor dispute will just kill the sport in North American altogether, that no PR spin can sustain any further damage. Just shut up and play.