We look back through more than 50 years of struggle to a time when our racial discrimination lived in the sunlight, without shame. Parents and grandparents tell wide-eyed kids about the days when Black people couldn't drink out of the same water fountains as everyone else, about Rosa Parks being too tired to move to the back of a bus.
Imagine 2056: Remember when the president was calling for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage? We'll shake our heads in amazement—I hope.
It's a political plaything, the toy some conservatives bring out when they're facing tough elections. President Bush used it to garner votes in 2004, and he dusted it off again on June 5 as Republicans throughout the country kicked off their campaigns for seats in Congress. For a party that typically advocates for less government intrusion into our private lives, especially on a federal level, the hypocrisy is astonishing.
Still, the issue is more than a talking point for some. For the more than 100 people standing in line at the Sandoval County Clerk's Office at 4 p.m. on Feb. 20, 2004 when Attorney General Patricia Madrid phoned in to say those marriage licenses they were issuing to same-sex couples weren't valid, it was most certainly not a toy. For my mothers-in-law, celebrating 20 years of unofficial matrimony this year, it's not a political game. Every time Bush nudges Congress toward tinkering with the Constitution—a document, I might add, that we've been cleansing of discrimination for a couple hundred years—it gets scary.
Remember when the president, against the foundational ideology of his party, attempted to limit Americans' freedoms according to his personal, religious belief system? Remember when the Senate rustled up 48 votes in support of such a dangerous constitutional amendment? Remember that? That wasn't 50 or even two years ago. That was 2006.