Archive - Oct 7, 2013

Moron Spite

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Memo to spite-based governance: YOU ARE DUMB.

You might think I'm going to keep talking about the government shutdown some more. And to be sure, there is a certain element of spite involved in the shutdown. There are elements of a lot of things involved in the shutdown, and spite was a big part of at least the motivation for the shutdown.

But true political spite goes farther than that. True political spite is almost exclusively the purview of the right. Not because the left is immune to it, mind you. While the sociopathic lack of empathy required for true political spite has a correlative and probably causative relationship with conservatism, pettiness is a universal human trait.

No, it's that left-wing politics are the only politics that create the environment under which proper political spite can take place. Because proper political spite requires taking petty political vengeance out on the beneficiaries of a policy you disagree with, and the beneficiaries of right-wing politics are almost always immune from petty retribution because they're rich, powerful, or both.

Gay marriage doesn't benefit the rich and powerful. It just benefits people. Gay people and their families and friends and loved ones. Gay marriage is also in a state of flux, recognized differently in different jurisdictions. Which makes it a perfect storm for political spite, a Petri dish filled with a growth medium that only assholes love.

And two of the highest asshole concentrations in the country can be found in Oklahoma and Tennessee.

In Oklahoma, the governor has stepped in to prevent the horrific crime of his state's National Guard members being able to receive federal same-sex marriage benefits extended by the Pentagon after the recent court defeat of DOMA. Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana have done the same, surprising nobody.

And the best part? They can't even actually deny the benefits. They can just refuse to process them and force same-sex-married military personnel in the state to apply for their benefits in federal facilities, not state ones. At least until and unless the Pentagon tells them to stop it. They're just making people jump through hoops because they disagree with the policy and lost. Spite.

But for spite innovation, you can't beat Tennessee. You go and you get married in another state and you decide to take your husband or wife's name. Not a custom I'm a fan of, but people do it and it doesn't harm anyone. So you change your name and it's changed on your Social Security card and it's changed on your taxes and it's changed in a bunch of places.

And then you go to the Tennessee DMV, which is, just by its inherent nature, its own circle of hell, and you ask to get your new name on your driver's license, and they tell you to fuck off, we don't do that for homos. Not in so many words, of course. Well, not of course. This is Tennessee. So we just have to hope not.

Again, they can still drive. They can still be married. They just don't get this tiny perk, because Tennessee just can't accept any gay marriage leaking into their pristine, stupid state. Pure, unmitigated spite. The good news: it only happens to you when you're winning. The bad news: it still fucking happens to you.