For one day only, public policy makers seem to behaving somewhat rationally.
First, on yesterday's "This Week" ABC news program, we heard GOP strategist Karl Rove say that he can imagine the next Republican presidential candidate supporting gay marriage. Now, Karl Rove (former adviser to George W. Bush) is such an evil little troglodyte that your immediate thought must be to wonder at what his secret agenda is, exactly. You can imagine him saying audacious things simply to ignite a firestorm of conservative indignation, for example. But for the sake of graciousness, let's just imagine that this represents a bit of intelligence making its presence felt within the conservative right wing.
Then, and most encouraging for me, was a local state case in which Administrative Law judge Barbara Nielson ruled in favor of the Minnesota Department of Education in upholding the Department of Education's curriculum guidelines for social studies in public schools.
A group call Education Liberty Watch (along with a group of Republican legislators) had filed suit, arguing that the Department of education had ignored the concept of "American exceptionalism", removed the role of God-given rights, and called the US a 'democracy' rather than a 'republic' at the core of its social studies curriculum. Judge Nielsen did not find these arguments to have merit.
(By the way, Education Liberty Watch is the Minnesota equivalent of those groups in places like Texas and Mississippi who have successfully forced schools into teaching evolution as merely a theory that offers a different, unproven alternative to the REAL truth of 'intelligent design'. Minnesota, too, has some folks out there on the fringe.)
At the heart of the argument for our Minnesota group is their belief that Americans somehow enjoy special blessings from God Above, causing Him to favor our form of government above all others. Secondly, they find something sacrilegious in the curriculum saying that our rights are bestowed by citizen agreement, not by God. The reason for the group's last dispute—that calling our form of government a democracy rather than a republic is sinister—is less clear. Perhaps it simply had to do with panicky fear of anything that represents change of any kind.
A Minnesota judge, at last, recognized insanity when it showed itself openly, and ruled in favor of logic. The Minnesota Department of Education, she said, had indeed weighed all points of view and opinions, and had selected its curriculum in a way that was logical and reasonable. It was a nice way of saying "go away, nut-cases."
It's a very safe bet to assume our policy makers will continue to make me fume in the near future. So all the more reason to celebrate small blessings when you can.