Michele the Allegory

5.14.2013

By Andrew Belonsky

Michele Bachmann teaches us that hate is not a sustainable political tactic.

Michele Bachmann once used the term "black robed masters" to describe the Iowa Supreme Court Justices who legalized marriage equality there. That was in 2011, when the U.S. Congresswoman was running for the White House, when her brand of homophobic fear-mongering was still somewhat in vogue. Her criticisms of the Iowa Justices, three of whom were later voted out, were part of a larger piece of political theater.

The bulk of Bachmann's career, since her 2000 election to the Minnesota State Senate to her 2006 ascension to her failed White House run, was built on tearing down marriage equality. Her claim to fame is a 2003 amendment to the Minnesota constitution that would have banned same-sex nuptials. She was so confident in her position that she vowed during her failed presidential campaign, in in one rhetorical breath, that she would constitutionally ban gay marriage while simultaneously preserving states' rights to choose. And that was one of her saner moments. Through the years Bachmann has said that being gay is being "part of satan," called being LGBT "personal bondage," and said that teachers telling students about homosexuality constitutes "child abuse." So, what did Bachmann have to say about news that her home state Minnesota became the 12th State to legalize marriage equality yesterday? Not much.

"I’m proud to have introduced the original traditional marriage amendment, and I thank all Minnesotans who have worked so hard on this issue." That's what she tweeted yesterday. It was mere hours after the vote but clearly light years away from reality. Her message reads as if she were somehow victorious, as if she had led a triumphant crusade. She was not; she did not. And of course Bachmann knows that, and knew that. Why else would the typically loquacious conservative have remained so eerily quiet throughout Minnesota's gay marriage debate? Maybe she was simply too busy building her argument against God, whom she claims was behind both 9/11 attacks, the one here in the states and the one last year on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi.

"It’s no secret that our nation may very well be experiencing the hand of judgment. It’s no secret that we all are concerned that our nation may be in a time of decline," she said at a prayer event last week. "We [must] repent of our sins, we turn away from them, we seek you, we seek your ways. That’s something that we’re doing today, that we did on the National Day of Prayer, it’s something that we have chosen to do as well on another landmark day later this year on September 11. Our nation has seen judgment not once but twice on September 11."

Warnings of democratic apocalypse and hands of judgement always imply gay marriage, but Bachmann didn't dare spell out g-a-y. That ship has sailed and as it fades into the sunset, so will Bachmann.

Bachmann, who won her most recent election by less than 4,300 votes, peaked during the apex of the right-wing's anti-gay marriage crusade and now she's falling back to earth. Marriage equality is becoming the new normal and Bachmann and company's hate-mongering has become a shadow of its former self. That's because just as the universe prefers order, democracy prefers inclusion. Divisiveness and loathing are not sustainable political tactics. None of this is to say we're heading into a completely perfect union — last week there were three separate anti-gay attacks in Manhattan, the birth place of the States' equality movement, — but we're headed in the right direction, and Bachmann, so intent on telling us we're wrong, is being left behind.

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