Since the Supreme Court officially legalized same-sex marriage, there’s been an absurd amount of rhetoric coming from those on the right who seem to think God’s wrath – and the complete collapse of human civilization – is imminent. One of the big phrases being used by many of these people, seemingly in an attempt to sound less like religious zealots and more like “patriots,” has been that this is an attack on “traditional Americans.”
Now, to be honest, I have no clue what a “traditional American” is. Knowing the demographic to which Republicans pander, I’m guessing their definition of a “traditional American” is a straight, white Christian.
Well, on Monday night’s episode of The Factor, Bill O’Reilly went off on Stephen Colbert for supposedly “alienating traditional Americans” by mocking Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s remarks on same-sex marriage.
“In a few months, Colbert will be competing against Fallon and Kimmel, both talented and successful guys,” O’Reilly said. “He might want to think about alienating traditional Americans to the extent he has. It could be very bad for business.”
He also went on to say, “There’s obviously nothing in the Constitution that allows for the redefinition of marriage.”
While the responses have differed slightly, this is typically the tone I’ve been hearing from many of those “outraged” over the fact that marriage equality has arrived in the United States – especially from Fox News personalities and guests.
So I thought I’d directly address these people to let them know how idiotic these claims have been.
First, there’s no such thing as a “traditional American” – and there never has been. The one “tradition” this country has had since its inception has been that we’re almost always in a constant state of evolution and progress. Over 150 years ago, slavery was a “tradition” in this country – thankfully we abolished that. Once upon a time denying women the right to vote was a “tradition” that was eliminated with the Nineteenth Amendment. Then for nearly a century segregation was seen as an “American tradition” in the South, which was done away with when we passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Even today we’re still battling the “tradition” of treating women as secondary to men in the workplace.
Besides, on the topic of same-sex marriage, nearly two-thirds of Americans support it. Therefore, if by “traditional American” you mean those who oppose allowing gay Americans to get married, you’re part of a rapidly shrinking minority – not the majority.
Now, as far as O’Reilly’s comments about the Constitution and the “redefinition of marriage,” correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t define marriage at all. So, how can the Constitution not “allow for the redefinition” of something that it doesn’t define to begin with?
However, what the Constitution does allow for is our Supreme Court (you know, our third branch of government) to interpret our Constitution and our laws – which is exactly what it did when it ruled bans on same-sex marriage violate the Fourteenth Amendment giving every American equal protection under our laws.
But the bottom line is, this rhetoric you use about “traditional Americans” is just a myth. This country has always been about diversity. From California to New York, down to Florida and back across to Texas, the only “tradition” we really have is that we’re all Americans and that our rights are given to us by the Constitution – equally.
The biggest issue with all of you all is that for generations conservatives (especially in the South) have historically been the ones who’ve tried feverishly to deny certain Americans their rights. So, I guess if there’s one tradition that’s often linked to you so-called “traditional Americans,” it’s that you always end up on the wrong side of history.
Dear Bill O’Reilly: There’s Something You Should Really Know About ‘Traditional Americans’