Quick question: How many cell-phone chargers are there in your home? If you're like most people these days, you've got a few surplus ones lying at the bottom of a drawer. You can't use them, because they only fit a phone you no longer have. But it somehow seems wrong to just toss them in a landfill. Wouldn't it make sense for every phone to use the same kind of charger?
It could be that way, if only we lived under one-world government, which they almost do in Europe, as Ars Technica tells us:
White House senior political adviser David Axelrod. (Flickr/Talk Radio News)
When Judge Vaughn Walker ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the case challenging California's Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex marriage in the state, plenty of people predicted Democrats would feel a backlash this fall. After all, many believe the events of 2003 and 2004 -- when the Massachusetts Supreme Court declared that gays be allowed to marry in the state, and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome started issuing marriage licenses to gay couples -- helped George W. Bush win re-election by mobilizing conservatives to vote for state bans on gay marriage.
Ross Douthat's job as a New York Times columnist, like that of his colleague David Brooks, is basically to be a conservative liberals will listen to. Douthat is famously conflicted about same-sex marriage; he's opposed to it, but he has trouble articulating exactly why in a way that doesn't come down to religious dogma.
One of the arguments conservatives have made in their criticism of the Prop. 8 decision (see here, for instance) is that, according to some reports, trial judge Vaughn Walker himself is gay, which obviously means he can't be impartial in this matter. But this has uncovered a problem that could lead to a serous legal stalemate.
When Barack Obama ran for president in 2008, he said, in ways both explicit and implicit, that we could transcend what divided us -- our racial, religious, geographic, or political differences -- and unite in a common national purpose. This rubbed some people the wrong way. Some found it naïve, some even found it cynical.
But whatever else you might say about all that happy talk, even conservatives would have to admit that it appealed to our better natures. We'd all like to believe that even if it doesn't happen very often, we should aspire to find our commonalities, allow our diversity to make us a stronger country, and treat each other with respect even when we disagree. Don’t we believe that?