Why TEA Is Bigger Than DADT
Before people vote next week, I’d like to remind them that Chris Christie just killed the ARC project for the second time in two weeks. (Meanwhile, Bob McDonnell’s AG is suing for Virginia’s right to lie about climate change so he can do to our shoreline what Louisiana did to theirs, but that’s a topic for a different post.)
He cannot possibly think stranding tens of millions of daily and weekly commuters, or relegating them to Tokyo rush-hour crush-loads in and out of New York, is a good idea. He may want to spend the $3 billion federal match on expanding the New Jersey Turnpike into non-Euclidean dimensions (because apparently 16 lanes just aren’t enough) – but he’s not going to get it, and if he thinks he would get it, he’s deluding himself. In fact, USDOT is just as likely to make him pay twice that in penalties (because apparently Ray LaHood is the only member of the administration with balls).
The only possible rational explanation is that he’s a solipsistic prick who gambles with the productivity and mobility of tens if not hundreds of millions of people in order to spite his own constituency so he can tell that stupid story about “the money tree” on TV again – it’s his Shania mayonnaise story, something he regurgitates like a bad artificial intelligence trying to appear human. In this case he’s trying to appear human to Teabaggers – who hate everyone in the state he claims to govern and only like New Yorkers when they have the decency to die horribly in a politically convenient fashion – and to Sarah Palin, who might consider him as a running mate, hates his constituents almost as much as he does, and cannot be kept from the presidency because this time, unlike in 2008, she has no one to reign her in when she goes on the campaign trail and exhorts her followers to kill.
All of my friends are wondering why I’m angrier about this than I am about DADT, or DOMA, or any of the other somewhat disheartening gay news that’s come out recently. (I’ll admit partly I’m upset about the ablist medicalization of my deference on the issue: people have the temerity to question my priorities by way of treating my outrage like a neurotic splinter fixation, usually followed by a bunch of crap about autism from people who don’t have it, and then asking me why I’m upset.) I am much more upset about ARC than I could ever be about any particular queer legal issue because petty idiots are bit by bit destroying things that can never be remade.
I am entirely, painfully, and intimately aware of the various indignities and inequalities sexual minorities face daily in the United States, but no one particular legal solution to those will have multi-generational consequences like infrastructure does. No particular legal inequality we experience has the potential to oppress entire nations using the inexorable dynamics of space like these decisions do. And even if Barack Obama were born sitting on a lavender crystal dildo that gave him the fabulous magical powers to usher in immediate legalization of marriage for [heteronormative, non-polyamorous] gay couples everywhere, and to let every “fit” member of a sexual minority participate in the military-industrial complex, that complex would still be focused on corrupt, heinous acts designed to procure resources to maintain a wasteful spatial infrastructure that is crumbling all around us. We would all still be trapped by our genuinely oppressive and alienating physical spaces, by the incredible pettiness whereby we dream of meeting even the minimal standards of our economic competitors – who we aren’t even willing to meet on quality, much less exceed it, while they build 300-mph rail links across supercontinents and we aren’t even willing to commit to half that. Equality is cheap when we’re not even willing to challenge the equality status of or commit to parity with places that subsist on slave labor, much less, I dunno, actually excel.
What’s more is that, unlike preventing or undoing permanent damage to our infrastructure, the legal status of many queer Americans can change immediately. Decisions moving us towards a modicum of legal equality could be implemented tomorrow at little expense. Not investing in what’s become the most basic infrastructure for developed countries means the retroactive obliteration of economic justice for generations of people. It means that the lost secrets of the ancient Americans, as Tim Kreider put it – the mysterious people who in a forgotten time rebuilt continents and may have even attempted spaceflight – slip further and further from our memory, our consciousness, and our understanding.
There is a future and then there is the future. There is a difference between not caring about the former and failing to grasp the latter, and outright contempt for the former while sacrificing the latter to the flames of Moloch. It’s a contemptible difference to be sure, but people ask why I seem to worry about one more than the other?