So, I’m still on the run…or on vacation, as some people call it.
Morning coffee…cigarette…all good to go – until I spilled that hot coffee on my bare foot, causing me to drop my cigarette in the folds of my cat pyjamas. The fire was a threat to spread to the newpaper I was reading, those heartless black and white symbols of progress and knowledge all going up in smoke? Not on my watch ! I should know betterthan to read the news – I should KNOW better !
Yelping for my wife in my usual exaggerated, animated, over-reactive manner, she didn’t know whether to respond to a flood, a forest fire, a visit from a deity, or just go back to bed – which is often her most sensible choice, and she can be sensible. Despite all that, she rushed to the front deck, carrying a glass of cold water – which she doused my lap with…thanks, hon ! – then tossed a towel at me, then gave me her best scowl, disappointed there was no true emergency, since they usually suggest degrees of her superiority to me in such situations. But, I was engrossed in the news of the day, and the reason for my latest morning histrionics was a bit of breaking news, and dysfunction from my adopted country, Costa Rica. Try this on for size:
Costa Rica: Conservative lawmakers are mortified that they may have accidentally approved language making same-sex unions legal when they passed legislation this week and didn”t notice that the final version of the bill had changed earlier language that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. President Laura Chinchilla signed the bill late Thursday. She has refused to veto the bill.
I do love these fumbling, bumbling attempts to restrict the private lives of human beings…they never seem to work out just right. And, before anyone in some industrialized, “First World” country gets too puffed up about how screwed up those political posers in so-called “Third World” countries can get while trying to imitate the streamlined, well-oiled legislative processes of their betters, STOP ! I used to live in Ohio, the Mississippi of the North, as I’ve heard a few people call it. It will always be the Buckle of the Rust Belt to me…but I am getting away from my purpose.
I survived Ohio for fourteen years, finishing a sort of education and teaching at a university there. I was going to get married at one point, before I discovered it was illegal for me to do so….and it wasn’t because of my sexual preferences.
I was – and still am – an epileptic. My kind has a history with the conservative, uber religious set as being spawn of the devil, a danger to the pure gene pool. Really…I’m not joking. Religious influence in early law-making labeled epileptics as “spawn of the devil” and “marked by the beast as his” and were gently – sometimes not so gently – encouraged to not breed.
(These dim wits thought forbidding undesirables the right to marry would keep them from reproducing…”who you calling imbecile, imbecile?”). I guess I haven’t got to the part about imbeciles and marriage yet, so, maybe I should…here:
In the stilted view of Ohio lawmakers of yore I was bunched in with a class of humans to be banned from that most public of pools, humans such as habitual drunkards, epileptics, imbeciles, or the insane. These laws were pushed into being by eugenicists…conservative crusaders whose agenda was to cleanse their world of racial characteristics they thought unnecessary, and encourage those they thought needed preserving. This marriage law forbidding licenses to unapproved persons was passed in 1904, and came into question during a 1925 push to ban interracial marriage. Sterilization was a proposal included in cases such as these.
Sterilization and culling the herd using medical practices and procedures…proposed by conservatives? Ohhhh, there are so many plot twists and twirling, swirling storylines in this Work in Progress most people refer to as the World.
Most of this nonsense was kicked around or ignored until it was repealed in a more sober moment. Epilepsy was forgotten in the debate. There has never been much of an Equal Rights for Injured Epileptics (ERIE) movement, and Che Guevara never made it far enough north to incite the social outrage and encourage the necessary civil disobedience that Henry David Thoreau did in his landmark work, Civil Disobedience. I guess Thoreau didn’t excite people the way Guevara did…or the CIA was too lax to murder him when they had the chance. (I jest…there was no CIA back then – hence, Thoreau and his kind).
Speaking of a lack of sobriety, political screw-ups, and Ohio – which are three topics nearly anyone can gracefully incorporate into any sentence, and, I think, belong in a special knowledge-base tested for in the public school system since the No Child Left Behind disaster – listen to this: Ohio was not truly a state until 1953 ! It was another governmental clerical error, one on a much larger scale than Costa Rican lawmakers could ever imagine.
Thomas Jefferson signed an act of Congress in February of 1803 that approved Ohio’s state boundaries and constitution. The debate over the sensibility of statehood had been carried out in a tavern…whatever…more heinous crimes have been hatched in kitchens, garages, boardrooms and Senate chambers. Any Way…Some How, Congress never passed a resolution formally admitting Ohio as the 17th state. The paperwork was misplaced during the excitement over the Lousiana Purchase and the War of 1812.
The rules for such recognition changed in 1812, during that excitement over the Louisiana Purchase and the War of 1812, and the oversight was not discovered until 1953. Ohio congressman George H. Bender frantically introduced a bill in Congress to admit Ohio to the Union, since the state was in the process of arranging for the 150 year anniversary of their statehood – or non-statehood, as was the official case. Anticipating inquiries, outrage, and paperwork problems concerning taxes paid to the Federal Government, relatives killed in wars, prison sentences served, and other such rewards and/or penalties of statehood, Ohio’s formal admission to the Union was made retroactive to March 1, 1803. The new petition for statehood was delivered to Washington D.C. on horseback.
(I have neighbors in Costa Rica who, until fifteen years ago, got their power bills delivered by horsemen).
President Dwight D. Eisenhower postponed his usual tee time on August 7, 1953, and scrawled his signature across the dotted line at the bottom of the bill…and Ohio’s anniversary plans went on as planned.
My answer to this sort of nonsense is, pour another cuppa coffee – Costa Rican only…light another Cowboy Killer, rearrange the sodden pages of the neighbors’ newspaper before I put it back into the plastic covering and replace it on their porch, and just carry on with the more mundane and managable aspects of life. But, I hear rumblings from the locals…tales of sneaky legislation trying to regulate the pursuit if happiness, pertaining to others only, of course – others those regulators don’t know. I hear Ohio is still a state, and I guess there’s nothing I can do about that. So…I guess the boat floats, for the moment. Be back soon….