Listen up, members of the Tucson City Council: When you next go to your respective place of worship--church, temple, mosque, happy hour--you should get down on your knees and thank God/Buddha/Allah/the bartender that I don't live in the city of Tucson, because if I did, I'd be starting a recall petition against all y'all, today!
Just a couple of days after announcing a citywide hiring freeze because of a severe budget crisis, you turn around and announce that you're going to give full benefits to people who are too cool, too lazy or too uncommitted to one another to get married. And at least one of you claims to have made that move based on "principle." You need to get one of the members of your bloated staff to look that word up for you.
First off, this has nothing to do with religion. If it did, it would be a slam dunk. But not everybody is religious, including a whole lot of people who claim to be.
This is nothing more than another example of a spoiled, selfish society. These are people who want something for nothing, gain without pain. They not only want to have their cake, and eat it, too; they want the government to serve it to them and clean up afterward.
I recently railed against Independent (with a capital "I") voters who want to meddle in party primaries. Why would somebody proclaim to the world that they are above something as petty as party politics, and then turn around and demand that they be allowed to participate in that which they profess to abhor? Make up your damn minds: Are you in, or are you out?
Several people, including an old coaching buddy, Brian Johnson, took me to task for the fact that tax dollars go to pay for primary elections. I agree completely; tax dollars should not pay for party primaries. The parties themselves should pay for them. We could rent the voting apparatus from the county and pay for it through donations. I wouldn't mind paying a dollar to vote in my party's primary, especially if doing so would allow us to keep all the high-minded Independents on the outside, looking in. Then they could look for another lame-ass rationale as to why they should be allowed to stick their noses where they don't belong.
Now we come to people who want to thumb their noses at society and convention (which is certainly their right), but only so long as it doesn't inconvenience them in any way. Hey, look at us! We're hip; we're unconventional; we're out there! We're living together, and we're not married! Aren't we cool?! But, in this one case, we want you to treat us like we're married so we can save on health insurance at public expense.
Hypocrites. That's what you are.
(It must be stated that this screed is not aimed at same-sex couples, who cannot legally marry at this place or time. Since they do not have the option of marriage, they should be afforded the same rights as married couples. That, Mr. Leal, is a matter of principle.)
The last time this nonsense came up, some guy wrote me this long letter about how his female companion was divorced ... blah, blah, blah ... and he was divorced ... blah, blah, blah ... and the insurance she had from her ex ... blah, blah, blah. I ran it through the BS filter, and it came out: "If we shack up instead of getting married, it's more money for us!" Wow, what a surprise! A selfish rationale.
This is the same as some jerk in a Hummer who sees the sign that says two lanes are going to merge into one somewhere down the road. Instead of getting over and getting in line, he steps on it, pretends not to have seen the sign and tries to cut in line at the front. Unfortunately, there's always some dumbass who lets him in. (That would be the City Council members in this example.)
But what if we didn't let him in? What if we stayed bumper to bumper and ignored his turn signal and the bumper of his vehicle as he tried to edge in, and even ignored his increasingly frantic and angry hand gestures and mouthed profanities? What if he had to wait until all of the people he had tried to cut in front of got to go before he could proceed? What if he had to wait so long that he realized that if he had merged when he first saw the sign, he'd be gone by now? Do you think that maybe--just maybe--he might get the message that he's not better than anybody else, that his crap does stink, and that most of us are willing (and even happy) to live under the precept that in order to get something, you have to give something? It's worth a try.
So, shame on you, Tucson City Council. The money you're going to squander on handouts for shack-ups could have put extra cops on the streets, or it could have fixed potholes or helped to balance the budget. Instead, you decided to facilitate the something-for-nothing whiners, and you've made our community a little bit more selfish in the process.