Unprecedented. Will this be the end to denial of World War II atrocities (which, admittedly, is rampant in the West, where we insist we did nothing because we were the “good guys”), ama kurari, corporatism (a mix of evil mercantilism with just enough capitalism to shut up all the people who should really oppose it), environmental destruction and unequal rights? Japanese people have a love for nature that is beyond what we typically see in the West, yet the admittedly strong environmentalist movement hasn’t had enough affect on the actual political institutions.
I would love to see an opinion poll on this, but I have yet to see any, but when I went around interviewing young Japanese people, they all seemed to be for gay marriage and even ridiculed us Americans for letting religion into politics (which they don’t do, even though the Sokka Gakkai has its own party). Of course, they were stumped when I asked them why they don’t have gay marriage.. well, with an openly post-op transsexual congresswoman who has been reelected, the progressive party (relatively speaking, which unfortunately doesn’t say much… at least one of the parties under their fold are progressive) in power, and a long tradition of not being morally opposed to homosexuality, I think Japan may do what many of my Japanese friends and my wife insist are impossible any time soon and legalize gay marriage.
There is also the issue of Ama Kudari (天下り), where corrupt politicians funnel public funds into some pointless project that makes some company a lot of money, then retire from politics to have a “job” at that company where they do nothing and get the kickback for their “service” to the company. Is not this corporatism at it’s ugliest, a perfect example of the “parasitic” class? Well, this is one practice the Democratic Party promised to put an end to. Here’s hoping this puts an end to Japan’s stagnation. No political party or alliance should hold on power as long as the LDP has, its results being obvious.
You’ve probably heard all the post-mortems.. so far, most of the ones I have seen have missed some obvious and important points. We know that the No on 8 campaign waged an unsophisticated war, talking only to the cerebrum in typical liberal fashion and not fully answering the more outrageous claims made by the opposition. But what really was the head-water to a campaign failing to stop something that appeared sure to fail from passing? They played it too safe, that’s what.
It’s well-known that gays give most people the heebie-geebies. That’s the true cause of most opposition to same-sex marriage (the theological excuse is created ex-post-facto). Knowing this, the campaign decided not to mention or ever even show anything about gays or same-sex couples. Big mistake. The opposition showed children (sleazy, sleazy, sleazy) and raised fears that children would be hurt. Only by showing actual humans whose lives will be affected negatively could the anti-8 people have won. Showing gays would have been risky, but the alternative, relying only on logically sound but emotionally uninspired arguments (“no one’s rights should be taken away”), could not possibly have succeeded. If you want to see how an emotional campaign could have worked, please see letcaliforniaring.org. Yes, it was in magazines, but did the official campaign put anything like that on TV? no. Do the gays and lesbians in those ads repulse you? I don’t think so. And even if they do, I’m certain you feel for them and see why the word “marriage” just might be important to them.
The other way they played it too safe is by not answering the claims made by the yes on 8 camp fully. Doing so would raise other issues and possibly alienate some people. But yet again, not making the risk was a mistake. The only faction that matters is people in the middle. Alienating extreme religious conservatives with arguments like “religion should not rule” should be considered a non-issue. Indeed, Americans’ fear of religious extremism could’ve been played, had they not played it safe… The yes on 8 campaign raised fear that gay marriage would be taught in school. You know, school is there to teach tolerance and naturally is not going to teach sex (gay marriage is no more an adult subject than straight marriage…children do understand attraction!) The no on 8 camp could not say any of these obvious rebuttals. Why? Because they naïvely thought they could get the votes of people who believe schools should not teach tolerance. Foolish!
The safe path was “no matter how you feel about marriage…”, which is logical. However, it is clear that people who feel gay marriage is immoral will vote against it. The populous, sadly, doesn’t grasp basic libertarian principles. So, the only way is to shoot the moon and try to change people’s hearts, not just their minds. Here’s hoping that gay rights becomes the rare civil rights issue that can be won at the polls (next time), rather than relying on judges to slap the people’s wrist and say “no, that’s a bad American people. stop taking your own rights away.”