Civil rights issues are like a bad pimple. They fill up with more and more pus and vitriol until finally it rises to a head and bursts. The Greensboro Four were one example, taking a stand against unspoken civil injustice. In that case, Woolworth's was the first battleground in that war for equality.
Now we face a new war for equality, and again it is an eating establishment that is at the forefront. However, this controversy has exposed more than simply a battle for equal rights based on sexuality; it has exposed an ongoing battle against rational thought and equal protection under law for all citizens of this nation.
Time and again I have heard Republicans insult gays and Liberals, calling them hypocrites for exercising their own right to freedom of speech. They parade the mayors of Chicago and Boston up and down, ignoring the many civil cases in the South where people are fired based on their political leanings.
Emmanuel Kant codified his categorical imperative after the Christian "golden rule": do unto others as you would have done unto you. In Kant's case, the entirety of his primary philosophical conceit was that morality is universal. If you wouldn't want someone else cheating on a test, or stealing from you, or murdering you, you shouldn't steal or cheat or murder. Other people's leanings were irrelevant. For example, the categorical imperative did not say that you were allowed to stop other people from eating foods they liked just because you don't like them, because you wouldn't want somebody stopping you from eating the food you like, right?
This applies not only to marriage equality but to this nation as a whole. Conservatives think that the law should apply only to them. When the government tries to create jobs it's a handout, yet when a business receives hefty governmental aid it's capitalism at its finest.
When Conservatives boycott stores or campaign to strip citizens of their rights, that's supposed to be protected under law. When Liberals boycott stores and campaign to ensure equal rights for all, somehow that's unconstitutional.
This, I believe, is the greatest issue facing Americans today: the idea that one way of thinking is the only true way, that only one group of people are allowed to get away with amoral and blatantly evil actions while the rest of us are supposed to abide by law.
It can be seen in other arenas besides the civil rights debate: Harry Reid has recently called out Mitt Romney, citing a currently anonymous source within Bain Capital that Romney has paid no federal taxes for at least a decade. Romney fired back at Reid to "put up or shut up," saying that he has paid taxes and that America should trust him.
Trust him, really? When Romney campaigned for Massachusetts he not only demanded that his opponent show her tax returns - which she did - but also her husband's tax returns, on the grounds that there could be fraud. Meanwhile neither Willard nor Ann Romney released any of their tax returns.
Conservatives panic whenever a church is discredited, riot if a church's rights are threatened, and decry any pedophiles or other criminals within the Church as not representative of the entirety of the Church. Yet when a Jew or Muslim steps anywhere out of line it is somehow evidence that their entire religion is corrupt and evil.
A wise pastor once said that we cannot categorically define good and evil, that God and Satan are abstract ideals and we cannot simply look at a person's actions to know their heart. While I agree, I do believe that right and wrong - on a moralistic level - are nowhere near so abstract. Certainly one can do the right things for the wrong reasons and vice versa, but determining the merit of an action is much easier than determining the morals of a person.
In this case, with blatant hypocrisy and the insistence that they don't have to abide by their own laws, principles and talking points, Conservatives are certainly proving that, while we might not be able to judge their souls, their actions are certainly heavily slanted toward the Dark Side.