Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Up From Insignificance?

I'm not sure whether I am ready to recant the claim I made earlier this month:

Lady Gaga has never been anything more than an artifact of the whole viral promotion process.

However, even if she is such an artifact, I now feel far more favorably inclined towards her than I do towards Ashley Alexandra Dupré, with whom I compared her in my "Virus and Insignificance" piece. The actions she has taken in the name of gay rights indicate that she values at least one thing as much as selling records; and, for all I know, gay rights is the higher value being served by the artifact she created, recognizing that the artifact will communicate with a more convincing voice than whatever her "real" persona may express.

At the very least she has caught the attention of John Nichols, who maintains a blog, The Beat, on the Web site of The Nation. Nichols' latest post this morning saw fit to document the words from her speech to a rally in Portland, Maine:

Should the military be allowed to treat Constitutional rights like a cafeteria? In the military, is it acceptable to be a cafeteria American? What I mean to say is, should soldiers and the government be able to pick and choose what we are fighting for in the Constitution or who we are fighting for? I wasn't aware of this ambiguity in our Constitution. I thought the Constitution was ultimate. I thought equality was non-negotiable.

The rally concerns the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," an initiative being pursued by Senate Democratic leaders. The problem, of course, is that even the possibility of debate is likely to be blocked by a Republican filibuster; and Arizona Senator John McCain has already promised to lead that filibuster move. This is precisely the sort of pettiness that I discussed yesterday (with a little help from Friedrich Nietzsche) for its capacity to cripple the very functioning of government. Lady Gaga took her fight to Portland because any hope of getting governance back on track will require Republican support. As Nichols observed, Maine has two senators who could make a significant difference:

The two key Republican votes are those of Maine Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both moderates who know the law has been abused and that it has driven good soldiers out of the military.

The voters of the state of Maine may thus well be in a position to determine whether their elected representatives will choose the productive functioning of legislative debate over petty adherence to partisan ideology (assume, that is, that both of these senators pay more attention to their constituents than to the "enforcers" of Republican Party leadership). If Lady Gaga has motivated those voters to take a stand and let that stand be known to both of their senators, then any cavil I may have about the source of that motivation being a calculated artifact may have less significance than the artifact itself.

No comments: