Deal’s veto less than commendable

Graphic by Darian Mathews | The Signal
Graphic by Darian Mathews  | The Signal
Graphic by Darian Mathews | The Signal

I have no idea why Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed the infamous Religious Liberty Bill but I’m glad he did. One for two, at least, counting that bull-headed Campus Carry one.

Also, I frankly don’t care why he vetoed it. Was he really opposed to “trying to enshrine discrimination into law” as Christian Science Monitor suggests? What were his true intentions, and moreover, who cares?

Could he have done it despite religious sympathies he might have had? Does it matter in the slightest? Does it matter if he was concerned about money that would supposedly be lost with Hollywood’s threat to boycott the bill?

Not really. I don’t think we need them throwing around money on their next junket here, and we certainly don’t need another superhero movie, thank you kindly.

No—all that’s important is that the bill is gone, at least for now. And, taking my apathy one step further, I don’t care that he’s lost favor with his fellow Republicans, either.

The point is, vetoing such a bill is not a commendable act. It’s an obvious act, a matter-of-course act; it’s an act as mundane and obvious as telling your friend it’s a bad idea to sell drugs.

All that’s been proved by this bill’s short life is that there are people who are still trying to pass blatantly discriminatory laws, as opposed to just effectively discriminatory laws like cocaine and crack sentencing before the Fair Sentencing Act, or explicitly discriminatory laws like North Carolina’s HB2.

There’s another crappy law in the works in the South, by the way. North Carolina’s HB2 is “bigger than what bathroom you can use,” according to NBC.

Of course, what they’re referring to is the backlash about the bill restricting transgender people from using whichever bathroom they want, but the bill also “undermines the ability of local and state authorities to define and protect discrimination in other arenas,” also according to NBC.

That it also allows for job discrimination based on sexual and gender orientation makes it similar to Georgia’s Religious Liberty bill.

So, this problem isn’t just a Georgia thing. It’s probably just a Southern discrimination-type thing. Well, as the old journalist said, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

I’m not going to give the pathetic counter-argument that “It’s 2016; why is this still a problem?” though the argument is worth mentioning. But simply saying the name of the year isn’t a valid position in favor of social change.

I can’t even think of what a better argument would be, because this whole controversy is just a simple matter of opinion as to whether one’s civic duty is more important than their religious duty and vice-versa, a controversy which can be argued to death with little hope of changing anyone’s mind.

So, all I can say is that I’m glad that Deal vetoed the bill. I’m glad in a small victory type of way. I’m glad in the same way I’m glad when someone standing in front of the doorway on MARTA said “excuse me” and lets me exit the train: I’m not overjoyed, just a little glad.

Because, while proposing and supporting this bill, whoever was involved were not thinking about any issue that actually mattered. They weren’t thinking seriously about the wellbeing of Georgia’s infrastructure or its citizens, and they weren’t concerning themselves with changing unfair laws. They were spending time coddling the “sincere religious beliefs” of business owners. To put it bluntly, they were wasting everyone’s time.

And they weren’t trying to help out cute mom-and-pop drug stores that sell peanut brittle and just want to pretend the good ol’ days are still in full swing. The bill “would have allowed taxpayer-funded government agencies—including adoption agencies, homeless shelters, and drug counseling centers—to refuse service to gay individuals and same-sex couples,” according to Slate.

All the same, don’t commend Deal just because he vetoed one bill. He vetoed 11 other bills last year for more banal reasons. Like I said before, it’s simply a matter of course.

I would think that people in office would have learned from the Civil Rights conflicts of the past century, and taken certain lessons from them, namely that no one deserves to be discriminated against because of the content of their character. This should be a given.

Also that, wherever possible, church should be kept as separate from state as humanly possible, and that law-makers and the state government inherently have the responsibility to look out for the
well-being of the average american citizen. But I guess I’m just an optimist.