Last week, the first-act conflict of Broadway standout Next Fall became moot, when President Obama ordered hospitals to extend to same-sex couples the same basic courtesy enjoyed by traditional couples: the right to visit your spouse in the hospital. It’s about the most uncontroversial decision imaginable: who could deny someone the right to visit the love of their life, even if they don’t approve of their love?
Actually, the article agrees at the outset with the premise of the right, but disagrees with its assertion, characterizing it as an abuse of federal power, and a twisting of discretionary funding towards social aims (“Barack Obama Will Decide Who Visits You In the Hospital”).
Fine. There’s something to that. But this is a costless change in policy. It literally hurts no-one, except those who feel some indefinable tear in the moral fabric of their country whenever someone different from them is happy. The order does nothing more than ask hospitals to acknowledge what the wishes of an incapacitated patient would be. It opens a previously closed option, which RedState reads as a requirement that the new option be exercised.
This doesn’t make much sense, but it’s a growing rhetorical strategy on the right: characterize options as requirements, or choice as mandate. Just so, the public option became, for all rhetorical purposes, a single-payer system. And, when arguing against gay marriage, we never hear about the individual couples, but about how the way others live their rights means you’re legally required to accept it. That’s not how the law works.
It’s obviously also an incredibly self centered way of looking at the world, and one at odds with our history (“Oh, so now we’re free from England… so you’re saying we have to govern ourselves!??! Fascists!“). But it’s probably the only way to argue against freedom.