Column by Loretta Redd
The term ‘head-banger’ was brought to us in 1969 when the entranced fans of Led Zeplin pounded their foreheads against the stage in beat with the deafening music. Today, I define ‘head-banger’ as a statement so ludicrous that it results in the desire to go to the closest wall or desk surface and do the same, even without a rhythmical beat.
A head-banger is hearing a Democrat say that the way to solve the debt is by spending more money. Or the Tea Party suggesting we solve gun violence by improving access to mental health (which many of them apparently need), at the same time trying to defund the Health Care Act which pays for psychological services. Maybe it’s politicians who refer to those not currently working as ‘takers,’ while at the same time, denying the right to work to those trying to find it.
Head-banger moments occur when ideology, passion and absurdity morph into pronouncement of an utterly inane statement used to justify some illogical belief or insecurity-driven fallacy.
On the fortieth anniversary of the seemingly unending Roe v Wade male-led battle giving women the unimpeded right to make their own pregnancy decisions, we have California’s Proposition 8 conservative lawyers utilizing a head-banger argument against gay marriage:
They claim that marriage “should be limited to unions of a man and a woman because they alone, can produce unplanned and unintended offspring.”
Follow me here, it only gets weirder. Washington attorney Charles Cooper believes it is reasonable for California to uphold ‘traditional’ marriage because same-sex couples “don’t present a threat of irresponsible procreation.” In fact, he argues, in order to have children, “substantial advance planning is required.”
And that’s a BAD thing?
So, same sex couples shouldn’t be allowed to marry, because they may plan a pregnancy with ‘intention?’ Which would be contrary to all of those UNintended, and often UNwanted children being born to married or unmarried heterosexual women, often because of religious, personal or legal challenges accessing birth control.
How’s your forehead feeling about now?
The larger issue at stake isn’t really gay marriage, gun ownership, immigration rights or control of a woman’s uterus. It is our governance based on increasingly blatant political contribution rather than personal conscience, and the absence of immediate consequence to those who carry out the legislative bidding of their PACs. For lawmakers, it seems first and foremost about keeping their livelihoods, rather than protecting ours.
The head-banging produced at the hands of intellectually dishonest, morally bankrupt and politically shortsighted party mouthpieces like Rush Limbaugh and elected officials on both sides of the aisle is nothing new and not likely to disappear any time soon.
But what is different, is the speed and veracity at which hateful, harmful or simply stupid statements are broadcast throughout the nation; exposing lawmakers and political machines to social judgment, more than ever, in real time.
Modern day ‘head-banger’ statements get global distribution and rapid critique. It is the new age of information sharing and the capacity to spread not only the inane, but the novel and workable solutions to our current social challenges that excites me.
Excedrin may become our National Prescription Medication for headache pain, but one day our government may again act based on what is best for the nation, rather than what is best for their reelection. In the meanwhile, bang on those keyboards, rather than the wall.