The state of politics in America has moved from respectively impolite, to ridiculously absurd, to relentlessly malicious, to savage. Billionaires are funding fools and busing them to "spontaneous" rallies, thugs are marching outside of political events carrying weapons because it is their "right," hate mongrels who would have followed Hitler to the gates of Hell if they had been born one or two generations earlier now get off on posing as long-suffering groups of oppressed white people or "taxpayers," doctors working in the field of women's health and reproductive rights are threatened with violence or bodily harm - or are killed, and sleazy politicians incite others into action against those with whom they disagree with symbols suggesting that violence might be a solution - such as gun sites - and then angrily deny any culpability when the inevitable finally occurs.
It is a mean business, a nasty business, and most politicians are totally preoccupied with stuffing their pockets with corporate cash so that they can be just as mean and nasty as everyone else. It is dog-eat-dog, it is viscous, and it is savage.
So here is a little story about how politics in America could work. Strangely, it involves a group of people who we once vilified as "savages" - the American Indian, the noble Red Man.
The Suquamish tribe is a very small group of native Americans who reside in the Puget Sound area of Washington state. It has approximately 1,050 members. They were having a tribal meeting recently with about a third of all tribal members in attendance. At some point during the meeting a young lady got up and moved that the tribe approve same-sex marriage. The measure passed on a voice vote - with no dissension. Later, at another meeting, the measure again passed without opposition.
Polite, dignified, no screaming or yelling, no bloated churches or billionaires showing up with sacks full of money and hearts full of hate trying to bully or bribe their point of view to the forefront of the discussion.
The "savages" of the Puget Sound area are almost painfully civil.
One theory is that people who have been oppressed their whole lives, and indeed for generations, may not be so quick to try and oppress others, though that isn't a universal truism because many Christian churches with predominately black membership seem prone to oppose civil rights for gays. But that likely has more to do with the unhealthy influences of the religion more than anything else.
Another theory on the occurrence of this particular piece of political civility is that Native Americans have traditionally viewed gay people as heightened spiritual beings who have a transitional role in their culture. Today they are sometimes referred to by the Indians as "two-spirit" people. They are viewed with respect rather than ridicule or hatred.
Yet a third theory behind the civility of the Suquamish is that they have been raised better than the rest of us. They have been taught to respect differences rather than to try and stomp them out. They value diversity with the same intensity as others value money and power.
And now, at least in the Suquamish tribe, gay couples have the right to marry - and that right has been granted and blessed by their community.
Sanity survives, if only in the smallest and most remote of communities. The Suquamish serve as a proud example of how politics could work - one tiny light in the great American morass of moneyed politics and choreographed hate. They deserve our attention, and our respect.