With the economy still struggling, what has occupied the media lately? Gay marriage and mosque location are two examples.

The gay marriage issue is puzzling. Research says the majority of Americans disapproves of same sex marriage. But research also says the majority does approve of “civil unions” between people of the same sex. Functionally, it’s hard to see why.

The purpose of civil unions is to give gays exactly the same rights as straights, thus obeying the “equal protection” clause of the U.S. Constitution. So if civil unions must confer exactly the same rights as marriages, what’s the problem? A marriage, which can be conducted in City Hall by a Justice of the Peace, literally is a civil union. So, if the only difference between marriage and civil union is the name, why all the passion? Puzzling.

Then there is the proposed mosque near ground zero. Also puzzling. Some people say it’s insensitive to build a mosque close to the site of that terrorist action.

President Obama, who has a propensity for opining on local matters (Remember Henry Louis Gates?) said, “Let me be clear: as a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable.”

He’s correct, of course, though he began to hem and haw the next day. But for argument sake, let’s say he was wrong. The question then becomes: What is the approved-sensitivity mosque distance from ground zero? 1 city block? 2 blocks? 4 blocks? 8 blocks? 5 miles? 500 miles? Nowhere in the U.S.? Nowhere?

And then, there’s the Pentagon to consider.

What’s your opinion?

Ultimately, I expect the economy to be the key election issue. Meanwhile, politicians will squirm and twist to stay on the “correct side” of every issue, no matter how silly. They believe the voting public is stupid, shallow and emotional – easily swayed by the latest “big thing.”

Are they correct?

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

No nation can tax itself into prosperity