In a mythical land not so far away, in a time not so different
from now, trouble is brewing.
It's because a small minorityperhaps ten percent of the
populationhas become uppity. They want the same rights everyone else
You all know, of course, which minority I'm talking about.
The Lefthandeds. The Southpaws. The Bassackwards.
Being left-handed in this mythical land is a serious violation of
common sense. Not prudent.
When children pick up pencils with their left hands, all hell
breaks loose. Teachers whack the offending appendage with their rulers,
mothers burst into tears, and fathers grow stern, telling the miscreants
that "we're not that way in this family," and sending them off to the
closet to ponder their sin.
But of course left-handed children remain left-handed, and they're
ostracized for choosing to be so wicked. They can't remember making that
choice and they're sorry for it, but try as they might to be
right-handed,it doesn't work.
Dirty rotten secular humanists in this mythical land don't see
what the problem is. "Left hand, right hand, whatever," they say.
"Different strokes for different folks and all that."
But another minority in the land cares a great deal. Their
worshipful regard for right-handedness is so great they're called The
Left-handers drive the RR crazy.
"Back in the days when words really meant something," the
Religiose Right's resident etymologist says, "another word for
left-handedness was 'sinistral,' and it derived from the very same root as
'sinister,' meaning evil and wicked and very bad indeed. In those days
we called a spade a spade."
The RR in this mythical land considers left-handedness an
arrogant flouting of God's intent that all His creatures be right-handed.
The RR knows all about God's intent because they have divinely inspired
documents. They pore over them looking for evidence that left-handedness
is an abomination.
And of course they find it.
Doesn't the Apostles' Creed say that Jesus "sitteth on the right
hand of God the Father"? And is that not a clear message about which hand
is superior and which is inferior in the eyes of the Almighty?
And doesn't Jesus say that He shall separate the good sheep from
the bad goats, the sheep "on his right hand, but the goats on the left"
"Right is right," the RR preachers thunder, "and left is wrong."
Some of the Religiose Right content themselves with the simple
pleasure of imagining left-handers frying in hell, but others feel
themselves called to convert left-handers to right-handhood.
So they recruit a cadre of ex-left-handers who have been, by God's
love, miraculously changed into right-handers. They travel around the
country telling their wondrous stories. They build up tidy little nest
eggs doing it.
The Truth, Mainly
But many left-handers in our mythical land resist the idea that
right is right and left is wrong. And they begin the Left Pride movement.
They have parades, talk shows, Broadway musicals, all celebrating what
they mockingly call the New Sinistrality. They make demands: an end to
don't ask-don't tell rules for left-handers in the military, school
desk-chairs built for southpaws, no more jokes about left-handed monkey
The Religiose Right counterattacks.
"It's time to act," says one of the RR leaders at a secret meeting
of the Inner Circle. "We cannot sit idly by while these perverts blur the
distinctions between their evil choices and our righteous ones. So
there's only one thing to do: We must ban left-handed marriages. "
"Yes," says a second RR leader, "and while we're at it, we'll ban
left-handed civil unions and left-handed partnerships."
"But how can we sell that to the majority?" a third RR leader
"I know!" shouts a fourth. "We'll call it the Defense of
Right-handed Marriage Amendment. Who would oppose defending marriage?"
A fifth leader frowns. He has just this day seen his absolutely
innocent year-old granddaughterin his mind the very antithesis of
anything remotely evilpick up her spoon with her chubby little
"And just how," he asks, "can we logically argue that banning
left-handed marriage will defend right-handed marriage?"
"With God on our side," says the first leader, "who needs logic?"
"Well said," the second leader says. "All we need is faith. And
all we need to pass DORMA on election day is a simple majority."
"And," says the fifth leader, unable to erase his granddaughter's
image,"I've got faith that any majority we get on election day will be
[To be continued on Nov. 7.]
Retired English Professor Leon Satterfield writes to salvage clarity
from his confusion. His column appears on alternate Mondays. His e-mail