A Word in Edgewise: Carthago Delenda Est – Again


Cato the Elder, soldier, Senator, builder of public works repeated this phrase in every speech–even as a non sequitur–he believed it was that important. “Carthago delendum est” translates as, “Carthage must be destroyed.”

Rome had won the first and second Punic wars, but was moving towards a third engagement. Persistently, and to the point of absurdity, Cato, reiterated the necessity of defeating the Carthaginians, and never let up until the Siege of Carthage (149 BC) resulted in that city’s complete demolition.

Bigotry is our Carthage, and while I’m not advocating a physical slash-and-burn and salt-the-earth policy, I do urge a similar vigilance and implacability in our efforts to obtain and insure equal civil rights for all our citizens. Minnesota already has laws on the books prohibiting gay marriage–at least their legal recognizance. In fact, gay marriages take place all the time. I recently attended one and believe the couple to be married in the eyes of the Divine–Rome and Romney notwithstanding.

Reporter Anderson Cooper wrote a moving letter that was made public through to columnist Andrew Sullivan. In it Cooper revealed, “The fact is, I’m gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself and proud.”

Immediately, radio host Janet Mefferd pounced, alerting her listeners that Cooper’s assertion could literally make them vomit, calling his letter “the neopagan story of the day” and comparing Cooper to Jerry Sandusky.

Following the recent death of astronaut Sally Ride, it was revealed that she lived and worked with her longtime female partner. I haven’t run across a reaction as vile as Meffard’s, although Mitt Romney’s tweeted condolences, “Sally Ride ranks among the greatest of pioneers. I count myself among the millions of

Americans she inspired with her travels to space,” rank high for disingenuousness and hypocrisy. Romney knows full well Ride’s partner, Tam O’Shaughnessy will never see a penny of the astronaut’s death benefits or Social Security due other astronauts’ survivors.

I’m preaching to the choir, here, but choirs can sing before many audiences. Like Cato, I believe the situation is dire. Have conversations with allies, fellow gays.

Be present. Be active, not just election day, but in the remaining days.

Vote NO in NOvember.

Carthago delendum est.

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