Photos That Give the Rude Pundit a Small Jolt of Comfort:

You're going to see lots of photos of lines today. Most of those will be of the unemployed waiting. Waiting to apply for jobs, waiting to apply for benefits, waiting for further degradation and waiting to see how completely they've been abandoned and stigmatized by an economy that treats the jobless like a new car the moment it's been driven off the lot.

Instead, let's end the week with a different line. That up there is from the hallway outside the Cook County Clerk's office in Chicago on Wednesday morning. That's when Illinois began issuing civil union licenses to gay couples. It grants gay and straight couples the same rights and protections that married couples have. Of course, the straight couples can still get "married," if they want, even if ministers are presiding over civil union ceremonies. But as progress goes, some is better than none. At a celebration in Chicago, 33 couples were joined by Governor Pat Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, in a show of support for the law.

There were lines in Springfield, Peoria, and Waukegan. Americans exercising their rights right in the middle of middle America. Yet, as of today, the Republic continues.

At a time when we're wearily fighting culture wars that have been raging for decades, it's encouraging to be able to look over the battlefield and say, "Yes, we can see that, through the inevitable, overwhelming force of normalization, victory in this one is assured."