I was going to focus my first blog post on the fact that racial issues (with the exception of Arabs and everyone associated with them, such as Sikhs and Hindus) have been not so strangely absent from the 2004 election campaign. Gwen Ifill's comment about African American women's health issues has been the only mention in the debates so far about race issues in America. Maybe the domestic debate on Wednesday will ask questions about cities, discrimination, inequality, voting rights, disenfranchisement, and unfair drug laws but I doubt it. The NY Times op-ed page (Herbert and Gates) are right that the Republicans are actively rolling back civil rights under our noses. But the silence on these issues also shows how effectively Clinton and the DLC took race issues off the agenda in the 90s. It is harder for the GOP to publicly race bait after Clinton beat them to it in the 90s, but I wonder if its an improvement. The problems haven't gone away and most statistics show the disparities getting far worse. At least when it came up as a negative, it came up and we got an occasional Nightline town meeting to address it. Now, it just doesn't come up. I know, I know...foreign policy chaos, impending environmental disaster, and the evil doings of a grouchy mad man and his not so bright sidekick necessitate winning at all costs this time. But after the election, serious questions need to be asked and the Democratic Party needs vital reforms. (After typing that sentence, I immediately wondered if I had ever written anything in my life that was of so little consequence and be immediately rendered as nothing more than a meaningless cliche as quickly as that one will be). I don't think it was an accident that Kerry did so poorly in the domestic politics portion of the debate--the Dems don't have much of a domestic agenda anymore besides a little more health care, a little less tax cuts for the rich (190k isnt rich anymore? Any underpaid academics on this blog disagree?), and a slightly tougher stand on abortion.
But, that WAS what I was going to focus on before reading the current debate on the blog over a gay marriage amendment. When the Supreme Court eventually, and probably within the decade, determines rightfully that gays and lesbians are a protected group and that any law passed by any state that classifies on the basis of sexuality is inherently suspect--meaning, that any state law about gay marriage is overturned because it unfairly singles out a category of people in a manner that in the 21st century we should truly believe to be irrational, warped, and prejudiced--then the issue of states rights and the political process will rightly be done for on this topic. The opposition to gay rights is so clearly reactionary, so clearly last century, and so clearly going to be an issue that in 50 years time people look back upon in shame, that I for one would want to be careful about posting on the web that will allow it be available via google for the next 200 years. Honestly, I don't know how anyone, let alone liberals, debate this issue. I really don't. And if I have a question, that would be it. But I don't have a question, because I don't want to hear any attempt to rationalize an answer. ;) (are smiley faces allowed in the world of blogging? I'm new to the etiquette).
And while we are raising the question of whether this blog is approaching a mouth piece for FOX news... Phil--do you really believe what you wrote about Bush and the Afghan elections? Bush bombed Afghanistan looking for one guy, and he killed a lot of people along the way that would have used their vote to say they didnt want to die from an American invasion. Its a nice symbolic step in the right direction if we believe the vote meant much of anything (and I'd say the jury is still way out on this one), but I really don't think Bush deserves any credit. No matter who was president after 9/11, Afghanistan was going to be bombed and the Taliban removed. Bush has been pretty disinterested in democracy there--he hasnt funded it and the country is still an assassination away from having it all end. I hope you are right--its not like our democracy started off so great either--but I am not ready to waive any GOP flags on this one.