Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Equal Protection for race and sexuality

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.

10 comments:

jult52 said...

"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."

Are your future posts going to contain statements like this? You know, incoherent and not backed up with any facts? If so, I may just have to stop reading this blog.

Paul Frymer said...

here are some facts that the Democrats wont deny about Clinton race baiting in the 90s... his sister soulja speech (read any bio of clinton or any memoir of people involved in the campaign as to what the intent of the speech was); or attending the execution of Ricky Ray Rector who asked to keep his meal warm b/c he was not mentally able to figure out what was happening to him; or ending welfare as we know it....I'm not saying he's a bad guy, it was part of his political campaign. All I'm saying was that it was part of the strategy and not too many people doubt that. Why dont you provide me some facts of your own? You'll no doubt get a lot of them at the other blogs you frequent, like rushlimbaugh.com.

Palooka said...

"Ending welfare as we know it" is race-baiting. Uh, OK. You know, maybe he actually felt we should do something about welfare. Ever think of that? I suppose the great success of the the welfare reform he signed is also some sort of racist machination too.

Paul Frymer said...

I'm really curious. Could you give me an example of the welfare reform's success? a news story? statistics? someone you know who is better off b/c of the reform? Seriously, I am interested to hear about it.

When is the last time you heard a national politician mutter 'welfare queen driving a cad.' right, not since clinton ended welfare.

jult52 said...

I've never read rushlimbaugh.com in my entire life. So is this your next contribution to this blog? Accusing readers who ask that you back up your silly comments about Democrats of being Rush Limbaugh supporters? You are batting .000 so far.

Paul Frymer said...

that hurts... I thought I was at least batting .200. I did provide some facts. Speaking of which...where are yours? Blogs are about learning and exchange and all I've been told is that my post was incoherent (true enough but doesnt a blog by definition=incoherent?) and factless (not entirely true as I tried to provide in a prior post--actually there are plenty of great articles and books that will give you lots of facts. Start with our lead blogger, Phil Klinkner's excellent book, The Unsteady March, written with Rogers Smith. I can provide lots more if you'd like).

jult52 said...

"I'm not saying he's a bad guy, it was part of his political campaign."

So it's OK to race bait if you are a Democratic politician?

There are plenty of blogs that are carefully written by authors with expertise in their subject areas. You meanwhile make an ass of yourself every time you post. Bye.

Palooka said...

Fewer people on welfare=success. When people work for a living, even if they are no better off materially, they are better off and their children are better off because they're learning by example. Now, maybe you'd like to tell me why welfare reform wasn't a success? People supporting themselves, demonstrating self-reliance, and developing self-respect that terrible of a thing? I know when people break free from the teat of the Nanny State it gives great distress, because you're that much further from the realization of your socialist utopia. But, really, what's wrong with people supporting themselves and their children?

Rage said...

I thought this would be interesting. A western publihser has posted the entire text of a landmark book about Racism in Utah.

Anonymous said...

You seem to be very passionate about gay rights. Being a gay man myself, i completely identify with your arguments. However, I was wondering if you have any personal experience that you were drawing from? Or, are you merely speaking from an outsiders perspective?