Friday, November 05, 2004

why can't elitist east-coast intellectuals call jesus' chosen ones in the red states for what they are?

I'm happy to say that within 24 hours, my first goal seems to be coming true with Ashcroft reportedly stepping down. I had no idea he reads this blog and would be so immediately influenced.

The insendiary title of this post aside, I ask as a truly open question--if one, like most of us on this list, believe in equality regardless of sexual preference (unlike overwhelming majorities in 11 states), believe that a woman's right to choose shouldn't lead an abortion doctor to the death penalty (see Oklahoma voters), and believe in fundamental principals of division between church and state, why shouldn't this hypothetical "one" call out these voters for what they are--bigots. We do so when the French vote to prohibit Muslim headscarves, when southern Democrats voted for segregation, and when the Taliban denied rights to women. If, and I know this is a big if around the US, one believes in equality, how does one stand by and respect the right of voters to support bigotry?

On this point, I ask our fearless supreme leader, Sir Doctor Klinkner--where is the outrage that you so boldly expressed when whites in Louisiana were voting for Duke? How is this different? I like the tactic of showing that the mandate wasnt all that, but I think political scientists have for too long pooh-poohed the rising importance of the Christian Right. Its real, its increasing, and it needs to be addressed.

I guess the answer is that democracy is a more important value than human rights and equality. Maybe it is--I believe in democracy as much as the average blogger. But when voters support bigotry they need to be called out, yelled at, told they are idiots. This can be done with respect, love, and a long shaking. No list of facts is going to convince the Palookas of the world of anything--they can always find some ridiculous 'fact' from some equally ridiculous blog and say it is just as credible as the New York Times, LA Times, and Washington Post. In neo-fascist reality world, who's to say that nutville.com is any less respectable. (of course there are plenty of smart GOP out there-I'd kill for Bob Dole to be president right now; and of course there are some smart people in the red states--some of my best friends live in red states (more seriously, every state is a 'red state' 10 miles outside its major cities--check the NYTimes map for NY and California as just two examples of this)).

More "political science" related, doesn't Bush's success call into question the Downs model of party dynamics that so many of us are scrambling towards by looking for a more conservative Democratic candidate? Bush has never been mainstream, has been proud of his extremism, and he got support for being a straight shooter. When's the last Democrat who was a straight shooter? Maybe that's worth a try? Does anyone really doubt that even if we nominated John McCain to be our candidate that the Bush campaign would have turned him into the second coming of Karl Marx? We saw Bush do just that in 2000 to McCain. Kerry's liberal record would challenge Nixon's but we keep coming up with someone more mainstream and the Republicans keep pushing the mainstream further to the right. Before we blame Massachusetts judges for inserting gay rights onto the campaign, we need to ask why scandal after preposterous scandal related to Bush seemed to bother none of his voters who were more afraid of two men or women getting married.

The Downsian model is 20-20 Monday morning quarterbacking but is almost impossible to figure out before the election. John Kerry did everything people say he didnt. He talked constantly about jobs, health care, his support for murdering terrorists. He hardly ever mentioned gay rights and didnt support gay marriage. He still lost. What else was he supposed to do?




18 comments:

Palooka said...

Maybe that question will be answered when you answer why you're not a bigot for opposing polygamy or polyamory. Again, is that opposition bigoted?

Now that we've established you're against "equality," you won't mind if I call you a neo-fascist, Taliban, segregationist scumbag, do you?

Bush is "extreme?" Now, I wouldn't classify myself as pro-choice, but I don't consider those who are "extreme." The truth is the country is nearly evenly divided along those lines.

The only extreme or radical agenda that the President has undertaken is his foriegn policy, which is more aptly described as liberalism. Albeit it is liberalism with very sharp teeth.

Concerning abortion, affirmative action, education, federalism, and even deficit spending, Bush is consistently less "radical" or "extreme" then Reagan was.

And, Paul, please forego the LSD blogging from now on, OK?

Anonymous said...

Yes, once we go and let gays marry we will have to let the polygamists marry and then every DKE brother will want to marry his pledge goat(that includes Dubbya...or maybe he's got is eye on new first pet Miss Beazley?). Slippery slope.

Bush may not be a traditional conservative but his policies are radical and they are right wing.

Bush is an activist. Don't confuse his ACTIVIST foreign policy with liberalism. For all his talk about freeing women in Afghanistan and spreading liberty to Iraq his policy is one of subjigation and an attempt to bring order to a part of the globe that won't fall neatly into line with US economic and security interests. These are the modern day Visagoths....and he's Caesar. Not that I don't think the Middle-East doesn't need a good old fashioned ass-whooping but his approach is too imperial and so far it hasn't worked out so well.

At home, he submits very conservative judicial appointments so that he can create a new, activist , conservative judiciary. One that will bring prayer back into schools, that will criminalize abortion, that will gut environmental legislation, that will expand the rights of business while also gutting civil liberties.

Instead of burning down the federal bureaucracy he burnishes it. I mean have you heard of a single "build a better government program" since Al Gore wrote his little report? No. The right has actually found that the federal government can be a powerful tool to achieve your goals. See John Ashcroft's push to get the records of doctors who performed late term abortions and compare them to his efforts to stop illegal gun sales. Or his actions in closing down and criminalizing medicinal mary-jane clinics in California.

See how Bush uses the Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency as tools to support expanded business opportunities for big lumber and big oil.

These are just a few of the many ways that Bush can righty be called a radical and even more accurately an activist.

Daniel said...

I read this blog every day. I'm a liberal and the problem is that I don't really believe in the comparisons between social justice based on race, and social justice for homosexuals. I know inherently, to my core that prejudice and racism is wrong. To be perfectly honest, in my core I believe that homesexuality is wrong. The connection is spurious. Are people born gay? I don't know, maybe. What I do know is that I was born white, black, or yellow. The bottom line is that if I'm quesitoning it as an intellectual liberal, then your everyday white dude in Ohio questioned it too, and said enough is enough. I know the sound arguments for civil unions, and I agree with them, but those arguments are not compelling enough to overstep someones inate belief that homosexuality is wrong, if not completely out of step with mainstream American values. Finally I think there is a difference between racial issues of equality and restrictions on unions and marriage. We must let all people vote. Not all people can marry, there are limitations, one wife, can't marry a sibling, age restrictions. The questions of marriage and union are fundamentally based on sets of morallity, and trying to convince someone otherwise has proven to be an arduous task. One thing that I have not heard often even from the right and is to me the most compelling arument, is that homosexuality is scary not because it's creepy, strange and just different, but that it is fundamentally antithetical to the continuation of the human race. Not that anyone believes that that would happen, but the prospect of homosexual relationships belies procreation. Not sound public policy exactly but certainly a rational explanation for American viceral distaste for gay and lesbian lifestyles. Comparing it to civil rights for women, minorities and persons with disabilites is I think a little off base. In fact I see the opposite of the civil rights struggle in the 60's. Mainstream America saw the attrocities of the south, and said enough is enough. Racism is wrong and we will force you to comply. Today it seems Americans are saying homosexuality is wrong and you can't have gay marriage. Quite frankly I'm not willing to go down as a democrat with the proverbial gay ship.

Anonymous said...

It's a big country and let's remember there are plenty of bigoted blue-collar Democrats in the rust belt as well -- not to mention bigoted African-American churches in the South who voted upwards of 90% for Kerry.

Balkanization is not limited to the Democratic Party. The GOP is adding more and more Schwarzenegger Republicans like me who are solidly pro-choice and solidly pro-gay marriage but have had it with the failed FDR experiments and cannot trust a party infiltrated by Marxists and Anarchists to fight terrorism.

When I voted for Gore four years ago, I hated his phoniness, his race-baiting, and his love for failed social programs, but I was voting from my 20% Democrat -- my fears of the Christian Right, a threatened Roe v Wade, etc. The Bush prayer breakfasts had me livid. When Ashcroft covered the nude Greek statue with the American flag, I was howling. When we were attacked on 9/11, I grew up.

On 9/11 I felt like an ass for voting for Gore and wanted to hug Cheney, Rice, Powell, and Rumsfeld. The thought of DPRK-appeasing Madeline Albright fighting terrorism was so depressing. I was so glad that the adults were in charge.

When Lieberman entered the race, I was optimistic that the Democrats would continue their Democratic tradition of fighting global tyranny, but after he was extinguished by his own party in favor of Dean meet-ups and peace marches on Hollywood Boulevard, I knew my days of voting Democrat were over for good.

Solomon Wolfson

Rothko said...

In all due respect to Daniel's discomfort with gay marriage, it's hard to make a really convincing argument that the STATE should not recognize them. I know Palooka suggests that recognition of homosexual unions potentially opens the door for all sorts of unsavory things but lets wait until the polygamists and "animal lovers" assert their right to marry before we lump all these groups together.

Marriage provides tangiable benefits from the state. Those benefits include tax incentives, inheritence and property rights, parental rights. Through state recognition married couples receive private benefits as well. This includes benefits afforded "families" by employers. This is a top of mind list. At the same time, as notable conservatives would tell you, there are definitive studies that claim that marriage leads to demonstrable improvements in the mental, physical and financial health of those who participate in the institution.

The fact is, conservatives have PUSHED marriage as a solution to social problems. They have fought hard to have the state treat married people as a special, highly valued class of people. I don't have any problem with that. I think marriage is great thing and I hope to sign up not to long before my liver goes. However, if the state wants to hold marriage up as an ideal then it will have to accept broader standards of eligablilty then religions or some individuals might.

We have NO problem accepting the marriage of two infertile, heterosexual adults. We have no problem of accepting the marriage of two octogenarians who not only can't have children but for whom parenthood would be highly undesirable for society. We have NO problem accepting the marriage of two heterosexual adults who despite health and finances chose not to have children. Why are we comfortable with these unions? Because despite the insistence of some, marriage for most Americans is about LOVE. How quaint? It's about a personal choice to share your life with someone who makes living better. I know it's mushy but ask your parents. I'm sure the goal they had when they married wasn't simply to pop you out so that we could continue to have a fresh supply of labor. It's one of the great evolutions in history...that we can now marry for comfort and not necessity.

Take it for what it's worth.

Homosexuals have a right to these benefits. And rather than pull a Jim McGreevy, they have a right to honestly express their love. AGAIN, as a state matter, in a secular, post-enlightment democratic, free society this shouldn't be that difficult a concept to grasp or accept...certainly not when the same people who oppose gay marriage are busy touting and fighting to enhance the benefits of marriage. You don't have to like homosexuals but you should be able to accept their right to pursue happiness and to be eligable to participate FULLY in the state.

And now comes the follow up post about how if we do this we will then need to respect the rights of the polygamists and the pedophiles and the animal humpers.

Vinny Goldsmith said...

I agree with this last comment. It wasn't only the Democrats who got a wake-up call on November 3rd, it was the moderate Republicans.

Those of us in and out of office that believe in a strong national defense, believe in fiscal responsibility (which neither candidate offered this year), and believe in the promises of free trade and free market capitalism.

But in addition, we don't think the goverment has any right making decisions on matters involving the lives of individuals, especially when those decisions are relating to religion, marriage, abortion, etc.

I think you're going to see at a grass-roots level a swell of moderate Republicans fighting to take their party back from the extreme-right.

And as a comment to the actual post - I'm not sure calling them bigots is the right tactic.

"City folk" have as much prejudice toward "country folk", as "country folk" have toward homosexuality.

To call them bigots, and imply that they simply "hate", is to show your dislike/hate toward them.

Rothko said...

In all due respect to Daniel's discomfort with gay marriage, it's hard to make a really convincing argument that the STATE should not recognize them. I know Palooka suggests that recognition of homosexual unions potentially opens the door for all sorts of unsavory things but lets wait until the polygamists and "animal lovers" assert their own right to marry before we lump all these groups together.

Marriage provides tangiable benefits from the state. Those benefits include tax incentives, inheritence and property rights, and parental rights. Through state recognition married couples receive private benefits as well. This includes benefits afforded "families" by employers. At the same time, as notable conservatives would tell you, there are definitive studies that claim that marriage leads to demonstrable improvements in the mental, physical and financial health of those who participate in the institution.

The fact is, conservatives have PUSHED marriage as a solution to social problems. They have fought hard to have the state treat married couples as a special, highly valued class of people. I don't have any problem with that. I think marriage is a great thing and I hope to sign up not to long before my liver goes. However, if the state wants to hold marriage up as an ideal and afford it special benefits then it has to accept broader standards of eligablilty then some individuals or organizations find desirable.

We have NO problem accepting the marriage of two infertile, heterosexual adults. We have no problem accepting the marriage of two octogenarians who not only can't have children but for whom parenthood would be highly undesirable for society. We have NO problem accepting the marriage of two heterosexual adults who despite health and finances chose not to have children. Why are we comfortable with these unions? Because despite the insistence of some, marriage for most Americans is about LOVE. How quaint? It's about a personal choice to share your life with someone who makes living better. I know it's mushy but ask your parents. I'm sure the goal they had when they married wasn't simply to pop you out so that we could continue to have a fresh supply of labor. It's one of the great evolutions in history...that we can now marry for comfort and not necessity.

Take it for what it's worth.

Homosexuals have a right to these benefits. And rather than pull a Jim McGreevy, they have a right to honestly express their love. AGAIN, as a state matter, in a secular, post-enlightment, democratic, free society this shouldn't be that difficult a concept to grasp or accept...certainly not when the same people who oppose gay marriage are busy touting and fighting to enhance the benefits of marriage. You don't have to like homosexuals but you should be able to accept their right to pursue happiness and to be eligable to participate FULLY in the state.

And now comes the follow up post about how if we do this we will then need to respect the rights of the polygamists and the pedophiles and the animal humpers.

Palooka said...

"I know Palooka suggests that recognition of homosexual unions potentially opens the door for all sorts of unsavory things but lets wait until the polygamists and "animal lovers" assert their own right to marry before we lump all these groups together."

First, I don't think democratically adopting civil unions or gay marriage necessarily leads to recongition of polygamous and polyamorous marriage, but as a matter of legal principle, and that's what this is about when we are talking about court-mandated gay marriage, it is a different story.

It's funny how those who oppose state recognition of gay marriage are "bigots" and "intolerant" but you and Paul are the ones denigrating polygamists over and over. I have yet to see why it's evil, inherently wrong, and morally bankrupt to oppose state sanction of gay marriage but it's perfectly moral, absolutely OK, totally right to oppose polygamous marriage equality.

I'd be willing to entertain both, and I am much less resistant to the concept of gay marriage, but if one argues one group (gays) has an inherent right under our Constitution to marriage on their terms, then why doesn't the other group (polygamists)?

Moreover, if one considers the history of the state's involvement in this country, then one finds polygamy a closer analogue to traditional marriage than gay marriage. The state became involved in marriage for two reason: The protection of unequal gender spouses. And the protection of children. Both are present in polygamy, and only one is present, albeit in a diminished form, in the case of gay marriage.

Daniel said...

Look Rothco, I don't disagree with the merits of your argument. I'm not even saying that this is a slippery slope towards pedopilia, that's ridiculous. Homosexuality isn't illegal, well in most states, and that's not what I was saying. Your points on married couples not having children, and octogenarians are all extremely valid. My point was that most main stream americans just don't buy the arguments, they don't believe that this is something that is a right to have. Merits or not, majority rules in this country and I'm not sure it's even close right now.

Palooka said...

"Your points on married couples not having children, and octogenarians are all extremely valid."

What percent of married couples are we talking about here? Now is there any doubt that if most people married and did not have children that the benefits and place of marriage would be different? Of course it is.

While it is certainly true people get married for a variety of reasons, it is undeniable that the vast majority of heterosexual couples marry with intent to have or adopt children. It's just a manifest fact that homosexual relationships do not share these same desires. That's not bad or wrong, it's just a fact that these two groups are fundamentally different. Now, when two groups are fundamentally different, is it really unjust to treat them differently?

Moreover, do you really doubt that the best place to raise a child is with both a man and a woman? When a kid grows up without a father, he doesn't desire another mother! He wants that missing part of the family, he wants a mother and a father. Attribute to social structure or innate need, it is a fucking fact. I suggest you deal with it.

Anonymous said...

To quote Andrew Sullivan, homosexuality is morally neutral, just as is heterosexuality. Making it into a moral argument fails to understand that being gay is a fact. No one debates the morality of being born with brown hair. This is why it IS an issue of civil rights.

Solomon Wolfson

Palooka said...

"To quote Andrew Sullivan, homosexuality is morally neutral, just as is heterosexuality. Making it into a moral argument fails to understand that being gay is a fact. No one debates the morality of being born with brown hair. This is why it IS an issue of civil rights."

Age is morally neutral but we often discriminate on the basis of it. While there are certainly 65 year olds who could perform the tasks of military service, it is not considered invidious discrimination to preclude those over 30 from serving.

Morally neutral does not necessarily mean discrimination is unwarranted. I do now view homosexuality as "immoral" or "bad" or "wicked." And, in most cases, discriminating against someone for their homosexuality is indeed immoral and wicked. Whether or not someone is gay does not equate to their job performance. However, when we're talking about "marriage" it is a worthy question to ask if gay relationships are, on average, different from heterosexual relationshipsin substantive ways. I think the unavoidable answer is YES. They are different both in form and function. Commitment to monogamy, propensity to have and raise children, and the gay family's efficacy of raising children are all open questions.

When one objectively looks at the differences between the average relationships, then that "discrimination" is at least in part justified. The following questions must be answered:

Can society choose to promote those family structures it deems "optimal," while excluding those family structures it views as less than optimal from receiving state sanction, support, and encouragement?

If marriage is a fundamental human "right," then why are polygamists and polyamorists denied those same rights?

If the benefits and responsibilities conferred to marriage at least have something to do with children, doesn't that suggest a mismatch for most homosexual relationships?

Anonymous said...

What Paul said! And a little more. Whites in the Confederacy went into the Republican Party in the 1970s because they did not want to be in school or in a political party with blacks.
Kansas, Nebraska, and the Dakotas join the Confederates in spitting on the hopes of gay couples. Those bumpkins would not even have any pork chops on their plates if it were not for the blue states providing the wealth that subsidizes their crops and herds.For those who have no medical insurance, guess who provides the transferred wealth that keeps their county hospitals open. Thanks North Dakota and Mississippi for seating a fool in the oval office. He wins the United States huge international admiration. A recent poll showed that 50 percent of Canadians under the age of 35 regard the U.S. as an evil force in the world.

Palooka said...

I'm sure it's reassuring to liberals to believe the reason they lost the South is all about race, but the facts just don't bear that out. For one, Republicans were MORE supportive of civil rights than Dems. That's a fact. Other culural issues, such as abortion and school prayer, play a large role today, not racism. Democratic support for gun control doesn't exactly help in the region either. The Democratic Party was very competitive in the South, though usually not for President, up until the last 10 years or so. Interesting how the decline or racism and discrimination in the South cooresponds with the decline of the Democratic Party, isn't it? Could it be that as the South became less racist it became more Republican?

But what does all this really mean? We can throw around insults all day, can't we? I don't think the Democratic Party is a racist party, despite their support of manifestly racist policies like affirmative action. But if there was ever a party which should be careful about sloppily throwing around the "racist" label, it's the Democratic Party. Not exactly desirable parentage, is it?

In the future, "anonymous," stick with the facts when you accuse entire regions and peoples of racism.

Palooka said...

Oh, and it's interesting to see that the party of "racist country bumpkins" garnered 43% of the Hispanic vote.

Bush gained most among women, Hispanics, and urban voters--Democratic core constituencies. Look at the data. This derisive babble about Bush supporters is not only vile, it is completely inconsistent with the facts.

Rothko said...

Palooka is right that NORTHERN MODERATE REPUBLICANS were instrumental in getting civil rights passed in 1964. However, that while they once dominated the party they founded NORTHERN MODERATE REPUBLICANS are going the way of the dodo...We'll see how much power they have left when Rudy and George P. run in '08 if they make it out of South Carolina I'll be VERY suprised.

IT IS NO SECRET that the Republican Party captured southern white voters by playing off of their distaste for the civil rights movement. In 1968, if you lived in Alabama what do you think Nixon meant when he said he would restore "Law & Order"...What was happening in your streets? Hmmmm. What did Reagan mean when he condemned "welfare queen"...that ain't code for pretty white girls in West Virginia...The Republican party's track record on race over the past 40 years is SPOTTY AT BEST...John McCain 2000....South Carolina...Black daughter?...Someone obviously thought that southern white Republicans still had discomfort with race mixing...christ Bob Jones University...the fact is that the Republican party has used racism as a way to attract white voters...just as the old Southern Democrats did.

Back for a moment to gay marriage...

Polygamy is CLEARLY a lifestyle choice. It's not comprable to homosexuality in that it is not a trait inherent to it's practictioners...being gay...appears to be a little more nature than nurture. So let's stop the apples to oranges comparison...it's not being bigoted when we don't defend polygamists it's that they shouldn't even be part of the conversation.

Another point...on the percentage of couples who marry for love versus the percentage who marry so that they can create a labor force capable of paying for social security...IT DOESN'T MATTER...the State recognizes all these unions equally...(if they are consumated by heterosexuals)...the state doesn't retract benefits from couples who don't have children because they haven't fufilled their duty as a married couple...so basically if your heterosexual you can marry for any reason you chose...whether it's for green cards, green backs or small person who shits his-self for the first two years of his life...the state treats them all the same...

As for optimal family structures...you can certainly be skeptical of homosexual families...and I think there's no real consensus as to how well they work...however...these are family units that already exist...unless your for banning them all together than why not offer them the security of marriage? Right now these family units are starting at a disadvantage because they don't have the same rights as heterosexual families...that immediately would make them less than optimal...however you can improve their efficacy simply by giving them the same rights as other families...and finally even if heterosexual families are optimal not all family units function optimally...we don't take away rights from heterosexual families who fail to meet a standard of optimal function...

Palooka said...

Rothko,

Northern moderate Republicans? I believe it was 96% or so of Republicans who supported key Civil Rights measures, while it was a meager 60% or so of Democrats.

SPECIFICALLY: 138 Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 34 against. 152 Democrats supported it, with 96 against it!

Again, "northern moderate Republicans?"

Nixon was not appealing to racism in his "law and order" campaign (I thought that campaign was in 1972, though?), he was appealing to every day American's sense that the country was spiraling out of control. And, in a sense, it was. The Warren Court was busy concocting new "rights" for criminal defendants, increasing those who slip through the system. Anti-War and radical groups, such as SDS and the Weathermen and the Black Pathers, frightened and alarmed a nation, and for good reason.

I have discussed the nature versus nurture arguments in detail before, Rothko. And I've shredded them.

Studies of identical twins reared separately have shown a strong coorelation for gay males. However, about 12% of those twins do not share the same sexuality. How, exactly, do you explain that? Moroever, lesbians appear to have no genetic coorelation at all. So, let's say this is indicative of the ultimate truth, shall we? Does this mean you test those gays for the "gay gene," excluding some gay men and all of gay women from participation in gay marriage?

No, the genetic argument is bullshit, because you really don't mean it, do you? I mean, you're not willing to exclude lesbians and some gay males from gay marriage, are you? It's irrelevant.

As far as the family structures, if you're willing to concede the same level of deference to polygamists and polyamorists, then I'll take your argument as genuine. If not, then you see not all family structures are equal, and that is is sometimes appropriate to treat them accordingly.

Are gay families just as effective at raising healthy, stable, moral kids? Perhaps. But ask yourself if you'd really be indifferent to two fathers or two mothers, instead of a mother AND a father. As I have said before, when a child loses his father early in life, he doesn't yearn for another mother. He wants both a mother AND a father! Why is that?

QPRHigh said...

So 57% of voters in Oregon are bigots? 76% of those in Oklahoma are also bigots? By extension, the roughly 40% of people of voting age in the 11 states who didn't vote are tacit supporters of bigotry? Why shouldn't you be called a bigot for not stopping to consider the ethical considerations used by many of these people to arrive at their votes?

To achieve a truly level playing field, why not relegate marriage to the churches and give no governmental preference to the married? After all, we don't want to discriminate against people who choose to be single their entire lives, right? Any condition people choose to live under, as long as no one gets hurt by it, should be equal in the eyes of government at all levels, shouldn't it? We don't care about the continuity of our little experiment in democracy or any tradition upon which it is built, we just care that no preference is shown to any particular living arrangement, right? Because if we're doing more than that, if we're trying to assert in law some equivalence between homosexual partnerships and marriage, then we may as well stop the bus and redefine the meaning of this 230 year ride.