Sunday, August 10, 2008

Marriage Security

The recent story about John Edward's infidelity show inspire Democrats to work towards strengthening marriage in our culture. Though this is a personal matter, it has public consequence. We must not become numb to the revealations of bad behavior. John Edwards should be ahamed of himself. Though I suspect he really isn't. Edwards is too political in his statements and very calculating as if he is protecting either a political future or wary of some legal trouble. Perhaps it's his natural instinct as a lawyer, but nonetheless, we need to work hard to save and bolster the institution of marriage one person at a time.

One lesson that everyone in politics should learn is that no matter what the issue, you can't win on defense.
I advise all people who value the institution of marriage to advance a positive agenda that promotes the goodness of America.
Democrats should have a plan to save and strengthen Marriage.
Since the "buzz word" of our time is: SECURITY.

The reason this should be a Democratic rather than Republican issue is that our party believes in the use of the power we the people through our government can wield to promote the general welfare.
The Republican Party at least rhetorically is opposed to the power of government, and therefore is in a poor position to actually do good in this area.
For Marriage Security, I propose:
First and foremost define Marriage as a sacred institution between 1 man and 1 woman.
We should increase the benefits of getting and staying married, while increasing the disincentives to divorce, "shacking up", and general out-of-wedlock births. For the latter, we must take care to do this while not promoting abortion.
Here's how some of it could be done:

1. Have candidates up and down ticket actually speak the words about the ideal. Almost all of them show their families as a political calculation, and use their spouses and kids as props, so this is just one more step. Using the bully pulpit to promote goodness. We need Obama to say in his stump speech:
A. you should wait to have sex until you're married.
B. you should work hard to keep your marriage strong--stick with your vows.
C. Divorce should be a last option not a first, second, or third option unless there is physical abuse or other imminent danger.
D. If your girlfriend is pregnant, you should try to convince her to marry you. You should be a man accept the responsibility of a family. If you don't want to, then don't do what creates this whole topic.
I support birth control education.I support abortion rights.
and I also support trying to do things the right and ideal way.
E. Family and friends should work to help couples stay together like most of them pledged in a church at the wedding

Worse case scenario, it doesn't work, but we will have tried to do good.

2. Use the tax code to promote marriage so much so that reasonable people would choose to stay married for the money rather than get divorced over petty differences. We should have an exemption for abuse or other extreme examples where people could keep the financial benefits and still separate for the overall good of the victims.
*This could include a big marriage bonus on the tax deductions.*Bigger deductions for children if the parents are married and living together.*overall lower tax rate for married-working families.

3. We need to increase the stigma of divorce both in civil society and also in the law. First and foremost people should think harder and longer before getting married. It should be more serious and permanent, than, "for as long as it shall last".
We should have various marriage preferences in the law such as
*mortgage interest rates/middle/working class housing programs*choices of public school (I support vouchers but if the govt. is going to control school selection, then make it matter for some good)*health care benefits (I support universal healthcare--but again if we won't cover everyone then we should try to support our values in the ones we choose to cover)
The point is, getting married should be a really big deal, and getting divorced should be even bigger.
3. The government should fund artists who are more mainstream in their thinking. Right now, everyone is trying to "out liberal" each other on television, and in the movies. There are very few if any solid nuclear families portrayed. Where people leave the program thinking, "I want to get married and be like them". We need people to be as creative in building up an ideal life as they are in dissecting and promoting alternative views. If Democrats can support the NEA and other public broadcasting. We should make an effort to find people to create:
entertaining and positive programming that can influence young people.
I don't have any problem with popular culture being the way they are. That's their choice. My problem is with mainstream Americans not getting in the entertainment business and fighting it out in the world of ideas.
Right now, having the govt. on the sidelines is not working. We should expand the NEA and other groups so that we set some common sense goals and try to reach them.

It is easy to criticize other people and play political games. Republicans do that well. But I think the Democratic party should step up to the plate and actually work hard to keep perfecting our Union.

Craig Farmer
making the word "liberal" safe again!

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