Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The need for real Democratic debate

There is welcome news in Arkansas that Senator Blanche Lincoln is being challenged in the Democratic Primary. This is not really risky for the Party since Lincoln is down in the polls big-time to all prospective Republican challengers. If Lt. Governor Halter wins he will marginally improve our chances of holding the seat in November, but probably not enough to win. But the fact still remains that we need more debates within the Democratic Party.

There are too many issues where one faction asserts itself, usually the far left, and then that becomes THE Democratic position, and afterwards there's little discussion.

Support for Gay rights
Against school choice
raising taxes on the wealthy

To be sure it's not always from the left:

The pressure to support the troops and the ongoing Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan remain.
The focus on budget deficits

In Arkansas, apparently Halter supports a public option in the health bill and Lincoln doesn't (currently). I don't want either one of them to change their position, but to debate the merits and give people a real choice within the party.

In New York, Harold Ford could have been a real choice for Democrats had he stuck with his convictions from 2006 in Tenn. But instead he changed nearly every position he was known for that would cause him trouble from the left wing base in New York City.

We need open and honest debate about the future of our schools, economy, social issues, the military, government spending etc.

Of course people join political parties because they tend to agree with each other, but nearly everyone has at least a few issues where they disagree with the party. The problem is that it is becoming common place to avoid those disagreements or worse for politicians to just change them overnight.

In the NY primary, Senator Gillibrand was much more right wing on guns and immigration as a House member and just changed. She did this to avoid having a tough time in the primary and to ward off challengers.

Until Harold Ford appeared, she seemed to get pass from the New York Democrats, and now seems like she's in the clear once again after Ford correctly declined to run.

We need prolife Democrats fighting for their cause, pro-tax cut Democrats, traditional values Democrats, Gun rights, anti-illegal immigrant, etc.

We should have a full and exhaustive debate before an issue becomes settled within a party.

4 comments:

Politicalmark said...

What's up with the constant need to rail against the gays? It's a recurring theme on your blog and I don't get it. Newliberals sounds a lot like Oldconservatives.

Craig Farmer said...

There are many Democrats and independents who resent the idea that being a liberal means supporting certain things like gay rights or illegal immigrants. Likewise the same can be said for abortion rights or gun control, which I support. If someone has an idea that is so correct, you should submit it to the public square and debate it. I hope to start a movement of Democrats to stand against the gay rights movement. I hope to at least debate the isssues rather than act like being liberal=gay rights. I suppoort abortion rights, gun control, universal healthcare, affirmative action, strong regulations in many areas, etc. I do so because I can defend them logically. I support traditional values and am against the homosexual agenda on the same basis.

Politicalmark said...

Craig, I’d like to ask you a question. I am a gay man. I have been in a monogamous relationship with another man for 22 years. He and I had a small ceremony and were legally married in CA on October 7, 2008 (pre-prop 8). We are both educated professionals who are active in the community. We’re both genuinely committed to “making the world a better place” (trite, but true). We contribute an extensive amount of our time and discretionary income to that cause. My husband (made you wince, didn’t I?) is in the medical field and volunteers with a program that provides pediatric care to low-income, single mothers. I am active in animal rescue and volunteer at a high-kill shelter and with a breed-specific rescue organization. We work too many hours, try to keep the yard in order, wish we had more time to spend together, and have the occasional disagreement. We spend time with our (straight) neighbors on the weekends, try to get in a short vacation every year, and marvel at how fast the years go by. In short, we are no different than every other family in this county, with the exception of the fact that we are gay. And lest you think I woke up one day and decided to choose a sexual orientation that would potentially subject me to scorn, ridicule, and even violence, I didn’t. Regardless of its origin – nature or nurture – my sexual orientation is an immutable characteristic. I consider myself a pretty intelligent person, but try as I might, I can’t for the life of me understand why you would be an opponent of “gay rights.” When I first stumbled onto your blog, I assumed your animosity towards the gay community was born of a biblical worldview. But you support abortion rights, so that’s likely not the case. Craig, could it be that you find homosexuals to be “icky?” Allow me to offer some perspective. I grew up in a lily-white town in the Midwest. When I started high school, I encountered my first black person. That person made me uncomfortable, and I didn’t understand why. She had a great sense of humor, was intelligent and articulate, and people seemed to gravitate to her. Try as I may, I couldn’t figure out what it was about her that made me uncomfortable. And then one day I had an epiphany. My discomfort came from within. She was a great person, but I wasn’t expecting that. I was expecting her to be “different.” She was black, after all. That experience taught me to never again look at a person through a filter of my own making. An invaluable lesson, indeed. Craig, exactly what is it about gay people and their quest for “gay rights” that troubles you? And explain to me again why I should submit “to the public square” my right to have the same legal recognition that other couples enjoy.

Craig Farmer said...

If you start with the premise that what you want is sacred and has inherent value regardless of what others say or do, the implications for society, etc.; then you can justify almost all human behavior.

In that case, ultimately we wouldn't have a society because people would want things that led to the destruction of life itself.

Part of life is about labeling things right and wrong; Good and bad;normal and strange;desirable and taboo; etc.

So starting from there:
1. we the people through our government have a right to define what is normal and proper in relationships.
2. we can decide which to prefer, which to ignore, which to criminalize.

In a diverse society there will always be people offended that what they are doing is prohibited and it shouldn't be. Yet, we need to have boundaries between civil rights that shouldn't be subject to lawmaking, and behavior that can and should be.

So you can describe your relationship in whatever sympathic terms you like. I as an individual, and we as a society have a right to give preferences to other relationships.

Surely, there are some relationships that you find offensive, dangerous, should be outlawed, banned, etc. that someone else could detail a beautiful account of why they should be not just tolerted but accepted. Then what?

Let's not just limit it to relationships? What about food that we eat?

I eat cows, chickens, and fish.
So do most Americans.

I don't eat cats, dog, and snakes.
Neither do most Americans.

The question would be do we as a society have the right to ban people from eating dogs?

It (presumably) looks just like cow when cooked. In both cases we are taking the life of an animal.
Who am I to say that the person next door who is grilling a dog is morally wrong but I who am grilling a cow is just fine?

Who am I to say that an adult mother shouldn't be able to marry her adult daughter?

Who am I to say 3 men shouldn't be able to have their marriage recognized by the government?

If the man and woman is discriminatory, certainly the "one" in "one man and one woman" is. If anyone has a claim to the idea that they were "born this way" it is people who have an urge to copulate with multiple people (see tiger woods).

Why should people be forced to wear clothes? We all were born without them, and had to be taught otherwise. So if someone wants to be naked, why can't we just leave them alone?

But back to your story. If life is all about you then of course it'd be cruel to deny what you think is right and feels right for you, wouldn't it?

Just as I choose to eat fish and beef, and refuse to eat snake and dog or horse.

Just as I choose to wear clothes, etc.

I define normal relationships to be between 1 man and 1 woman who aren't related.

I can choose to think divorce is wrong and bad.

What the debate is really about is how we as a society through our laws treat these relationships.

Should we view to 2 men "married"to each other the same as a real married couple.

Should we promote a traditional role for men and women in society.

Even though we know there will always be abnormalities, we are talking about what should the rule be.

Almost all Americans accept the idea that people do things that they personally disagree with behind closed doors. For example, I don't use drugs; yet I don't want to throw drug users in jail.

In general, I would decriminalize drug use, except for certain drugs which can't be used safely under normal circumstances.

That's what life is, complicated, nuanced.

People don't have to be "haters" to say what you are doing is wrong and offensive to me.

You need to have the same tolerance that you seek.

And understand that when you attack others' right to define morality, you are doing the same to yourself in other areas.