Thursday, July 31, 2003

Progressives Unite!

You are more powerful than you think. Whether you're a Democrat, Independent, or Green, more than likely you dislike the direction in which this country is headed. Most of all, you dislike the man who was "elected" to be its leader in 2000. We must put aside differences and stand together. Republicans and conservatives seem to have no problem uniting behind a common cause, regardless of the differences of opinion. Just look at Rudy Giuliani and George Bush. I know that they have huge differences of opinion, but I also know who Rudy will be "pulling the lever" for in 2004. We have to have that same kind of unity in order to rid the White House of this tyrant who has worn out his welcome. Save your protest votes for 2008 when Washington is no longer held hostage by the extreme right.

For an extended argument on this topic follow this link to read a well thought out article quoted from The Capital Times.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

GLBT High?

Maybe I'm off base here, but when did we start segregating students by sexual orientation? I've been reading the articles about the new PUBLIC school in New York City that will offer a gays-only environment. The argument is a good one: due to safety concerns (because homosexuals get abused by other students), a program was started to give gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender (GLBT) students an academic program of their own in which they wouldn't necessarily have to mingle with students who were hostile towards them. This program grew into a large enough movement that the creation of a school was proposed. And as far as I can tell, the school will receive public funds.

Now, I don't oppose security for all students, and I don't oppose the right of GLBT students to get a quality education; but what kind of message are we sending to other children in the NYC public school system? I'm afraid that this could be a dangerous precedent that leads to further division within student bodies on the basis of race, gender, and religion.

We are taking three steps backwards in the cause of human rights. I don't know what GLBT organizations are saying about this, but if they are truly concerned about fighting for equal rights, they should propose some alternative to this plan. In the future, I want my child to meet people of all different types when she goes to high school, not just the people who are like her.

I need positive and negative feedback from other progressives on this issue. E-mail me with your opinions.

Monday, July 28, 2003

Hey Joe!

What is wrong with Joe Lieberman? Is he being blackmailed by the same people who are extorting Bill Clinton? The recent remarks he made concerning Iraq were at best confusing. Its not okay that the President misrepresented intelligence to the American people, but because the war is somehow "just," we should get over it, and not worry about "16 words" in the State of the Union?

Republicans and some "conservative" Dems like Lieberman harshly scolded former President Clinton about lying to the American people. Congress voted to impeach the President for committing perjury on a matter of sexual behavior, but it's okay to send troops to Iraq for so-called "security" reasons which have little or no basis in fact. I'm no longer certain where Joe's loyalties lie.

Bill Clinton is no longer running for public office and has the luxury of making off-hand, snide remarks about people in his party, but when you run for the Presidency of the U.S. in a major party, you have to be sensitive to the mood of the majority in that party. Only in a handful of states can Republicans vote in a Democratic primary, but most of them will vote for Al Sharpton of Dennis Kucinich, knowing that it would only be too easy for Bush to win against them (obviously a debatable point).

To be fair, if Joe Lieberman truly believes that the war was justified regardless of the mishandled or overplayed intelligence report, then that's fine. I just wouldn't expect to win the nomination from the party.

On the whole, we are tired of the lies (yes, I said "lies") and shady practices of this administration. We don't need our "representatives" out in public defending it. We will not let this subject go, because it has at its roots the very fabric of integrity and morality of government. We cannot afford to further lose confidence in the ability of our leaders to tell the truth, especially when war and human lives are at stake.

Perhaps the conservatives in our party will join together and find a way to put this man on the Democratic ticket. He will lose. It's like Harry Truman said, in a very "cola-taste-test" fashion, "When given a choice between a real Republican and a fake Republican, the people will choose the real Republican every time." If you wish to vote for the "Republican wing of the Democratic party," Joe may be your man.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Bush’s Fiscal Policy

I am confused by the so-called “Jobs Growth” package passed by President Bush. I thought we had already debunked “trickle down” economics. Here is a hypothetical situation that illustrates my point.

Let’s say that every one of the Fortune 500 companies is given a one million dollar tax cut. Now suppose that every dollar is used to create 40 middle/lower income jobs paying an average of $25,000.

Assuming that all of President Bush’s tax cuts are still in effect, the average tax bill for these workers would be less than $2,000. Forty employees paying two thousand dollars in taxes is $80,000. The government has lost approximately $920 thousand in tax revenue per company.

In fact, it would take the creation of roughly 500 jobs per company to pay for a “small” 500 million dollar tax cut. If a company is not to lose money on its payroll--which most refuse to do, that means each would need to see an additional increase in net profit of $12.5 million. Who is going to contribute to such a staggering figure if only 20,000 median income jobs are created per year.

The White House estimates that its economic policy, along with general economic cycles will create over 5 million jobs in the next year alone. While this is a fantastic prospect, the solvency of our federal budget is still in question. If each of the 5 million jobs created made the liberal figure of $30,000, they would still only generate around $30 billion in tax revenue (also a liberal estimate). The deficit this year alone is $455 billion. It would take ten years and a modest increase in GDP* every year to accomplish paying off the new debt created in one year by this administrations economic policy. Most disturbingly is the administrations own estimate that the budget deficits will only gradually decrease over the next ten years. Hmm?

The big lie is that massive tax cuts are passed as “economic policy.” The truth: massive tax cuts starve the federal budget, making it necessary to cut entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

We have seen the President playing both sides of the field. He passed some of the largest tax cuts in history, then he proposed pseudo-progressive reform of Medicare. If he is re-elected, he will no longer have to “fear the reaper.” The budget deficits will continue to climb, the national debt will soar, and social programs will no longer be safe from the “axe.” Once the American people realize they have been duped, the Democrats will have to take over and raise taxes and increase spending to salvage important entitlement programs, again setting ourselves up as the bad guys. It’s a vicious cycle that could go on for generations unless the people of this country step in and do something about it, now.

This is why I decided to support Howard Dean. As President, Howard Dean has promised to repeal the Bush tax cuts and rescue entitlement programs while fighting to balance the budget. I have a baby girl who will have to deal with the consequences of our actions. We need a responsible leader who won’t spend our children’s inheritance on risky tax schemes. In fact, the damage may be so severe that many of us in our twenties and thirties will feel the first long-range effects of these decisions. If things do not change, our taxes will go up further than ever, and Social Security will no longer be assured when we retire. Help those of us who care about the future of this nation and our own well-being by supporting Howard Dean for President.

*GDP–gross domestic product

Saturday, July 26, 2003

Something Positive

If you are like me, you watch lots of political programming on cable news. One common complaint I hear from conservative pundits is that there is a lack of message from the left. It does appear that this is true, considering how much all of us (progressives/liberals) hate the Bush administration. But just to show that it is possible, I offer my positive vision for the future of America.

I see a future for our nation that involves every American. A future in which different views are allowed and not censored. I see a time when the government listens to its boss: the people.

I see a future that leaves no one sitting on the street, wondering from where his or her next meal is coming, and where he or she can go to escape an encroaching thunderstorm. The people of this great nation will join hands in the common goal of ending homelessness and poverty for all those who do not choose it.

I see a future in which the sick are given adequate treatment regardless of their insurance. All Americans will be guaranteed health care by the government, both preventative care and care for the treatment of illnesses. No longer will tax payers be required to pay a premium for their own insurance and pick up the "tab" for those who cannot pay.

I see a future nation that brings out the best in its citizens by encouraging them. A citizenry that believes, in the face of adversity, that all is not lost. A people who look foward to tomorrow without fear of destruction.

I see a future in which I and my children will be able to visit foreign nations and be proud to call ourselves "Americans." A future world that is more unified by the common cause of peace than divided over ideological views of defense. A time when we see the end of "Wal-Mart" patriotism* and a return to real "moral" purpose.

I see a future nation that grants the same opportunities to all of its citizens, regardless of race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation; not as a privilege, but as a birth right. A nation that recognizes the freedom of all people to choose the "how" and "what" of their lives at will, as long as it does not conflict with the freedom of others. A country that leads the world in human rights instead of "bringing up the rear."

I see a future populace that values schools more than prisons, the environment more than a "quick buck," and peace more than war--a nation of individuals who, with few exceptions, have their priorities in order.

I see a future in which we will celebrate each other. Difference will be considered a value. We will spend more time in discussion than in argument. Love will cross all boundaries and philosophies.

I see a future that has as its base the defense of freedom. No one will call for limits to liberty, and everyone will support the liberation of the oppressed throughout the world. Military might will no longer be used for invasion, but for assistance.

*"Wal-Mart" patriotism--The type of "patriotism" that is expressed by a $15 flag, a $2 bumper sticker, and gratuitous recitation of The Star Spangled Banner and "The Pledge of Allegiance."

I hope that Democrats and liberals in general start talking about these issues soon. Trust me, I understand the desire to destroy President Bush, but there are more important things. This vision points to general, optimistic, progressive themes that we feel are crucial. They represent the best thoughts of a majority of Americans. We have the best platform to ensure the realization of this future, and the American public needs to hear that.

Friday, July 25, 2003

Yoda for President?

Follow this link for proof positive that Dick Gephardt is "literally" turning into Yoda.

"Against the war, I was."

photo courtesy of C-SPAN

Osama who?

Has anybody else noticed the convenient absence of Osama bin Laden from nightly news coverage? Man! This administration is good!

I remember less that a year ago how hard it was to go through 30 minutes of cable news coverage without hearing something about the "most wanted" terrorist in the world. Now you would think that Saddam Hussein magically absorbed all of Osama's "evil," and killing him will end the threat of terror.

At least Uday and Qusay are gone. Maybe George Bush will absorb their "evil" and become our "Uber-lord." Come on, when the American people wake up and realize that this entire operation was a political attempt to divert our attention from a less than successful "war on terror."

Thankfully, not all of us are fooled.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Clinton and Bush

It is not all that surprising to see former President Clinton defending the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. After all, Bill Clinton is still trying to build a legacy. A legacy that doesn't judge him too harshly on his dishonesty and personal failures. For Clinton to "call out" George W. Bush for lying would be like the "pot calling the kettle black." Neither is the former Prez worried about hurting the public standing of the Democratic presidential contenders. It would be a lot harder for Hillary to run against an incumbent in the primaries in 2008.

Don't get me wrong, I love Bill Clinton (platonically, of course). But I have never said that everything he says is the "gospel." He needs to get used to the fact that he is no longer the leader of the Democratic party. Bill, thank you for making this country a better place in which to live. Your recent statements, however, might convince enough impressionable individuals to cast their vote for a man who is obviously leading our nation down the wrong path. If this continues to be your PR mode, perhaps it is best that you stay out of politics until WE call you.

Thank You,
"The Democratic wing of the Democratic Party"

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

The New Conservative "Spin Doctors"

I remember the Clinton years very fondly. As I have said, I didn't agree with many of President Clinton's positions, but he had an eye for economics, and the passion to get things done. During these years, however, the moderates and conservatives in the press called the administration officials who "cruised" the talk-show circuit, "spin doctors." Conservatives in particular were hostile with these so-called "doctors," and tore them apart on conservative-friendly talk shows.

We have now seen a switch. Democrats have lost control of both the legislative and executive branches of government. Their voices are hardly a whisper compared to the booming rhetoric coming from the "right."

Now that Democrats have decided to question a Republican administration on their policies, Republicans are hitting the talk-show circuit becoming "spin doctors" for the Bushies.

Friday, July 18, 2003

misStatement of the Union

Recent controversy over the President's "State of the Union" address prompted me to investigate the speech further. I have presented some of the more disturbing moments and, just for fun, have added some commentary. I will admit that some of my points are "picky," but hey, we hold the President to a higher standard (or so I've been told). Enjoy!

We will work for a prosperity that is broadly shared, and we will answer every danger and every enemy that threatens the American people.

We won’t share with the poor, the homeless, and the non-tax paying lower class. People of unfortunate circumstances don't deserve our prosperity...they didn't earn it.
Every danger? We attacked Iraq without physical provocation, yet North Korea builds nuclear weapons that could be attached to rockets that could reach California.

...we will not pass along our problems to other Congresses, to other presidents, and other generations.

But it’s okay to have a $455 billion deficit and increase the national debt to record numbers, because no future government will have to deal with that.

To bring our economy out of recession, we delivered the largest tax relief in a generation.

Funny, our economy came out of recession just fine after Bush (41) and Clinton passed sweeping tax increases. Yet our economy continued to falter after both Reagan and Bush (43) passed record tax relief packages. Hmm, maybe there’s something to this "fiscal responsibility" thing after all.

...we are holding corporate criminals to account.

Yep, that Martha Stewart really had it coming...what was she thinking giving herself a .0001% raise and deceiving investors. Mr. Lay’s day is coming, about 35 years or so. All he did was ruin the lives and retirement accounts of a couple thousand people.

The tax relief is for everyone who pays income taxes -- and it will help our economy immediately...

Did you hear that: immediately! Like ten years from now. Semantics!

Our plan will improve the bottom line for more than 23 million small businesses

Someone needs to inform Bush that most businesses don’t look at income taxes in their bottom line. For a definition of “bottom line”: gross income minus gross expenses. State license fees, yes. Operating costs, yes. Income taxes (although painful) are a springtime inconvenience for most companies, even small ones.

It's fair to tax a company's profits. It is not fair to again tax the shareholder on the same profits. (emphasis mine)

The old "double taxation" line! Dividend taxes are only “double taxation” if based on direct profits. Dividends typically come from profits based on stock performance, related to, but not directly attained from sales. Any money that changes hands is potentially subject to taxation. That also goes for the so-called "Death" tax.

The best way to address the deficit and move toward a balanced budget is to encourage economic growth, and to show some spending discipline in Washington, D.C.

I couldn’t agree more.

I will send you a budget that increases discretionary spending by 4 percent next year

Wait a second, wouldn’t that be around $80-100 billion in increases. There’s more than that outlined in this speech, not to mention the cost of occupation in Iraq and the exorbitant increases in defense spending that have recently been discussed.

Yet for many people, medical care costs too much -- and many have no coverage at all. These problems will not be solved with a nationalized health care system that dictates coverage and rations care.

Valid statement, if taken ideologically, but "nationalized" health care by its very nature would cover all citizens of the U.S. and control costs.

To improve our health care system, we must address one of the prime causes of higher cost, the constant threat that physicians and hospitals will be unfairly sued.

The “primest” cause of higher health care costs is greed and unchecked power. Certainly, there are frivolous law suits against health care establishments, but not enough to cause a significant rise in all health care costs. Besides, who is to define "fairness" except the justice system? It is the place of courts to hear all law suits and judge those cases based on their merits.

I ask you to protect infants at the very hour of their birth and end the practice of partial-birth abortion.

Oh, yes, I think it would be much better for them to die outside the womb and possibly take the mother with them. Our priorities for human life are skewed. We (meaning the general populace) tend to put more importance on the life of an infant or fetus than we put on its parents.

And because no human life should be started or ended as the object of an experiment, I ask you to set a high standard for humanity, and pass a law against all human cloning.

Truth be told, most of us started as the object of an experiment (big laughs). Honestly, what is the big stink about human cloning? One day, cloning technology could be more important than the toaster.

We have confronted, and will continue to confront, HIV/AIDS in our own country.

Yet it goes against principle to increase funding for AIDS research.

...outlaw regimes that seek and possess nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons...could also give or sell those weapons to terrorist allies, who would use them without the least hesitation.

First of all, nobody is going to “give” these things away. Secondly, if Saddam Hussein is suspected to have sold weapons to terrorists over the last two years, why haven’t they tried to use them? I guess it depends on your definition of “hesitation.”

Now, in this century, the ideology of power and domination has appeared again...And we accept this responsibility.

Yes, this was taken out of context, but it’s pretty funny that the words were so close together...continuing.

...the course of this nation does not depend on the decisions of others.

Apparently not.

The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.

First sentence to be proven wrong from this speech, although the administration still calls it “technically correct.” There will be more, I assure you.

Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production.

Questionable intelligence? Some intelligence people have dismissed this claim as well. They cite reports that conclude the tubes could be used more readily in conventional weaponry.

He clearly has much to hide

Of whom are we speaking? If it’s Saddam, he hid it so well that noone, not even people who worked with him, can find anything. I wonder if Saddam could have found the weapons to use them.

The only possible explanation, the only possible use he could have for those weapons, is to dominate, intimidate, or attack.

First of all, I don’t want to come off like I’m defending Saddam Hussein, but he did rule a country in the Middle East. Weapons are usually a security item, not simply for use in domination.

Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications, and statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al Qaeda.

Yet again, a case that’s hard to prove. Luckily for Bush, it’s also hard to disprove, which is why it was such a big part of the case for war.

[speaking to the Iraqi people] Your enemy is not surrounding your country -- your enemy is ruling your country. And the day he and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation.

Now as far as most liberals are concerned, this should have been the case for invasion. It would have immediately put us in the role of nation-building (which the President condemns) and given the Iraqi people something for which to hope. The WMD “distraction” was a way to make war more palatable for the nations neoconservatives who will ultimately decide the fate of George Bush's political life.

Sending Americans into battle is the most profound decision a President can make.

Apparently not so profound as to bring forth a good case or iron-clad evidence.

We seek peace. We strive for peace. And sometimes peace must be defended.

This is just bullshit! No president ever got re-elected for refusing to go to war.

And if war is forced upon us, we will fight with the full force and might of the United States military -- and we will prevail.

Very true, except war was not forced upon us. We forced war upon the world.

The liberty we prize is not America's gift to the world, it is God's gift to humanity.

Just a disagreement on the nature of God here. God apparently got in no hurry to extend liberty to the world. After all we are arguably the first “free” country in the world, and we are only 226 years old. Technically speaking, "liberty" was the gift of the "Enlightenment" age which had a distinctly "anti-religion" vibe to it.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

The Shrinking Democratic Field

Their going to start dropping like flies in a few months, and Howard Dean won't be one of them. Amazingly enough, the former Governor from a small, white, rural state has enough money to keep him in the race for a long time. Dennis Kucinich is too much of an ideologue to raise broad-based support (and money). Al Sharpton--who I like, by the way--is unfortunately tied to his pre-candidacy allegiance to the NAACP and Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. In other words, he might scare the rich whities. Carol Moseley-Braun looks to be having too much fun to win anything. She is eloquent and progressive, but not passionate, and not bold enough to make a dent. All three of these candidates will most likely be out by early fall--with the possible exception of Kucinich.

The "establishment" candidates--with the exception of Kerry who has lots of money, if little passion and few "hot button" issues--look like sitting ducks, unsure of where the money will come from, and when their issues will become the issues of the day. Joe Lieberman in particular looks foolish considering his stance on Iraq, and his consistent unwillingness to stand up for progressive ideas. Graham and Edwards have failed to branch out of their home states (important though they are).

(Aside)...Is it just me or does Dick Gephardt look more and more like Yoda everyday?

Don't get me wrong, I will vote for whoever makes it out of the pack next spring, but my primary vote will go for Howard Dean. Unfortunately, I live in Kentucky where the primary is in late spring, so the nominee will most likely be chosen by that time. Depressing yes, but many of you who live in more important nominating states can make a difference for the Democratic party. Vote for Howard Dean and take a stand for principles that can make our country a great place in which to live, again.

Monday, July 14, 2003

Intelligence, The White House, and WMD's

Talk about backtracking...the White House's latest argument for the inclusion of the uranium/Africa connection in Iraq is priceless. Roughly quoted, all administration officials ("Condi" Rice, Ari Fleischer, Don Rumsfield, etc.) are saying that the statement was technically correct: Code for "we did it on purpose." Because the statement was credited to British intelligence and they had not yet falsified the information, it was excuseable, if not foolhardy, to leave the comment in the speech. Besides (they say) it was just "16 words." Bullshit!! We never depend on foreign intelligence that contradicts our own. They knew it was wrong when they said it but said it anyway because they knew they could use this argument if the statement gave them trouble. If Clinton had done this, the Congress would already be in impeachment hearings--after all, he lost the trust of the public over eleven words. When will America wake up and realize that this administration will stop at nothing to impose its "doctrine" on us. They have been caught in this instance and will be caught again I assure you.

On a similar note: Where are the weapons? I have a feeling that if WMD's are not found in the next few weeks, this "uranium in Africa" story might just swallow any chance of President Bush's election chances. I love this possibility but am sad that it had to come at so high a price. The death of hundreds of our soldiers and the loss of credibility in the world are not acceptable. Whoever becomes President in 2005 has to heal this nation and reverse the horrible predicament in which we now find ourselves.

Saturday, July 12, 2003


The number of soldiers lost since May 1st in Iraq...72.

The amount of deficit in the federal budget...$400 billion.

The national debt at the time of this post...$6,659,226,260,487.87.

The number of well-known, false justifications for war in the State of the Union address...1.

Having enough ammunition to unseat George W. Bush...priceless.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Bush in Africa

Isn't it great to see George Bush continually taking pages out of Bill Clinton's game book? At a time when the President's approval numbers are high, yet slipping, it is fun to watch him steal Democratic platform projects such as Medicare prescription coverage and money for AIDS prevention and treatment in Africa. Now he is visiting Africa much like Bill Clinton did some five years ago.

Let's be honest, it is great that President Bush is stepping off the war train for a few days and tossing some bread crumbs to the African continent. I feel privileged to have a President who understands the plight of the African people and is apologetic for the long history of slavery that scarred relations between our people.

Give me a break! The party that ended slavery but then decided to give re-segregationism a try in the 1960's is apologetic of slavery? Try some real action for once. How about funding the so-called African AIDS relief program? How about not using words like "quota" to describe the now extinct admissions policies of the University of Michigan? How about offering universal health care to the poor of this nation, many of whom are of African descent? This PR tour may be fooling some weak-minded individuals, but intelligent, rational people in this country will see right through this diversion.

Democrats will keep a majority of the "black" vote in this country for the foreseeable future. Until Republicans offer something in the way of honest aid to people of color in this nation, I will hardly believe their integrity with regards to aiding the people of the African continent.

Saturday, July 05, 2003

Liberal Suicide?

I have been disturbed over the past few months (no comments, please) that the press is undermining the efforts of "progressives" to gain the attention of the electorate. Even now, after the undeniable success of Howard Dean in the Democratic primary, news pundits are still talking about him like he is a long-shot for nomination. They compare him to McGovern and Mondale, saying that he would prove a "very risky choice" for the Democratic party: potential liberal suicide.

This characterization shows not only disrespect for McGovern and Mondale's honest (yet futile) attempts to take the Presidency, but it also shows a lack of knowledge about the electorate. The most recent Supreme Court rulings should give some clue to that change. Even though the overall "conservatism" of the court is undeniable, they have reached some increasingly moderate to liberal-minded decisions in regards to sodomy laws and affirmative action (albeit typically a 5-4 vote). Polls indicate that an increasing number of Americans (particularly youth) support the idea of equal rights for gays and a decreasing number of Americans are affiliated with extreme views on abortion. The religious right, to which George Bush owes much of his success, is faltering. The center (moderates/independents) of the electorate is leaning more to the left than in the previous three decades. Considering these facts, it is hard to imagine a rout on par with the Nixon vs. McGovern or Reagan vs. Mondale next year, particularly when you consider Howard Dean is a pro-gun, fiscally responsible (some say conservative) candidate running on a progressive social platform.

If it values ratings, the press will rethink its coverage of this election before it gets into full swing. Bush could win re-election--that's always possible, but not because Democrats choose to define themselves apart from the extreme right in politics and embrace liberals and progressives. Where we (Democrats) typically lose is in our ability to organize and energize voters, something Howard Dean has already proven he can do. If the press continues this type of coverage, they could be "eating crow" for some time to come.

Patriotism and Independence Day

We sure are patriotic, aren't we? Ever since 9/11, Americans have hidden behind the flag and justified anger. Patriotism was considered a weakness by our liberal forefathers. In fact, Thomas Jefferson is noted as saying, "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism (italics mine)." This was not a definition of patriotism, but rather a slap, a sarcastic condemnation of patriotism. Our founding fathers (the majority, anyway) viewed our new "republic" as an evolving "beast" that gave control to the general populace to change any policy not consistent with current ideals. They certainly did not see the development of an ever-growing imperialistic "power" like the country from which they declared their independence. We were to be a loose collective of rational, scientific-minded idealists ever searching for a better way through discussion and action. That is why we have Constitutional protection of speech. That is why peaceful protest and assembly can never be denied (yes, even burning the flag). We have semi-democratic elections to ensure the best government for the current population (I say semi-democratic because of our use of the electoral college in selecting the President and Vice President--the only offices elected by said process). Ideally, our evolution should never end if we stand by our forefathers dreams. Some of the "powers that be," however, would undermine this process, and in doing so, doom our nation to the fate of Rome and Greece by usurping (a word I never use) our rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

I consider myself a "patriot," if only to deny sole use of the word for people who adhere to a specific and narrow-minded view of this nation. Patriotism, as defined by our forefathers, is the lack of patriotism. Once you become satisfied with the state of the union, you defeat the very process of evolution that insures its survival.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Gay Marriage

First of all, I am a heterosexual, married to a lovely woman (just celebrated 3 years), and have a beautiful baby girl.

Since when am I special?

I am offended on behalf of homosexuals when I hear some "conservative moral law officer" talking about this topic. They use words that I heard often when I belonged to a Southern Baptist church. The problem is this: legal issues and moral issues are seperate in the eyes of the Constitution. Our liberal forefathers probably never gave a thought to the issue of gay marriage (or many issues we deal with daily). There are, however, barriers between purely religious beliefs and legal rights.

1. Churches cannot be forced to sanctify or legitimize gay marriage.

2. They cannot legally be forced to marry homosexuals within their walls or even using their ministers.

3. Moroever, religious institutions are not and will not be required to meet the same hiring and admitting standards of other, non-religious, for-profit businesses and organizations.

But by the same token, churches, synagogues, and mosques cannot enforce their moral "philosophies" on the legal definitions used by our courts.

The state of Vermont recognizes what they call "civil unions" between same-sex partners to the benefit of their society. As a result, many states have passed or are considering bills that would disallow "civil unions" brought about in other states or countries (Canada?) from being recognized in their states. I live in one such state, as many of you do. This is an issue that will be brought before the courts and I believe "civil unions" will be upheld.

Score: Constitution-one; religious right-zero.

Rant #1

What is up with the press' coverage of the Democratic primary? I find it ridiculous and personally insulting that the entire media industry (liberal, moderate, and conservative) is still calling Howard Dean a "liberal" and "unable to win in the general election." Although not entirely decided myself, I believe that anyone who can come from "unknown" to leading the pack in fundraising deserves the attention of a major candidate. Every liberal or left-leaning moderate in the country should take a personal affront to their statements. True, liberals don't vote. True, no liberal candidate has won the presidency since FDR. "The times they are a'changin'." No longer should liberals take a back seat to the prevailing view that we are a minority in the political landscape. We should take pride in what we believe and understand that we can change the political climate in this country if we choose. I am calling on all liberal Democrats to make a statement in the upcoming Presidential primaries, and I am calling on all like-minded, unaffiliated people to make a statement in the 2004 general election. We have a lot more power than the press gives us, and we should make it our personal goal to shock the Hell out of the Bush campaign next year when we hand them the keys to the street. Go HOWARD DEAN! Make us proud!