Minnesota Liberal

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Message from the Doc

Chuck Olson, over at New Patriot, posted this message from Howard Dean in the comments of a post today. It did wonders in helping me recover from my post-election hangover.

Montana, one of the reddest states, has a new Democratic governor.

First-time candidates for state legislatures from Hawaii to Connecticut beat incumbent Republicans.

And a record number of us voted to change course -- more Americans voted against George Bush than any sitting president in history.

Today is not an ending.

Regardless of the outcome yesterday, we have begun to revive our democracy. While we did not get the result we wanted in the presidential race, we laid the groundwork for a new generation of Democratic leaders.

Democracy for America trained thousands of organizers and brought new leadership into the political process. And down the ballot, in state after state, we elected Dean Dozen candidates who will be the rising stars of the Democratic Party in years ahead.

Tens of millions of us are disappointed today because we put so much of ourselves into this election. We donated money, we talked to friends, we knocked on doors. We invested ourselves in the political process.

That process does not end today. These are not short-term investments. We will only create lasting change if that sense of obligation and responsibility becomes a permanent part of our lives.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

We will not be silent.

Thank you for everything you did for our cause in this election. But we are not stopping here.

Governor Howard Dean, M.D.

I was at the Democracy for America party last night at Kieran's pub in downtown Minneapolis. All the people involved with that group are so full of excitement and determination. It is great hanging out with them and sharing a few pints... even in defeat.

(p.s. A shot of Irish whiskey in a pint of Harp sounds like a good idea when you candidate is behind... but I don't think it was Kerry's loss that made me sick this morning)


Post-Election Stress Disorder

I have read so many conservative blogs today criticizing us lefties of complaining, being bitter, and angry about this loss to President Bush. I will conceed to being all of the above. I also admit that there seems to be more conservatives in this country than I had imagined. Their voices apparently outnumber those such as my own.

And maybe George W. Bush does best represent those 51%.

But he must also represent me; and the similar 48% of our population.

Politics, like religion, is often taken very personally. I woke up this morning afraid of what the election of people like Bush, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, and Jim DeMint of South Carolina could mean for my personal rights as a gay man. I woke up frightened that those 11 states that passed gay-marriage bans were representative of this country as a whole. And I worried about what that would mean for the family I hope to one day create with my partner.

I believe those politicians have every right to their beliefs. I believe every voter in those 11 states had the right to that opinion. And I don't believe that that they are evil, mean, or anti-American. It is the diversity of opinions that make this country so strong.

And no matter what those politicians that I disagree with do... I still have my freedom of speech as well. Sometimes it is angry, or full of rage... and sometimes it is not. Isn't this country great?


On the road to tolerance

Many of Senator Kerry's supporters have found a scapegoat for Ohio and the election loss to President Bush. That goat is gay marriage. It may not be a widely discussed opinion, and it certainly will not be a public discussion- but I can guarantee that almost all Democratic communications specialists are blaming gay marriage. I heard it when I worked for the Minnesota DFL during the campaign and I am sure the election results have only strengthened that opinion.

I have two major problems with this issue being used as a scapegoat.

The first would be the natural tendency for the issue to morph from "gay marriage" to "gay activism". There are major differences between the two. You can't blame the gay community for the dirty gay baiting the Republicans chose to use. As Michael at AmericaBlog wrote on gay marriage:

Gays and lesbians did not push the issue forward and did not press Kerry to be more forthright. It gained national prominence because of court rulings and the natural desire of U.S. citizens to claim their basic civil rights. The Bush campaign played on hate and bigotry -- constantly making gay slurs about Kerry and Edwards, passing out fliers in some states that lied and said Kerry would allow gay marriage and ban the Bible, going back on his word and pushing a Constitutional Amendment that for the first time would take away basic civil rights of Americans rather than bringing new people to the table and the list goes on. Gays didn't lose Kerry the election. But hatred and bigotry against gay Americans certainly helped Bush win.

My second reason is far simpler- those Bush voters really didn't share Kerry's values. They don't share my values. And we don't need them.

If they want a candidate who will help write discrimination into the constitution... they chose the right man. People who voted for Bush are content in supporting the reversal of Roe vs. Wade. They are content with the government intruding into peoples personal lives. They are content with the mixing of state and religion.

Ohio has had massive job loss, and yet in some of the counties that were worst off... they still voted for Bush. Apparently for these voters and others around the country, the only thing worse than losing a job, taking a pay cut, or losing your benefits is... gay marriage/abortion/etc.

If only I could believe this to be a sarcastic exaggeration, but alas... it is true.
From Andrew Sullivan:

The single most important issue for Republican voters, according to exit polls, was not the war on terror or Iraq or the economy. It was "moral values."

It is my belief that in the near future these attitudes will change; at least in reqards to same-sex equality. I am part of a generation that believes sexuality is not a morality issue, but instead one of biology. And while we may have a difficult road with this President... every Presidential election is a step towards a more tolerant future.