Peder D4

Discussion of politics and other odious things

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Coming Marriage Fight

Through Facebook (of all places) I just ran across Marry Me Minnesota. Their description:
Marry Me Minnesota was formed by same-gender couples
wishing to legally marry. It is an all-volunteer organization that
exists solely to sue the State of Minnesota for the right of
same-gender couples to legally marry.
I'm not a fan of using the courts to get gay marriage. I was asked what I would do instead and I thought I'd cross post it here.
I'm no expert here but it seems to me that the greatest gains on public opinion have come when the general populace comes in contact with gay people at work and in everyday locations. In the face of obvious 'just folks' situations, the overly colorful stereotypes fall away. If you want the majority of Minnesotans (and Americans in general) to support gay marriage, the best bet is to defuse the 'other'.
I'd run commercials with testimonials of long time gay couples. Let them speak of the challenges they face without being able to marry. Ask them to emphasize that they want regular marriages like millions of straight people have.
I think this would have a profound effect on the people who still don't personally know anyone gay. I think it could change some minds.
I think that supporters have this hardened idea that opponents are unpersuadable, so why bother trying. That's probably true in some cases but certainly not in all. And what a horrible approach! The Civil Rights fight in the 60's was won because more and more whites thought that discrimination and racism was wrong. It took a very long time (yes, sometimes generations) to make the country colorblind enough to get there.
Gay couples don't have to move public opinion as far as blacks did. They've made good progress so far but not because of court rulings. They've made it because so many more of them are understood as regular people. The more people that see them that way instead of something scary, the better off they will be.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Gay Marriage

I'm a supporter of gay marriage (snapshot reasons: good for gay people as individuals, good for marriage as an institution). I've been following the debate in the wake of the Prop 8 vote in California. Per usual in this discussion, I'm bothered by the vitriol of my fellow supporters. The California blacklist for those who donated to 'Yes' strikes me as pretty thuggish.
There are two basic methods of deciding the law in our country. The first is through the people, either directly (like California's propositions) or indirectly through a legislature. The second method is through judicial rulings.
I'd much rather have difficult social issues work through the people than through judges. It gives them a legitimacy that they otherwise don't have. For instance, the 19th Amendment settled the suffrage question in a way that the courts never could have. And that goes double for the Civil Rights work of the 60's. By comparison, Roe v Wade has made the abortion debate rage hotly ever since it came down (and for the foreseeable future).
When I talk to other supporters, I always notice how heated they get at the idea that mere voters could possibly make decisions on the rights of others. Not quite sure if they understand how the Bill of Rights and the other amendments were set up. I've got one question that I've always wondered about and never gotten a good answer about:
  • If serious issues are only to be decided by judges, what role does the electorate really have in our society?


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Simple Hypocrisy Test

Remember the heat that Bush took over his reinauguration? His critics blasted him for having a lavish event during tough times. Well, the economy is certainly worse today than it was four years ago. This is a golden opportunity for those critics to prove that they weren't just partisan hacks.
It's a simple enough thing to compare the amounts spent between the two. Does anyone think that Obama will underspend the Bush effort from 2005? Think anyone of the prior critics will point out the record breaking fund raising that Obama has already undertaken and ask why he isn't just using that money for the party?
I thought that the criticism of Bush was silly then and I'll only criticize Obama if his gala goes over the top. Inaugurals are big deals and large national events are expensive. Let's see where others come down.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


I'd like to echo some Jonah Goldberg here:
Look, I expect to be one of the most severe critics of the Obama administration and the Democrats generally in the years ahead (though I sincerely hope I won't find that necessary). But Obama ran a brilliant race and he should be congratulated for it. Moreover, during the debate over the financial crisis, Obama said that a president should be able to do more than one thing at a time. Well, I think we members of the loyal opposition should be able to make distinctions simultaneously. It is a wonderful thing to have the first African-American president. It is a wonderful thing that in a country where feelings are so intense that power can be transferred so peacefully. Let us hope that the Obama his most dedicated — and most sensible! — fans see turns out to be the real Obama. Let us hope that Obama succeeds and becomes a great president, for all the right reasons.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Predictions and election day

Might as well try my hand at the prognostication game.
  • Obama wins nationally by about four points. Not sure where he ends up in the electoral college but a decisve win.
  • Coleman wins over Franken by at least five.
  • Minnesota goes for Obama by about ten points.
  • At least two states are still being counted come Wednesday morning with the likely candidates being Pennsylvania and Virginia.
  • Proposition 8 in California fails.
  • Exit polls will be wildly off in some key states.
I decided months ago that I didn't want to vote for McCain. If all you have is a hammer than all problems start to look like nails. If your job is to pass legislation than regulation seems like the answer to life's problems. Plus I still haven't forgiven McCain-Feingold and the tampering with free speech.
I decided that I could only vote for him in good conscience if it was a meaningful anti-Obama vote. I defined that as Minnesota being close enough, say five points. I don't think it's there and that frees me up to vote my heart. Just another benefit of the electoral college.
My biggest wish is that we're spared any kind of prolonged post-election contest. A 2000 style recount would be disastrous for the country. Probably worse than an actual electoral outcome.