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Location: Douglas, Coffee Co., The Other Georgia, United States

Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Monday, December 27, 2004

When the Dean speaks, the Democratic Party better listen, Part I. - Same-sex marriage & abortion. Part II is Sid's response to the Dean.

Bill Shipp, never one to mince words, speaks. His latest column follows (my response to his thoughts appears in the post that follows):

Democratic Party should work on its agenda before deciding on its candidates

By Bill Shipp

Two 800-pound gorillas sat in the room with the Georgia Democratic Executive Committee in Atlanta last weekend as it met to chart a new course in the wake of its party's devastating election losses. Most of the assembled Democrats tried to pretend the beasts were not there.

Named Gay Marriage and Abortion Rights, the gorillas remained silent wallflowers as old-timers Bert Lance and Andy Young told stories of the party's golden years. Bobby Kahn led cheers for future greatness.

Talk filled the air about targeting voters, recruiting candidates, raising money and even selecting a new national party chairman.

But no ranking Democrat addressed the gorillas and the concerns that their presence raises:

"What are we going to do about gay rights and abortions? These issues are killing our party."

No Democratic leader dared say:

"Republicans laugh at us and call us the party of the blacks because we count so heavily on the African-American vote. And we do. But, as usual, the Republicans are wrong. The Democratic Party is in danger of losing black votes by the thousands for one simple reason. We have become the party not of African Americans - but of gays and abortionists. That is how we are most identified. Those issues do not resonate in the black community any better than they work in white communities. We saw the beginning of serious slippage among black votes in last month's election. Part of the reason: Blacks object to gays and abortions."

Perhaps no one addressed the "two gorillas problem" because gay and women activists are core Democratic constituents.

Both gay and women's rights representatives attended the 40-member executive committee meeting. No modern, dedicated Democrat would suggest that the party abandon support of either group. Helping women and protecting the rights of all people are as much a part of the party's reason for existence as guarding the working classes and protecting the environment.

But "gay" and "abortion" have become luminous threads woven into the state and national Democratic banner. Mention gay rights, think Democrat. Say pro-abortion, think Democrat.

What is wrong with Democrats? Can't they see that a high-profile part of their agenda has become poison to many nonpartisan voters?

In his losing presidential bid, Democratic Sen. John Kerry spoke guardedly three times against legalizing gay marriages. Meanwhile, polls showed Americans in staggering numbers solidly opposed validating same-sex wedding vows.

Former President Bill Clinton, easily the most talented politician among Democrats, suggested Kerry would have fared better speaking 3,000 times, instead of just three, against gay nuptials.

Democrats should not blame Republicans for injecting the gay issue into the campaigns. Democrats inflicted the problem upon themselves. Just as the 2004 election campaigns heated up, some homosexual leaders - nearly all of them Democrats - decided to go for broke on gaining court approval for weddings for gay couples. It was a suicidal move. Yet no ranking Democrats ventured to suggest that organized homosexuals were undercutting the only major political force that tolerates and welcomes them.

As for abortions, Democrats have allowed Republicans to turn the issue of "a woman's choice" into an up-or-down decision on performing abortions. The abortion judgment is never that simple, as any affected woman or doctor or parent or pastor can testify.

Yet everybody in both parties speaks of being "pro-abortion" or "anti-abortion." The less definite "pro-choice" has disappeared from the 21st-century political lexicon.

Posting the Ten Commandments in public buildings raises a similar problem for the world's oldest political party. The American Civil Liberties Union, as firmly identified with the Democratic Party as the AFL-CIO, goes ballistic whenever someone suggests displaying the commandments in even a remote county courthouse.

Is the ACLU crazy or what? Voters may not live by the commandments, but they certainly believe posting them in public buildings does more good than harm. A public showing of the Ten Commandments only becomes a big deal when left-wingers decide to make it one. Legal rants against displaying biblical passages create an anti-Christian aura - not a wise move in a predominantly Christian state, regardless of First Amendment considerations.

As long as bigwigs in the state and national Democratic parties tiptoe around the far-out lefties among them, their organizations are dead ducks. Democrats have little hope of regaining power either in Georgia or the nation.

Secretary of State Cathy Cox's rejection of an invitation to join the Republican Party frankly surprised some of us. Why would she decline to become a powerful force for change in the state's dominant political party? Why would she remain active in what may be evolving into a dead-end organization of ding-a-lings who defend homosexual weddings and easy-to-get abortions and oppose publishing biblical admonitions?

At last weekend's meeting, Democrats batted around names for national chairman to be elected next year and for candidates for governor in 2006. They might be better served by putting the candidate list aside and working instead on getting their agenda in tune with the rest of the state and nation.


Blogger Patrick ONeill said...

"Is the ACLU crazy or what? Voters may not live by the commandments, but they certainly believe posting them in public buildings does more good than harm. A public showing of the Ten Commandments only becomes a big deal when left-wingers decide to make it one"

No the ACLU isn't crazy - they believe, correctly, that seperation of church and state is important, and that posting religious tracts in courhouses does much more harm than good - especially if you happen to be a non-christian appearing in those courts.

Surely a lawyer can understand this ?

What I don't understand is why, considering your hostility towards gay rights and non-christian rights or, it seems, most anything that is not part of the southern christian "majority" you remain with the Democratic party ?

The Repubs have cornered the market on bigotry- you can't expect the Dems to be the "we are bigots too" party and convince the voters you're sincere.

9:37 AM  
Blogger Sid Cottingham said...

For the record Mr. ONeill, your comment is the first time I have ever had anyone say that I have "hostility towards gay rights." Page two

If you really believe that I have hostility "towards non-christian rights" as you put it, I think it is you and not me that needs to consider whether you fit in and want to "remain with the Democratic party."

I have a number of very close gay friends and acquaintances. And having been born colorblind, raised in a Christian family, brought up to respect the rights and feelings of others, I do my best to try to live by the Golden Rule and follow the words of the Master and Greatest Teacher of all times who tells us in Matthew 7:1 "Judge not, that ye not be judged."

Our Party is the only major political force that respects the rights of others to have different lifestyles and religious beliefs or the lack thereof. Such respect, however, does not mean we are forbidden in expressing our beliefs. And get ready. While you may not approve, we are proud of our Judeo-Christian heritage, and do not believe it is something on which the GOP has a monopoly.

My Part II is being posted after I read and responded to this comment. Post done at 11:25 a.m. Monday.

11:26 AM  
Blogger Patrick ONeill said...

"For the record Mr. ONeill, your comment is the first time I have ever had anyone say that I have "hostility towards gay rights.""

Well lets see - you oppose gays rights to marry, or to be in the military or Boys scouts or......

If I am the first to tell you, that doesn't make it less true.

Let's see what else - you support forcing your religion to be part of my national pledge of allegience, you want your religious tracts posted in our courts.

Where does it end - in our Biology classes where they teach Genesis ?

I know that taking principled positions can be unpopular, and even lose elections.
But you cannot wish the culture war away - all that you can do is chose sides.

It sounds as if you really want to side with the bigots and that is a losing position - the Republicans have it covered already, and you can't out-seg em
(or in this case "out 10 Commandments" them the way the Dem supreme court candidate attempted).

The Democratic party is pretty much stuck in its traditional position of standing up for minority rights, even though that has always been an unpopular place to be.

Rather than bemoan the fact that the culture war exists, I would suggest that a better approach would be to try to educate the voters, so they don't think its just the most wonderful thing in the world to elect judges with 10 Commandments embroidered on their robes and teach all about Jonah and the Whale in biology class.

Is this really what you think is good for the country ?

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