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Why can't the
Democrats be Democrats?

Why can't the
Democrats be Democrats?


This TV writer is mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. What's the matter with the party he has supported so long? What's so difficult about standing up for what's right? Like, for example, marriage equality. An open letter calling for the ABCs of politics: action, backbone, and clarity.

Democrats are lying. To themselves. As a lifelong, donation-giving Democrat, and a staunch and proud liberal, I have, alas, had it up to the gills with my party.

Let's talk about same-sex marriage, since that's the nonissue the Republicans have effectively used to scare the Democrats. I worked hard for John Kerry and the party in 2004, but I was nauseated by his "I support civil unions, but not marriage" foolishness--happily offering gay and lesbian people who love one another a seat in the middle of the bus.

I was equally offended by Kerry's ridiculous "I believe marriage is between a man and a woman" statement. Really? Says who? His priest? His president?

I don't believe Kerry means it. He was afraid of losing votes. And if he actually does believe that, then he's not the man I thought he was, and what's more, he's wrong--and all you Democrats out there know it.

Fifty years ago, most politicians in this country believed that blacks were lesser individuals than whites--but that wasn't right. A hundred years ago, it was women. Wrong again. This insane pandering to Christian conservatives was, and continues to be, the party's Achilles' heel in its embarrassing attempt to win votes from people who will never vote for them.

Where is the passion? Where is the leadership? I used to think Howard Dean had it, but then he goes and does that idiotic whoring to The 700 Club! What on earth is he thinking? That they'll actually vote Democratic because Dean is against same-sex marriage? Is Dean's new master plan to trade the LGBT vote for the evangelical vote? It won't work, Howard. You're just going to lose everyone.

John F. Kennedy didn't pander to anyone on the civil rights issue. He said what he knew was right. Why don't the Democrats come out and plainly say that marriage is a legal contract that ought to apply to any two adults who want to enter into it? That's why marriage licenses are given out at City Halls, and not at churches. There. Done.

When a Democrat finally does put out a statement about same-sex marriage, it is so fraught with "language" that I have to read it three times before I can figure out whether they're in favor of it or not. They read like a patent law or Scott McClellan doublespeak rather than an impassioned stance by someone who is willing to go into battle for me.

And that is what I expect of my representatives in Washington--especially in this time of near-theocracy in our country. I want to hear Democrats stand up and loudly and passionately and clearly state that they are pro-human rights, pro-gay rights, pro-same-sex marriage rights, and pro-choice!

And while they're at it--evolution and global warming and the Big Bang are not theories! Oh, and thunder is not the angels bowling. I want to hear the Democrats denounce the Republicans' attack on the poor! Denounce this administration's handling of every single domestic crisis and issue since the White House was taken in the political coup of 2000.

Democrats have to stop being verbose or thoughtful or strategic. They shouldn't be standing on the sidelines waiting mutely for the Republicans to self-destruct. They should be furious! Bush and his cronies have destroyed our country--our international credibility, our human rights standing, our military pride, our economy, our educational system, our health care, our workforce, our environment--all while making themselves and their pals rich! And they're so damn obvious about it! Adding insult to injury, Bush then has the nerve to announce that we're "addicted to oil"? No! Really? As if Karl Rove had just invented the idea that morning! Gore was talking about alternative energy sources back in the '90s! And idea that seems to have only just now occurred to Bush. Of course, Al wouldn't campaign on it, due to some moronic advice from "Democratic consultants" who seem to have some kind of magic wand that turns every viable candidate we have into mewling kittens.

It seems like we haven't stuck by a strong opinion since Clinton caved on gays in the military during his first 10 minutes in office. But, honestly, wouldn't all Democrats (and most Americans, according to recent polls) rather see the commander in chief get orally serviced from every employee in the White House than watch this administration rape our country for the past six years?

Bill Clinton left us with a federal budget surplus, and today we have a deficit of $300 billion! Why haven't the Democrats written that on the sky? For God's sake, they impeached Clinton for lying about having sex! Dubya lied about going to war! (Among many other things, including leaking classified information to the press.) Where are the shouts for impeachment? You can bet that's what they would've done, had it been the other way around.

We have got to be as tough and as pragmatic as they are. Say what you will about Frist or Santorum or DeLay or any one of them--and I do, often and to anyone who'll listen--but their supporters know what they stand for. Why can't our candidates be as loud and as clear?

For the life of me, half the time I can't figure out what our candidates stand for! Forget "having a plan." That's stage 2. Stage 1? What do we stand for? How about unity? The Democratic Party stands for unity. The other guys are clearly isolationists. They want to go to war? To hell with what our allies or the U.N. says, we go to war--unjustly and based on lies, but we go!

Does anybody believe we would have invaded Iraq if Al Gore had been president? Even assuming that he, like Bush, would have ignored the warnings that led to 9/11 (though he probably wouldn't have) my guess is that by now Osama would be in custody instead of Saddam. We wouldn't have turned Iraq into Terrorist Training Central, killing tens of thousands of innocent people in the process. And the incredible worldwide compassion that was ours in the weeks after the attack on our country would still be there. The Kyoto Accord would be a reality. Global warming would begin to reverse. The world would physically have been a different place. It would have been grounded in unity, because only through unity can we succeed as a nation, as a species, and as a planet.

For crying out loud, it's the name of our country! The United States!

Democrats, wake up! Why can't the you sound more like Jon Stewart or Bill Maher? They're smart and angry and concise and very clear about what they're saying: that these monsters in Washington are destroying everything Americans hold dear--literally life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Yet we stand by while they hurl the Bible at us--the Bible! Y'know what Jesus talked about more than anything? Feeding the poor! Taking care of the sick. Loving thy neighbor. Even the non-Christian ones.

And why on earth do we even allow Republicans to talk about the Bible? As American University law professor Jamie Raskin recently pointed out, when a public servant takes an oath of office, they put their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution--they do not put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible!

We are not a theocracy (yet) and do not abide by God's laws except where they intersect with ours. Why? Because God gave us the ability to think, to evolve, to grow and learn and change and love--and the Founding Fathers knew that. They knew we had more going for us than opposable thumbs. They were enlightened believers in God, not fundamentalist theocrats spouting dogma.

Can you picture Pat Robertson signing the Declaration of Independence? I don't think so. He would've been the guy burning witches! The men who created our democracy used their God-given power to think, and with it, they changed the world. Without it, we would simply kill and eat anything weaker than ourselves--wait, I think that's George Bush's foreign policy initiative.

So c'mon, Dems: Passion. Conviction. CLARITY. Honesty. Step up! The stage is set. Don't be elected by default, because the other guys have finally screwed up so badly that you're just the lesser of two evils. Win by doing what Democrats have always done: Stand up for what is right. That's how you get landslides and mandates! And do it loud!

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff & Wayne Brady

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Jack Kenny