CalJunket

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

“Wagner’s music is better than it sounds” syndrome

Ballon Juice is generally an enjoyable blog but today John Cole writes something that just makes me mad.
I am not so sure about the end of the ‘revolution,’ considering I don’t think [Tom Delay and other Republicans] have been behaving like Republicans for a while now.
Isn’t that great? To Cole, the definition of “Republicans behavior” is divorced from “the behavior that Republicans exhibit”. I think that’s pretty much sums up the standard line I keep hearing from Republicans: Don’t judge us by what we do, Judge us by our slogans.

Hopefully, this kind of denial is a stage in long trip to accepting that the conservative god has failed. A commenter on the post above made the parallel between communism and American Conservatism thusly: It looks good on paper, but it doesn’t account for actual human nature.

Sure, you can make a coalition between the Social Security haters and the tax dues haters and the fag haters and the worker’s rights haters and the diplomacy haters and the any-government-unlesss-its-usefull-to-me haters but you know what? When they get their guy elected it turns out that there’s nothing the conservative coalition can do without destroying itself. You can’t cut Social Security without upsetting the bigots, you can’t cut Medicare without upsetting the grannies (in fact you have to make it bigger though in the least efficient way possible!), you can’t cut farm subsidies without upsetting big business, you can’t actually pass a anti-gay-family bill without making the libertarians nervous that they may have to lift a finger to protect the rights of people who aren’t rich.

This isn’t something that’s going to be hashed out in some back room somewhere: Major parts of the coalition are going to have to be cut lose for the other ones to get what they want and that would cause them to lose elections. The Republicans were able to buy time with massive deficit spending but unsustainable borrowing can’t be sustained, nor can they fix it without destroying their coalition.

You know, we Democrats can be feckless at times, but damn, the Republicans bring new meaning to “ineffective”. This isn't a broken party: it's a party that never worked in the first place and can't be fixed.

Let me add that the whole idea of basing your coalition ideology on “government should be small” is silly. I might as well form a coalition to further the ideology of “the economy should be good”. If you don't have an agreement on how to achieve it, it means absolutley nothing. Both liberals and conservatives want to make government smaller, all things being equal. Both have government programs that they love and can’t live without. It’s just that conservatives have been duped by people like DeLay into thinking there’s a party that can provide what they want.

Just don’t get into the specifics.

Update: Matt Yglesias has a post with much the same theme. The Republicans are a party permenetly without an agenda... besides complaining about liberals that is.



Comments:

A few problems with your analysis, Tommaso. A lot of people end up beign Republican because the Democrats don't sell themselves as having the values of the majority of Americans, despite how Christian they are. They end up sellign themselves as the party who doesn;t believe in moral values. WHo the hell runs on that kind of platform? I'm not sayign they don't believe in morals but when they deride poor hick Republicans as "voting against their interests", or "too stupid to vote", or "guided by dumb moral values". Insulting the people who vote isn't going to get you many votes. So keep on doing that if you want to lose. It's a mentality that needs to change.

Also your comment about libertarians having to help people that aren't poor when you refer to gays is fallacious. Gays are actually much wealthier on average than straight people on average.
 
You know, conservatives call "blue America" dumb all the time. Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh has built up a whole career talking about how "costal" americans are decadent and immoral. It's just good old fashioned class warfare. It doesn't matter if it's Kansas or "Taxachusettes".

I'm not saying that to excuse it: it's just as inapropriate when liberals do it as when conservatives do it. Of course, conservatives can get away with it.

As for the libertarians, you may be right. I guess it's better to observe that they just don't like sticking up for rights of the non-property variety.
 
I tend to think that both sides are correct. Republicans in middle America are poor, dumb hicks guided by their sense of moral values characterized by some small town in Arkansas and Democrats on the coasts are decadent, immoral and have their own set of moral values, characterized by Marin County. Of course, not all Democrats and Republicans fit these characteristics.

You can't have it both ways; stereotypes come from some vague notion of the state of things as they are.
 
You have to be blind if you think that the left-wing coalition is less dysfunctional than the right-wing one. You guys have a bunch of internal conflicts, though you are currently united in your hatred of the right. The majority of the left is anti-war, yet the Democrats in power overwhelmingly supported taking action. Blacks make up a large amount of the Democratic base, yet they are more socially conservative and religious than the rest of the party. Go down to a black church and try to sell them your views on gay marriage, for instance. Some on the left prefer liberal immigration policies, while others (union members, etc.) want tighten it up in order to "protect" their jobs. The list goes on. The only reason the left isn't in shambles right now is because they share one goal: Anyone but Bush.

About the only issue that unites the right is tax cuts. At least we got a little bit of that. What would an "Anyone but Bush" coalition have to offer if it comes into power?
 
You know, I expect the right to tar the left as "Anybody but Bush" but I didn't really expect them to believe it. It reminds me of how the government of Burma refuses to call the opposition leader by her last name because it reminds people of her father's pro-democracy victory. I expect Republicans to down-play our common goals and positions, I didn't think they'd be stupid enough to believe their own spin.

I think you're a couple years out of date. Black church's oppose gay marriage, that's why they don't perform any. But they recognize that Universal Healthcare and worker's rights will help them more than anything. The Unions have gotten over their anti-economic immigration position; the new Change to Win Coalition represents a large Hispanic population. And while there is a slight disconnect over the war it's *not* between liberal coalition members. It's between overly cautious politicians and their constituents.

Liberals want to keep America safe by not putting our troops in harms way for optional wars and deploying them only where it’s necessary. We want Universal Healthcare. We want to protect the rights of women. We want to preserve our environmental assets and move to alternative fuels before we’re forced to be by volatile gas prices. We want to protect Human rights including the rights to organize when corporations use their collective bargaining power to unfairly lower wages. We want to support science in our schools and not using government money to push certain religious beliefs.

The thing that ties this all together is “Investment”. While conservatives have been telling people that they didn’t need to invest taxes, or make sacrifices for our troops, or respect the scientific ideas that lead to our great wealth, Liberals have recognized that Freedom isn’t free: You have to pay taxes, you have to protect the environment, you have to preserve the cultural openness that made America America in the first place. Yes, it’s easier to borrow, but liberals understand the rewards are worth the investment.
 
Also, "We can agree on tax cuts". Yeah, that's really awesome. You know, me and my friends can't agree on what new furniture to get or how to pay for it. But at least we can agree to chop up the old furniture and burn it in the living room. Yeah, great plan.
 
Actually, patr, the right doesn't agree on the tax cuts. Many conservatives would have waited to give tax cuts, especially paleo-conservatives. They view payign off deficits and becoming economically independent from the rest of the world a fundamentally good thing. The only thing the right agrees on is that we shoudl protect America, but even this has its differences. For credit, I think both the people on the right and left are patriotic. They just have different ways of protecting America.

But Tommaso... Howard Dean was against Universal Health care, he was for subsidized health care. Only Kucinich was running on a platform of Universal Health Care.

As for unions and immigration, you can't be more wrong. The unions are staunchly anti-immigrant, even Cesar Chavez was anti illegal immigration. I think that's ok, though, you can't have it both ways. You can't "protect American jobs" and support illegal immigration/free tarde. It doesn't make sense.

On the war, don't forget that Edwards, Kerry, Gephardt and Lieberman ALL supported the war on Iraq. If you hear John kerry when Clinton bombed Iraq in 1998, Kerry was calling for a ground invasion of Iraq, that he was more proactive in his intervention stance than even a VERY proactive Bill Clinton.

I don't know why liebrals or conservatives are angry about this. Plurality within a party is usually a GOOD thing. Why is it sudddenly bad? The Democrats and republicans are successful at building these strong coalitions for a reaosn. Getting extremely socially conservative religious blacks and wealthy upper-middle class Berkeley residents who are socially progressive is a GOOD thing! Gettign union workers and Pro-immigration people under the same roof is GOOD! What's wrong with plurality?
 
Though there are many disagreements about the best way to reform the American Healthcare system, liberals generally agree that just about anything would be better than the current system. Some people prefer Kucinich’s plan, some people prefer Dean’s, but just about every liberal would be happier under either. This type of disagreement in a coalition is just a sign of a healthy debate, not indicate diametrically opposed interests.

It’s always great when conservatives tell me what liberals believe. Here’s a hint: Cesar Chavez is dead. He’s been dead for over 10 years. It’s a common belief amongst conservatives that Unions want no immigration and “real” liberals are for throwing the borders wide open but the truth is that both just want responsible immigration reform that recognizes that immigration is necessary for a healthy economy.

The newer unions (especially the newly formed Change to Win Coalition) have don’t even have a consensus on the subject. Even the AFL-CIO has official taken no stance on immigration. After all, most new union members are the very working class immigrants who understand the problems with America’s current immigration policies.

As to the war: Again, you are pointing out a disagreement between liberal groups and *politicians*. And it’s not an ideological disagreement either. It’s a disagreement over whether the facts on the ground in Iraq mean staying is what’s best for America. There is no big pro-Iraq-Invasion constituency in the liberal coalition, just a few high profile Democratic politicians who honestly think that staying is better for America than going. To me this is mostly the politics of saving face (no one wants to admit that they were duped) and partly because liberal politicians were burned before even though they were right about Vietnam.
 
So Tommaso, in other words, no liberals, priot to the Iraq invasion believed that for cosmopolitan reasons ending a murderous dictatorship that once practiced genocide was worthy of overthrow by US forces? That's funny, the same liberal groups are advocating for US intervention in Darfur and otehr regions where US invasion would be advantageous.

"Again, you are pointing out a disagreement between liberal groups and *politicians*."
I can name a politician who supports invasion of Iraq and that also identifies as a Democrat, Bill Clinton. The DLC is a liberal group that supported the invasion of Iraq, 3 times. In fact Bush Jr. is only the fifth US president to impose US morals on the impoverished middle eastern nation. You treat this is as if Republicans are for the war, Democrats are against it. Wake, up, there's a such thing as centrist Democrats who feel the war was justified and Paleocons on the right who think that the war was a bad decision.

Here's another perplexity in the Democratic party which is good because it shows plurality: the stance on drilling in Alaska. Environmentalists are against it, unions are for it: it provides jobs to Americans. *gasp* to think people on the left are open-minded and have different opinions. Also, Tommaso, most union workers are white working class Americans who aren't immigrants.

Your statement on Universal Health Care cotnradicts what you said at first. You first said Democrats want universal health care, and now you are sayign they want either the Kucinich plan or the Dean plan, two VERY different plans. Subsidized health care and government controlled health care are two very different issues.

Even on women's rights Democrats are split. Many liberals, for example, believe that pornography and prostituion should be legalized, other liberals don't. You should stop claimign Demcorats believe in core issues and realize it's a diverse party. A dievrse party should be able to garnish the most votes but, as seen, sometimes it's not competent enough to do just that.
 
Of course many liberals supported the invasion of Iraq. Hell, Al Franken supported it for a little while. The point is that on the whole, liberal constituent groups are on the same page: It was a mistake to go in the way we did. Those liberals disagree over whether setting a short time table or a long one is not ideological, it's just practical. This isn't like arguing whether Social Security is moral, it's tactical.

Further, don't embarrass yourself by confusing anti-this-war-now liberals with pacifists. To understand the different compare the number of anti-Afghanistan protesters (all 6 of them) to the anti Iraq war ones.

(BTW. I like how you confuse not supporting a particular war with not supporting the war's aims. Hey, I have a plan to get a free pony for every American: We'll nuke Europe and steal theirs. You don't support me? Huh?! Why do you want to deprive Americans of ponies?!)

We’re suffering from bad language on UHC. Just because it’s subsidized doesn’t mean it’s not universal. Clinton’s plan was called Universal Health Care and consisted of using vouchers and keeping insurance companies in the loop. Kucinich favors a Medicare for all policy which would be cheaper than the current one and provide a higher level of satisfaction. Dean’s plan wasn’t called UHC but wasn’t terribly different from Clinton’s plan expect on a smaller scale. Health care reform isn’t going to happen all at once and most liberals are, like myself, willing to accept any plan that gets us closer to the goal of more efficient healthcare.

Dems are split on women’s rights? Hey look, we may not agree on all the particulars about porn – although the prudish stereotype of anti-porn feminists are way overblown – but these are minor issues compared to the women’s rights we do agree on: support for the right to privacy, sex education, and an understanding that a two week old clump of cells does not a human being make. Hell, support for Roe vs. Wade is stronger than ever (over 60%!), even though Republicans are on the wrong side of it.

Again, liberals don’t agree on everything – we have more ideas than we know what to do with – but the our agreement gives us a stable governing philosophy whereas the conservative philosophy “make government smaller” just doesn’t apply to governing at all.
 
I don't see anythign wrong with the philosophy of making government smaller. I, for one, will support states' rights above anythign else that doesn't conflict expressly with the amendments to the constitution. This, of course, puts me at odds with all big spending programs at the federal level, including Bush's endless social spending on social issues. The bottom line is, states' rights to many conservatives comes before using the federal government to implement policies you agree with, both liebral and conservative policies.

For example, I disagree with same sex marriages (but I strongly support civil unions), btu if a state wants to have gay marriages, all power to them. On issues I agree with, I would never support the federal government doing it. I'm a lot more consistent than Republicans on usage of federal power.

Roe v. Wade should be overturned, so shoudl Gonzales v. Raich. They are abuses of federal power. However, in instances where an amednment to the constitution is expressly violated (liek the equal protection clause) in grutter v. Bollinger, the federal government should have the right to act, but nowhere else. I praise Massachusettes for using their state powers to grant gay marriage but woudl oppose any federal programs of enforcing gay marriages.
 
Ah, a strict constructionist: a person who believes that the 9th amendment is there for decoration. Well, we all have things we believe for no good reason: I for example think “A Knight’s Tale” is a good movie. What do I know?

Also, I agree. There is nothing wrong with the philosophy that “Smaller government is better”, the problem is that this is vacuously true. “Free ponies are good” is also true, but it doesn’t really help someone go about governing. When Republicans get elected, they find that “small government” doesn’t really help them choose priorities: Which programs get funding and which don’t. Is it any wonder they make decisions based on personal interest alone?

Also, let me know when anyone starts pushing for mandatory gay marraige at the federal level. I haven't seen anyone do it.
 
I don't think that the 9th amendment is window dressing, there are many cases where the federal government does need to step in, for example, if a state decides to start interpreting the US constitution on its own, and in effect violates the constitution by taking rights away guaranteed by certain parts of the constitution. I am just a strong believer in the Supremacy clause, the federal government has supreme power with everything enumerated by the constitution and the intent of these enumerations.

But you're right about modern Republicans and Democrats. States' rights is only utilized when politicians see fit. Bush v. Gore, for example when ALL of the justices voted against their judicial philosophy (with the exception of O'Connor) because their political ideology was more important to them. For Democrats, states' rights is important when the state in question is liberal and for Republicans, states' rights is only important when the state in question is conservative.

With the exception of Bush v. Gore the only justice who has been consistent thus far is Clarence Thomas.
 
But what if a state takes away one of the unenumerated rights talked about in the 9th amendment? They are real rights, yet they are not named in the constitution. Do you support protecting those rights?

From my understanding, strict constructionalists take the position that even if those rights do exist, no one has the right to recognize and protect them. Again, basically the 9th amendment is decoration.
 
If rights are "real" rights, then why are they not named, or why doesn't a state then grant these rights? I don't believe exploiting things like the commerce clause or the "due process" clause and stretching them to try and legalize whatever you feel like legalizing UNDER FEDERAL POWER is justified.

The people of a state are the ones who should be deciding laws for whatever purpose suits them best, not a removed federal government. Why should Barbara Lee have say over what happens in Texas; why should Tom DeLay have any say over what happens in California?
 
The doctrine of separation of powers ensures that the federal government would not become too corrupt. I'm surprised you aren't becoming more aware of the benefit of states' rights, judging that the Republicans have a majority in all branches of the Federal government and you live in a liberal state that will probably safeguard your inetrests better than athe Republican-held congress.

Right now with the Bush government's expansion of federal governments to control the states, I'm also surprised conservatives aren't protesting his massive spending programs, many of which are very liebral in nature.
 
DTI wrote, "Why should Barbara Lee have say over what happens in Texas; why should Tom DeLay have any say over what happens in California?"

Because we live in one nation, that developing commerce and communications is binding more tightly year by year.

Let's go back to the marriage issue for a moment. Marriage has been, and continues to be the province of individual states. However, all states recognize marriages that are certified in the other states. The issue of homosexual marriage is testing that at the moment, as did the issue of interracial marriage 40 years ago.

It took a Supreme Court decision ( Lovings v. Virginia, 1967) to settle the issue of interracial marriage. Are you saying that decision should be reversed? How about Griswold v Connecticut (1965), the decision that legalized the use of contraceptives?

By your logic, these and other decisions should be reversed and the rights they bestowed could only gained through constitutional amendment. If you really want to reopen the battles that led to these sorts of decisions (and those in so many other areas of the law and society), then it seems to me you really want to tear the nation apart, not bind it together.

Our history shows that national power and sovereignty is what strenghtens and sustains us as a nation. All moves in the other direction have torn us apart. The Constitution was written and adopted after a several year experiment with absolute states rights nearly destroyed us. Civil War resulted from states attempting to assert their rights under the original Constitution, and the 14th amendment was written to keep that from happening again.

I seem to recall that the national motto (E Pluribus Unum) states "From many, one", not the other way round.
 
Let me rephrase, now that we have the 14th amendment, I am a full states' rights supporter. National supremacy is not such a great concept when the government is corrupt and oppressive. By trying to make all the states look like one nation, what we're doing is destroying the great diversity that our country enjoys.

If you want to change the constitution, amend it, don't make up new rules and regulations by twisting clauses like the commerce clause. The constitution was meant to be a living and breathing document, not one that the federal government should take advantage of.

Tiems have changed, and states have updated their laws. There's no reason why we need an overbearing federal government breathing down our necks, paternalistically telliing us what some set of morals should be for the rest of the country.
 
"and the 14th amendment was written to keep that from happening again."

The 14th amendment doesn't prevent any states leaving the union. Also, the 14th amendment was not written to suppress states' rights.
 
9th amendment:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

DTI:

If rights are "real" rights, then why are they not named, or why doesn't a state then grant these rights?

Personally, I agree with most of what you say. In practice I'm mostly a pragmatic federalist: Things should be decided at a state level unless there is a good reason to do so at the federal level. And "I can get my way at a federal level" isn't a good reason.

As for commerce clause, well, I think you'll forgive me if I side with the supreme court precedent and the vast majority of the American public when I say I like my commerce clause the way it is now, not the way it was 80 years ago.
 
DTI wrote, "By trying to make all the states look like one nation, what we're doing is destroying the great diversity that our country enjoys."

It is technology and commerce that is unifying the look and sound of the country, not one political party or another; and this has been a trend for at least 150 years. History chronicles change, it is not possible to stop it; but it is possible to guide it, to preserve as much of the best as possible while eliminating as much injustice as one can.

DTI wrote, "The constitution was meant to be a living and breathing document, not one that the federal government should take advantage of."

I agree with the first part of that statement, the constitution was meant to be (and is) a living, breathing document. However, its purpose was to define the government, and therefore it makes no sense to say that government takes advantage of it.

DTI wrote, "Tiems have changed, and states have updated their laws."

States may have updated their laws, but many times only because of decisions that you seem to want to reverse.

DTI wrote, "The 14th amendment doesn't prevent any states leaving the union."

Perhaps not, but how exactly would a state go about seceding from the Union? It seems to me that the only time states attempted to do so, they were forcibly brought back.
 
14th amendment to the US Constitution, "Section. 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; " ....

DTI, how could a state secede without abridging "the privileges or immunities" of its citizens who are also US citizens?
 
Sorry, the link in my last message was supposed to be to the 14th amendment.
 
States could not secede from the union before the 14th amendment. Of course it doesn't remove the ability to secede from the union, because that ability was never there.

What was the "good reason" for the federal government to legalize contraceptives?
 
Logically, the civil war proved that even without the 14th amendment, the states couldn't seceed. If they could seceed from the union before the 14th amendment, then the United States would not have brought them back by force. Remember the 14th amendment was passed AFTER the civil war.
 
Beetle wrote, "States could not secede from the union before the 14th amendment."

I don't think that was settled prior to the Civil War. See this article from Slate.

Beetle wrote, "What was the "good reason" for the federal government to legalize contraceptives?"

Read Justice Douglas' decision in Grisold. In case you don't want to do that, it appears that the Court found that the fundamental right to privacy in marriage was protected as one of the unenumerated rights protected by the ninth amendment.

Douglas' decision ends with the following paragraph:

"We deal with a right of privacy older than the Bill of Rights - older than our political parties, older than our school system. Marriage is a coming together for better or for worse, hopefully enduring, and intimate to the degree of being sacred. It is an association that promotes a way of life, not causes; a harmony in living, not political faiths; a bilateral loyalty, not commercial or social projects. Yet it is an association for as noble a purpose as any involved in our prior decisions."
 
And none of that explains why the states shouldn't have done it.
 
Thinker,
The decision in Griswold sounds very, very religious. In fact, I think marriage should have nothing to do with the state. According to the first amendment, congress should not respect an establishment of religion, and since marriage and the state are so intertwined, this violates the first amendment.

Instead, two or more consenting adults should be able to form civil unions under law, not marriage. Marriage is a religious institution and should be handled SOLELY by the church. Citing somethign in Griswold being "sacred" shows that there is already meddling between church and state. Like I said, I am strongly in favor of states' rights unless it expressly violates one of the amendments.

Now for Griswold and all those other due process cases, the intent of the due process clause was not to sit here and enforce all of the amendment (except the second amendment, interestingly). I don't object to most of the due process decisions substantively, but procedurally, the states should have been the ones to pass the legislation, not the courts screwing with clauses. If the state you live in doesn't allow freedoms you desire, no one is telling you to stay there, you can always move to a state that allows it. EIther that or petition your state legislators, harass them, twist their arms. That's what democracy is all about.
 
Beetle wrote, "And none of that explains why the states shouldn't have done it."

But the states didn't do it, at least not all of them. With regard to Loving, I believe 17 states still had interracial marriage bans at the time it was decided. And it wasn't as though this was a new issue. Why should citizens of the US be denied fundamental rights in one state but not another? They should not, and the 14th amendment was written to ensure that they would not.

DTI wrote at one point in this thread, "the 14th amendment was not written to suppress states' rights."

Let me quote from section one of the 14th amendment again, "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States;". I don't think it is possible to supress states' rights more directly than that.
 
DTI wrote, "I think marriage should have nothing to do with the state."

That may be what you think, but you clearly don't know much about marriage law. In fact, marriage in the US is primarily a civil, not a religious, event.

A religious marriage ceremony is not officially recognized without also securing a civil marriage license. However, one doesn't need to marry in a religious ceremony. All one needs to be officially married in the US is that civil marriage license signed by a judge, justice of the peace, or rabbi/minister/priest.

I don't know the proportion of US marriages that are civil only (no religious ceremony), but my guess is that most are.
 
Thinker, I realize that it wasn't happening locally. I was actually directing my question to TS who said that ""I can get my way at a federal level" isn't a good reason."
 
Beetle and DTI,

Do you two really want to refight the Civil War? Do you have any idea of the real life consequences of regressing to the state you're proposing? I think not. I think that if you had to live for a month or two in the conditions to which you would so easily condemn others, your tune would change pretty fast.
 
"What was the "good reason" for the federal government to legalize contraceptives?"

Hmm, how about the right to privacy when what you are doing doesn't effet anybody else? I believe the founding fathers had an appreciation of that.

I realize you have a knee-jerk problem with anything supported by liberals but this should be right up your libertarian alley.
 
DTI wrote, "I think marriage should have nothing to do with the state."

Some other questions here DTI.

If the state did not officially recognize marriage, does that mean all civil benefits that accrue to married couples would be taken away too? If not, who would determine who is or is not married? If you only recognize religiously sanctioned marriage, what about all of the non-religious people who want to be married? Also, what happens when my church/synagogue/mosque refuses to recognize you and your partner as married because your ceremony was in a different church/synagogue/mosque?
 
TS, of course I support legalized contraceptives. But in the context of our discussion as to what the federal government should do and what it should leave to the states, the only reason I'm hearing is "because it couldn't be done locally," which you say is not a good reason.
 
Thinker, you seem to misunderstand what I'm saying. All people who enter into a civil contract should get equal benefits as marriage. Marriage should be replaced with civil unions under the law. It's either a really liberal idea or a really conservative idea because the church is the one that controls marriage.

Who acknowledges marriage? the church. Who acknowledges civil unions (between man, woman, men, women), the state. The power of marriage is taken away from the state and is replaced with an identical system, civil unions without the religious aspect.
 
Wait, are you saying the supreme court doesn't have the right to decide if a state law conflicts with the constitution? If you believe, like I do, that privacy is an unenumerated right, and you believe that due process mean respecting people's rights (as the supreme court does) then it's the supreme court's job to rule on the issue.
 
Beetle wrote, "TS, of course I support legalized contraceptives. But in the context of our discussion as to what the federal government should do and what it should leave to the states, the only reason I'm hearing is "because it couldn't be done locally," which you say is not a good reason."

It seems to me you're ignoring the privacy argument, which both TS and I raised, and was the basis for the Griswold decision. However, what argument would you consider valid? From your perspective, what qualifies something for federal action?
 
DTI wrote, "All people who enter into a civil contract should get equal benefits as marriage. Marriage should be replaced with civil unions under the law."

This is the current situation in the US. In order to be married in the US, you need a civil certificate, signed by a recognized authority - THAT IS ALL. A religious ceremony just won't do it unless the presiding official is qualified to sign, and does indeed sign the civil certificate.

If you don't believe me, read this web page. It specifies what one needs to do to get a marriage license in California.

The problem we are currently having is that not all people who currently want to can get a civil certificate (i.e. gay couples).
 
DTI wrote, "Who acknowledges marriage? the church. Who acknowledges civil unions (between man, woman, men, women), the state."

I just reread my last post, and think I need to be a bit clearer.

You have it backwards. It is the state that controls marriage, not the church. If you look at the page I linked in the previous post, you'll see that to be married you need to apply for a license at a county clerk's office, have a ceremony presided over by one of any number of officials (of which a religious official is only one) who will sign the certificate then file it with the county clerk's office.

Does that really sound to you like marriage is controlled by the church? If so, which church? (Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Buddhist, Jewish, etc., etc., etc.)
 
Marriage shoudl no longer even be discussed by the state. We should just strip the power to marry away fromt he state and allow anyone who is above legal age, and any number of people, to enter civil cunion contracts. Jesus, it's their lives.
 
Thinker, that statement was under what I think it SHOULD be, not what the current situation is. I want to take all power of marriage away fromt he state and just allow them to conduct civil unions.
 
If the federal government can say "Well, we're protecting a 9th amendment right" anytime it wants to do something, then the very concept of states' rights becomes scrap. I don't really mind an absolute supremacy of the federal government over state governments, but I think people should be honest about supporting it when they do.
 
DTI wrote, "I want to take all power of marriage away fromt he state and just allow them to conduct civil unions."

As far as I can tell, your proposal is to remove religious officials from the list of people who can conduct marriage ceremonies. Is that what you are proposing? Because again, we don't have religious marriage in the US unless a couple chooses a religious ceremony for their civilly licensed contract.

If you'll recall, Tommaso went to Italy this past summer to attend the wedding of his sister (I believe). I also seem to recall his recounting that she and her husband had to be remarried in a civil ceremony with a civil license when they returned to the US, because a church marriage (any church) does not create a legal marriage in the US. Please correct me if I'm misremembering Tommaso.

As far as I can tell, the difference between a civil marriage certificate and a civil union certificate is only that one is for heterosexual couples while the other is for homosexual couples.

What you are calling civil unions is what we already have in CA, except we call it civil marriage.
 
Beetle wrote, "I don't really mind an absolute supremacy of the federal government over state governments, but I think people should be honest about supporting it when they do."

That essentially is what the framers of the 14th amendment did, and they were honest about it. Hell, they'd just fought the bloodiest war in US history (then or since) to enforce it. What more do you want?
 
I just think the only practical way to give gays equal rights is to disallow calling them marriages. Marriage has such a religious connotation and people automatically point to the Bible as a marriage being between a man and a women. most Republicans today would be fine with civil unions for gays but not marriage. I take this belief, but I also think straight coupels shoudl also receive equal rights as gays with civil unions. This is the closest thing to equality we can have practically.

If everyone gets the same legal rights under civil unions as marriage, there's no reason to even call it a marriage anymore. This helps promote equality under the law.
 
DTI wrote, "I just think the only practical way to give gays equal rights is to disallow calling them marriages."

Au contraire! The recently signed Civil Union bill in CA gives gay couples the same rights as civilly married couples. That is why there is now an initiative petition circulating that would outlaw such unions.

DTI wrote, "Marriage has such a religious connotation and people automatically point to the Bible as a marriage being between a man and a women."

Not the people I know!

DTI wrote, "most Republicans today would be fine with civil unions for gays but not marriage."

I think you need to re-examine the polls. Also take a look at who is signing that initiative petition I referred to above.
 
I said a majority of Republicans, including many libertarian-minded Republicans in California who support civil unions. A pocket of religious conservatives are not necessarily representative of the Republican popualtion in California, 44%, many of whom support civil unions.

The main opposition to the Civil union Bill is not the benefits that gay couples would receive (they already receive substantial benefits), but that fact that it changes the definition of marriage.

Let's not kid ourselves: "marriage" has ntohign to do with love; it has everything to do with a contract with the state that allows privileges and benefits. If we award these exact same privileges and benefits to couples/groups as a civil union, the issue of marriage woudl not even be relevant.
 
DTI wrote, "A pocket of religious conservatives are not necessarily representative of the Republican popualtion in California, 44%, many of whom support civil unions."

I think you need a better source for your statistics. The best information I can find (the Annenberg Public Policy Center) shows only 31% of Californians are Republican, not 44%.

DTI wrote, "Let's not kid ourselves: "marriage" has ntohign to do with love; it has everything to do with a contract with the state that allows privileges and benefits."

I think you need to do a representative survey of people getting married. If you do, you'll find this statement to be completely backwards.


DTI wrote, "If we award these exact same privileges and benefits to couples/groups as a civil union, the issue of marriage woudl not even be relevant."

Since this is what the Civil Union law does, it is clear that your conclusion is wrong.

Try thinking about this. Suppose the powers that be, upon your graduation from CAL, decide to award you a certificate a bit different from your classmates. Instead of Bachelor of Arts (or science), it says Certificate of Arts (or science). And, it has a very bold black border around it where the others do not. Despite the fact that the powers assure you it really confers the same rights as the other BAs, how would you feel? Remember, you'll have to explain to your family, potential employers, etc. why your piece of paper is different. Or worse yet, they'll probably know.

Marriage has to do with social acceptance and recognition. Bigots need a way to separate themselves from "the others". Trying to redefine marriage as Civil Unions for everyone will not solve the problem.
 
DTI,

I just checked the California vote in last year's presidential election. That may be where you got the 44% figure for Republicans in CA. It is true that 44% of CA voters cast their votes for Bush, but that includes crossover Democrats and registered Independents (Decline to State).

Anyway, here is the breakdown from David Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections:

Presidential
Candidate Vice Presidential
Candidate Political
Party Popular Vote Electoral Vote
John Kerry John Edwards Democratic 6,745,485 54.31% 55
George W. Bush Richard Cheney Republican 5,509,826 44.36% 0
Michael Badnarik Richard Campagna Libertarian 50,165 0.40% 0
David Cobb Patricia LaMarche Green 40,771 0.33% 0
Other (+) - - 73,610 0.59% 0
 
That vote summary table could be a bit more clear:

Kerry Democratic 6,745,485 54.31%
Bush Republican 5,509,826 44.36%
Badnarik Libertarian 50,165 0.40%
Cobb Green 40,771 0.33%
Other 73,610 0.59%
 
Sorry, I meant the vote totals in the last election: 44% of the people voted Republican in California.

If every college graduate got a CA, then I would be fine with it, which is why I'm against straight couples getting a marriage and gay couples gettign a civil union. The difference is that marriage has a religious connotation and a civil union doesn't. If you're really for the anti-establishment caluse of the first amendment, you'd agree with me that marriage has no place in the powers of the state.

SO get rid of marriage and don't let gays or straight people get married. Instead, base it on purely a contract. Two or more peopel can enter into a legally binding contract that gives them benefits, and to dissolve it, you would get an annulment of the civil contract. I don't see anythign wrong with this. The religious right (whatever religion it is, Jew, Christian or Muslim) should be happy too because we're giving the church the monopoly over marriage.
 
DTI wrote, "Sorry, I meant the vote totals in the last election: 44% of the people voted Republican in California."

44% of Californians voted for the Republican presidential candidate in 2004, but only 37.8% voted for the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, and he ran against Barbara Boxer, arguably more liberal than John Kerry.

As for your proposal to replace marriage with civil unions for all, as far as I can discern, the only changes that would make to the current situation in California is that religious officials would be dropped from the list of people qualified to perform ceremonies, and you would swap the term "civil union" for "marriage" on official documents. I suspect that all you would succeed in doing is uniting most of the left and right against your position.
 
Hoiw about uniting the left and right for my proposition? The religious right should be the ones who are happy because the state is butting out of religion and they have complete interpretation of marriage. The gay rights left should be happy because gay and straight couples have complete equality under the law.
 
Look DTI, I'm sure most gay rights lefties would be fine with this and I would be fine with your plan. I assume the religious right would hate it since they probably government adding legitimacy to their religious ceremonies. I'm sure they'd say that without government support, marriage would lose respect in people's eyes, the same way "under god" is necessary to ensure kids don’t start shooting each other or something.

However, let's get real: It's a lot less politically feasible than expanding marriage to gays since you'd have the homophobe right saying that the left wants to get rid of marriage.

I've heard this argument too many times from libertarians who don't want to appear like homophobes but need to keep coming up with ways of *not* supporting liberal efforts to secure equal rights for all. It’s pathetic.

But let me not assume you are a jerk without proof. I have no problem with your plan as long as you don’t use it as an excuse to not help other plans (like the bill passed here in CA recently).
 
DTI wrote, "The religious right should be the ones who are happy because the state is butting out of religion and they have complete interpretation of marriage."

But the religious right wants the state involved in marriage - supporting their position. What do you think the proposed marriage amendment is about?

DTI wrote, "The gay rights left should be happy because gay and straight couples have complete equality under the law."

In California (after the enactment of the recent Civil Union law) that is now the case. The fact that so many are still unsatisfied (and unhappy) results from the fact most adults still do not socially accept gay couples.

In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare wrote, "What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;". Banishing the word marriage and replacing it with the phrase "civil union" will not change how people see the relationship between two people that we currently recognize as marriage.
 
Thinker, your Shakespeare quote should also apply to my point: why not just call all marriages civil unions? The word civil union does not have a religious connotation, as a secularist like myself would find odious when the state is trying to regulate religion (or vice versa).

IF the civil union bill is passed is the key. The people of California expressed concern with a Proposition that woudl not allow gay marriage. If and when Arnold vetos the bill, we're just goign to be back to step 1. Instead of rushing to step 3, gay marriage, I am proposing step 2, which would be civil unions and complete equality under the law. This will get us much farther than suggesting something that is bound to be "smashT" in the long run.

I take the log cabin Republicans' explanation: civil unions is a smaller and more reasonable step that more Americans would be willing to accept. Gay marriage will create a backlash (like it did in 2004 when Gavin Newsom brought it up, period). I'm takign it one step further and submerging all marriages and sugegsting civil union contracts. We aren't a nation of religious laws, are we?
 
DTI wrote, "why not just call all marriages civil unions?"

Because that will change nothing. The problem is discrimination and bigotry against gay couples and families. That will not be done away with by a name change.

DTI wrote, "IF the civil union bill is passed is the key."

It was passed by the legislature and signed by Gray Davis in 2003, and went into effect on January 1, 2005. The California Appellate Court, Third District ruled it constitutional this spring.

DTI wrote, "Gay marriage will create a backlash"

Oh, and abolishing marriage won't?

DTI wrote, "We aren't a nation of religious laws, are we?"

No, and marriage law is not religious. Why do you keep asserting that it is?
 
"Because that will change nothing. The problem is discrimination and bigotry against gay couples and families. That will not be done away with by a name change."

My point is that moving too quickly and forcing gay marriage down people's throats will NOT solve bigotry. I am very pro gay rights. Do you think that racists in the 1960's accepted blacks because of brown v. board? It takes gradual change and, when we go too fast there is a backlash. If we have a gradual acceptance of gay rights in our society, there is very ltitle the religious right can do about it without looking like assholes.

But change the word marriage and we will see opposition from moderates and even pro gay rights conservatives like myself who see the left as opportunists by forcing gay marriage down everyone's throats.

Gavin Newsom was the worst thing on the left that ever happened to the gay rights movement. We should have followed Howard Dean's example in Vermont.
 
DTI wrote, "But change the word marriage and we will see opposition from moderates and even pro gay rights conservatives like myself who see the left as opportunists by forcing gay marriage down everyone's throats."

That sentence makes no sense. I'd try rewriting it.
 
DTI wrote, "Do you think that racists in the 1960's accepted blacks because of brown v. board?"

No, racists didn't, but Brown was a giant leap forward in a chain of events that has led to major advances in greater equality between the races in the US. Without Brown, and the courageous citizens, politicians and judges (Republican and Democrat) who fought to implement it, we would not today have a situation where a Black woman would be Secretary of State, and a Black man would be a sitting Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States, not to mention the many other Black public officials in the country.

I'd say that there are many fewer racists today, and certainly fewer people mouthing racist views in public, than there would have been without Brown. It was a monumental step in race relations in the U.S. Did it eliminate race problems, certainly not; but without it we would most likely still look like the US of the 1940s, at least from a racial perspective. The Civil Rights movement in the U.S. prior to the integration tactics embodied in Brown had been relatively ineffective for nearly a century.
 
But in the end, am I not fighting for equality for gay couples and straight couples? The benefits will be the same and maybe we can finally give another group of disenfranchised people equality under the law.

Hope for gays might be in teh near future. Both parties have at least one gay member in congress; the Republicans have Jim Kolbe and the Democrats have Tammy Baldwin and Barney Frank. I'd say this is a good step in the right direction, even though both parties have a number of anti gay members like Rick santorum and Pete Stark.
 
DTI wrote, "But in the end, am I not fighting for equality for gay couples and straight couples?"

Yes, you appear to be; and yes it is a noble goal. The question is will you waste your efforts in a quest that cannot make any progress (and indeed might cause regression); or participate in movement toward your goal?
 
You guys might like the next op-ed int he Daily Cal
 
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