Friday, May 06, 2005

How not to have a rational debate

Joe in DC had this to say:

Kerry Smacks his own state's Married Gay couples
by Joe in DC - 5/6/2005 08:51:00 AM

Maybe if John Kerry would take a stand on an important social issue, his stature might increase....and, for crying out loud, Masssachusetts already has gay marriage. Hundreds of gay couples have been married. And John Kerry doesn't think the Democratic Party should support their rights?

My comment to Joe:
Feeling anger with the course of action that Kerry is trying to chart for the Democratic party on this issue only highlights the rigidity (by some) that has allowed this party to be splintered so easily. A weakness, no doubt, that enables Rove to have a skip in his step.

Stop letting the Republicans control the argument by falling into their conservative populist trap with the term "Marriage". Battling the Republicans with this term, and the conservative traditions that it invokes, immediately seeds them victory on this issue for decades.

The term "Civil Union" provides the Democratic party with an unpaved road from which they can pave the rights of marriage for any two consenting adults. Will time and laws be needed to secure these rights? Yes. But the Democratic party will have positioned itself to begin to win elections today. In time the only difference between "Married" and "Unioned" will be the letters in these two words.

The term "Marriage" is a road paved in traditional concrete. Any attempt to resurface this road will bring nothing but a smile from present and future Republican Rove's. Will we eventually win this argument? I don't know - the view becomes foggy when I try to peer more then 20 years into the future. But one thing is very clear - this issue will be one more wedge with which the Republicans can shear off the votes of moderate voters.

Finding the middle and achieving success does not mean Democrats have to insist on getting what they want, the way they want, today. It means building a party and structuring a message that takes them where they want to go.