Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Turning The Tables On Conservatives: Democrats Must Redefine Morality

As another presidential election approaches, conservatives are trying once again to "own" morality, by defining it mainly as the fight against homosexual rights, the fight against abortion, and the fight to protect "family values" (whatever that means in a country where very people who herald the importance of family values, the Rudy Giuliani, the Newt Gingriches, and, let's not forget him, the Ted Haggards of the world have cheated on their spouses, failed to pay alimony, engaged in sex acts with prostitutes, etc.).

In the upcoming elections, three states (Arizona, California, and Florida) will bring to voters ballot initiatives aimed at changing state constitutions to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman, thus preventing the extension of the institution (and many rights) of marriage to gays and lesbians (and not, as Christocrats like the fortunately unemployed Sen. Santorum of Pennsylvania, to man and sheep/horse/cat, etc.).

The political goal of bringing such initiatives to voters in a presidential election year is obvious: to mobilize religious conservatives, who are expected to vote en-masse for the McCain/Palin ticket.

To date, Democrats have essentially conceded the high ground to Republicans, by failing to forcefully redefine morality as a matter that goes beyond sexual preferences and behavior. Failing to define morality beyond adherence to accepted sexual and social mores is, in fact, a failure to recognize the greater and more deleterious forms of immorality that surround us. So here are some examples of immorality that Democrats would do well to remind voters of before November 4th...

It is immoral to let millions of people around the world die for lack of fresh water, food, shelter, medication.

It is immoral to spend one cent on elective wars before people are fed and healed, before children and the unemployed are taken care of and educated, before infrastructure has been fixed or built.

It is immoral to lie, cheat and steal one's way to the top, and to run electoral campaigns filled with falsehoods and animated by the desire to submerge one's political opponent under a sea of lies (as McCain and Palin are doing daily against Obama).

It is immoral to let people die without care, or to advocate free-market health care that forces the less resourceful amongst us to give up their home, their careers, and their children's future in exchange for needed treatment.

It is immoral to reap gargantuan profits at the expense of the neediest.

It is immoral to do everything in one's power to keep the status quo that benefits the chosen few rather than to build a future that protects all of our children and endows them with the greatest potential.

It is immoral to deny those who are not like us, whether it is people of different color, creeds, sexual preference, ethnicity, the chance to be as fulfilled as human beings as we want to be ourselves. It is particularly disgusting when such denial is justified on the basis of one of many competing religious beliefs or fables that claim to be the truth, keeping in mind that no religion allows the possibility that its truth is not beyond refute.

It is immoral to pass gossip for news, to spread falsehood as truth, to fuel innuendos with the intent to smear and destroy (see pigs and lipstick), as Fucks News does (with other networks being close followers).

It is immoral to knowingly lead or mislead others for one's benefit. For example, it is immoral to make such a statement as "Any presidential candidate [meaning Obama] who rises to the top in Chicago politics (the most corrupt political machine in the country) is automatically suspect" or "If a candidate [once again, Obama] is endorsed by The Communist Party USA, one has to ask why" (particularly when a link is given to an article that explains that the endorsement is of the "lesser of two evils" kind, and when, incidentally, a similar endorsement has been given by the same person who promotes the Obama/Communist Party innuendo).

It is immoral to speak of "family values" when the party you represent allows jobs that pay living wages to be shipped to countries where workers are prevented from unionizing, where they are paid a pittance, and where child and prisoner labor exists. When such jobs are lost, they are often not replaced by comparable jobs, which forces one or both parents to work two or more jobs to make ends meet, often with lousy or no benefits, putting enormous stress on marriage and family life.

It is immoral to promote tax plans designed to give the greatest benefit to the top 1-2% of income earners, with a pittance being left for 98% of taxpayers. It is also immoral to speak of the threat of socialism or income redistribution when an opponent presents a plan which raises taxes for income earners who make more than $250,000 a year in order to give some relief to middle- and low-income earners who are being crushed by rising gasoline, heating, grocery, health care costs, and stagnant wages.

It is immoral to seek to exploit fear as an electoral tactic, causing divisions instead of calling people to unite in pursuit of better conditions for all.

These are the examples of immorality that Democrats need to push back at social and religious conservatives, instead of always playing defense on the one or two moral issues that Republicans have become masters at exploiting.

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