Sunday, November 12, 2006

Here's the Losing Spirit!! Post-Election Cancerous Divisions

Over at BMG, I've been writing dozens of comments and my frustration seems to find no end. David has decided to bump two diaries on why the State House needs to vote on gay marriage at the next ConCon. I reposted a recent blog from this site as a response to David's front paging. Then David felt the need to write a whole blog on why people like me are apparently wrong.

Add to that mix more than one people who are interested in the Health Care amendment arguing we need to vote on the Marriage Equality ban because the Health Care needs a vote - and then going on and on about one thing even when it has nothing to do with the other.

Divisions by issue-oriented groups mired our party in defeat after defeat after defeat over the last 40 years. Pro-Choice groups were fighting with environmental groups. Democratically elected candidates were blaming the Democratic Party for all our country's wrongs.

It's a recipe for disaster. If people care about progressive issues and civil rights, they need to show a united front or be prepared for their cause to lose too. By attacking each other we all will lose. Attack the efforts of the courageous Congressmen and women protecting marriage equality at your peril - it will come back to bite us all on issues that effect far more people, from Clean Elections to the Health Care amendment.

Unite or lose.


David said...

"Unite or lose."

Excellent -- welcome aboard!

Greg said...

Respecting the word of the constitution is a progressive issue. If we pass Clean Elections or Universal Health Care at the ballot, then we need the legislature to take final action on that as well. We can't adopt self-serving arguments that violate fundamental principles, because those will come back to bite us when we need them to work for us. You either believe in following the rules, even when they don't suit your ends, or you don't believe in following the rules. I choose the former.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we respect the constitution. The SJC has ruled, the constitution supports equality, case closed. The rules have all been followed.

If you think that not so much as considering putting fundamental civil rights up for a vote is self-serving, then there's not much left to say. That's pretty much the most fundamental principle there is, and it's equally as important as universal health care and even more important than clean elections.

What other fundamental civil rights and liberties should we abandon in order to satisfy these so-called "progressive principles?" The right to reproductive freedom? The right to privacy? Voting rights? Free speech?

If you are going to stab a group of our fellow citizens in the back like this, you can't expect us to stand together on anything--those of us who are still aloowed to vote after we "let the people decide," that is.

Joe said...

The pro-democracy crowd from let the people vote followed all the rules with their petition. To snub them would be to set a very, very dangerous precedent. You can't just deny them ober gay marriage and not take into consideration the repercussions that have nothing to do with gay marriage.

Massachusetts already has a problem with ignoring democracy. We voted to roll back taxes, the legislature didnt do it because they think we can't afford it. How would you feel if Deval wasn't allowed to be governor because the state decided we couldnt afford it? Ha. It's funny because it has a lot of potential to be true. Just a thought.

Too much legislating from the bench and not enough from the people makes me remember the old quote "John Marshall has made his decision. Now let him enforce it."

Anonymous said...

What rules have the Senators and Legislators at the ConCon violated, Joe? The hate filled bigots followed the rules, yes, so did the ConCon, did they not? Are you saying laws were broken? Everybody followed the rules, and the outcome was what it was. Great. Let's move on.

It would set a dangerous prescedent if the Bill of Rights is discarded and basic liberties are subject to the whim of the majority. That's why the Bill of Rights was written in the first place, to put limits on democracy. You're right, that goes far beyond gay marriage. Banning gay marriage would lose in a landslide, but that's not the point. It doesn't make a damn bit of difference, it's not a matter for public agreement. There rae certain rights we have that nobody can take away. When was the last time you got to vote on whether your neighbors were allowed to marry? Should we all get together and cast a ballot to see who's allowed to speak or take a breath today?

Whether you like it or not, the judiciary is a co-equal branch of government. They didn't legislate anything, they interpreted our constitution and its proud tradition of guaranteeing equality and realized that there is no compelling reason except bigotry to limit the freedom of adults to marry, and discrimination doesn't pass constitutional muster in this state.

"John Marshall has made his decision. Now let him enforce it."

Well, first off, Jackson said that because he himself was a nasty little bigot who wanted to illegally abrogate a treaty based on bigotry, much like some now want to change our constitution based on bigotry, as well as a desire to steal the Cherokees' rightful land (which just happened to contain huge gold deposits). Jackson's refusal to obey the law and his dereliction of duty led to the Trail of Tears, also known as genocide of an unfavored group who were declared nonpersons and thus subject to any form of discrimination and brutality thanks to the whims of the people in defiance of a Court that tried to uphold their basic human rights, so that may not be the best example for you to hang your argument on.

Also, if you don't think the judiciary is a legitimate branch of government, is the executive? Can't all the personnel who don't want to be in Iraq just decide to come home and refuse to obey any order given by Bush? If the army turn against him, he can't enforce his orders and it's a coup, but it's okay, right? According to your example, we can just ignore the bits of the Constitution we don't like since this separation of powers thing is silly.

Greg, are you proposing a vast overhaul of the rules of the ConCon? Because again, whether you like it or not, they did follow the rules. If you believe that Clean Elections and Universal Health Care are connected to Amendment 20, how? They're completely separate and have nothing to do with each other.

Do you believe that if supporters of gay marriage refuse to use the rules in their favor and hand the heads of the gay community over on a silver platter, the foes of Universal Health Care will somehow be motivated to likewise lie down and not put up a fight on their issue? That's ridiculous. Procedural tools are tools, they can and have been used for good or for evil, but not using them for good will have no effect on the future behavior of those who want to use them for evil.

How many times did Congressional Democrats roll over for Republicans only to be stabbed in the back in their turn? Ask Justice Alito. Foes of UHC and CE will fight like hell using any tool available to them regardless of what happens here. If we can only outfight them when they don't put up a fight, we should give up our game plan now because it will never happen.

It's also really offensive to use phrases like "self-serving" when it comes to legal issues of marriage and parenting. That's pretty basic.

You know that phrase, if only staright white guys could vote, Democrats would lose everytime? For all the straight white guys who don't care about anything that doesn't affect them and don't understand why those who are actually affected would care, either, if you want to throw gays, women, African Americans and on and on under the bus, fine, but don't expect us to rally to your pet causes, the "important" ones that actually affect you, when we're spending too much time trying to prevent ourselves from being defined as 3/5 of a human while you stand by and clap.

Ryan Adams said...

Greg, Clean Elections was a law. The legislature repealed it.

I don't agree with that decision, but I respect the constitution and *understand* its boundaries.

One of the core progressive ideas at the beginning of the 20th Century was citizen initiatives. However, they've largely proven to be a failure. I look at states like California and see something that has totally ruined its government.

I'm not totally against initiatives, but the process just isn't working in Massachusetts. It needs to be changed. I believe in following the rules, but no rules have been broken. More importantly, I believe in changing the rules so they actually do work.

Joe, your analogy doesn't work because... get this... it would be against the law to just say Deval couldn't be governor. However, it wasn't against the law to repeal the 5.0 rate.

jpsox said...

Good post. BMG for the last 2 days has really pissed me off - I've never seen anything like this besides sometimes when I held signs for Deval at events where two green party guys showed up and started yelling lies about Deval out to people taking our lit. People need to understand that working together is the only way to go. Yes, it sucks, a lot, that the health care ammendment got stuck behind the gay marriage one. Why not start a post about what we can do to remedy this and work around it instead of a post about why the civil rights of gay people are less important than an ammendment that may or may not do anything and isn't the civil rights of everyone anyway because many people in the state already get what it's calling for. ARrrrrrg.

Anonymous said...

The problem is BMG is a blog and like any blog there's a lot of stupidity. I disagree with a lot of what they say and do.

David et al, aren't elected officials. Unfortunately, since the election, they've become insufferable. I didn't vote for them, but now they think they speak for me.

In a lot of ways, they're just as arrogant and dogmatic as the folks over on HubPolitics.

Joe said...

2:35 anon:

Um, hello? Hi?

First of all, I didn't say or imply that anyone in the legislature broke any rules, I was saying that they were using rules to block the fundemental civil right I have to vote.

Thanks for the random history lesson on Andrew Jackson's another one: The 3/5 Compromise stopped the South from counting every single slave as a member of the population when determining the number of Representatives they had in Congress. Without it, they would have had a veto-overpowering majority in Congress, letting them do whatever they wanted. Nothing says "I slept through history class" like someone complaining about the 3/5 Compromise being racist.

I'd love to see where I said the Judiciary isn't a legitamate branch, too. I didn't? Wow, could've swore you said I did. The Judiciary has every right to interpret out state constitution, which is what they did. But if we change the constitution ot be frank and clear about the definition of marriage, then the previous interpretation is null and void. That's a seperation of powers lesson for you.

Ryan: That's precisly the problem. We live in a state where it's not against the law for the legislature to ignore the people. Doesn't that bother you in the slightest?

Ryan Adams said...

The system's working fine, Joe. If our Congresswomen and men do something that pisses us off, we can vote them out of power. If you're PO'd because your state senator or congressperson voted in a way you disagree over 20, feel free to get behind someone else in the next general.

This is how a representative democracy is supposed to work. I'm not a huge fan of the initiative process to begin with, especially when that initiative process can change the constitution with as little as 25% of the legislature and 50% of the vote. The bar to change the Constitution should be set higher.

Joe said...

That I will agree with. Would you support a referendum if it was 50/66 instead of 25/50?

Ryan Adams said...


Anonymous said...

Joe, the talking points that you people use over and over again emphasize the fact that the bigots followed the rules. The obvious implication is that the equality forces didn't. If that's not what you mean you should consider laying off the talking point or perhaps explaining its relevance.

Thanks for the history lesson, Joe. I'll be sure to get right on addding your imput to my lecture notes when I discuss it in class. Everyone understands the impact of the 3/5 compromise (which wasn't actually discussed by me, but random digressions are always welcome) but that doesn't change the impetus behind the entire framework of fundamental inequality that underpins the overall society that produced it, nor does it suggest anything substantive about the manner in which we will be defined and counted if we regress from the principles of expanded equality we've fought for. Thanks though.

And yes, you make an excellent point. When you condemned the judiciary for fulfilling its Constitutional interpretive function which you defined as "legislating from the bench" and reverently quoted a sentiment that displays utter contempt for the separation of powers and abdication of the exceutive's Constitutional responsibility to enforce the decisions of thejudiciary, translated into your language it became a celebration of the separation of powers and the legitimacy of the judiciary. My bad.

Keep trying, though. If you want your "right" to vote on this, maybe you should elect more bigots who will put it on the agenda. That's when you vote counts. Good luck with that.

StunnedVoter said...

Joe nobody is in favor of not being able to amend the constitution. The problem is that it's too easy, and also there are some basic rights that the majority can't take away. Not everything in the Constitution is up for grabs, ever.

You're religious, right? I could probably get 170,000 signatures to make it illegal for you to attend church or practice your religion. Does that mean it should go on the ballot? No, it shouldn't, because it's your right regardless of how I feel about it.

Free speech, freedom to practice your religion, the right to be married, those are all fundamental. How about we put an amendment on the ballot to prevent Republicans from voting? Most people would probably prefer to be married than get to vote if they could only have one choice, so no big deal?

And don't say there's no right to marriage, because if I were trying to outlaw marriage, all of the anti-equality people would be the first ones to scream that marriage is a fundamental right. They're only willing to screw with it because they think their rights will still be safe. It's not right.

There have been a million ballot questions in recent years, some of them were really wack, but they all got on, and I'm not going to get upset in the Lege decides there's one line in the sand they won't cross because it's just wrong. And you should be happy, too, if anyone ever wants to put your civil rights up for a vote since you're in the minority too.

It's great when you strip away basic rights if you're in teh amjority, but it's probably not so fun to be on the other side. Don't think it can't happen to you if there's no check on majority tyranny.

Anonymous said...

Lessee, BMG now stands for:

- passing an amendment outlawing gay marriage
- marginalizing gay points of view
- promoting Republican points of view
- censorship
- mob rule

I think the word is hubris.

Anonymous said...

The most amazing thing about David is he won't even own his bullshit. Today's call to "stop the infighting" doesn't even acknowledge that he was the one that offered to trade gay marriage for his beloved health care bill.

Then he goes on to say he supports gay marriage. Like we're dogs to be thrown a bone.

BMG is no friend to gay people. Never forget.

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