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View Diary: What the DNC Must Do: A Comprehensive Framework (120 comments)

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  •  Very much what's been on my mind (none)
    I'm just putting my toes back into the political water after a nearly two-week mourning period, and all I've been able to think about is how the Democrats are constantly defending weak positions we've been handed by the Republicans. They have successfully created the perception that they are for family values and we are against family values; that we like abortion and they don't; that they value religion and we do not; and, for that matter, that we are going to force unwilling states and churches to perform gay marriages and they are going to prevent it. All of this is nonsense, of course--as has been pointed out plenty of times, our policies REDUCE abortions, divorces, crime, etcetera--but by our silence we enable it. The religious right really knows how to start with a sentence a comfortable majority of Americans agree with, like "marriage is an institution that needs to be valued and respected," and then lead people bit by bit down a path towards something much more extreme, like "let's ban homosexuality" (which is where they obviously want to go.) We need to figure out how to start with sentences a comfortable majority of Americans agree with, like, for example, "gay couples deserve to live their lives with dignity," and lead people slowly from that towards "let's equalize marriage rights." Right now less than half of the country supports gay marriage. The right is able to use that to win elections. But a lot of the SAME PEOPLE who pass hateful amendments against gay marriage would feel sympathy for a gay man who can't visit his dying partner in the hospital, or whose insurance won't cover his partner who's just been hit by a truck, or a lesbian whose partner dies and her partner's parents take the seven-year-old child she's helped raised since infancy and won't let them see each other anymore. We shouldn't abandon ANY of our progressive values (including and especially gay rights) but we HAVE to learn how to find the common ground that appeals to the human decency of most Americans and work from there. Right now the right is sitting there yelling "They want to change the institution of marriage completely!" and the left has been either ignoring the topic and hoped it wouldn't come up, or weakly saying "No, no, we believe marriage is between a man and a woman." We need to POSITIVELY present what our values ARE... and begin by presenting a part of each value that most Americans can agree with us about.

    A lot of Americans who dislike Bush, dislike the war, and agree with Democrats on economic issues voted against us because of "values." We've GOT to stop that. It's killing us.

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