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Coming Around to My Strategy on Gay Marriage

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 11:00 am - November 10, 2008.
Filed under: Civil Discourse,Gay Marriage

For as long as I have been blogging about gay marriage, I have said we need change the strategy.  Instead of demonizing social conservatives, gay marriage advocates should try to understand their opposition to same-sex marriage and, at the same time, do a better of making an affirmative case for gay marriage.  I have also said we should avoid going through the courts as that leads to a backlash at the ballot box.

If you have a moment, just view my posts in our category Gay Marriage and you’ll see how readily and regularly I have made this point.

As long ago as March 2005 (shortly after we moved away from blogspot and established categories), I said we need to

do as Jonathan Rauch has done in the first chapter of his book, Gay Marriage : Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America and talk about what marriage is for. But, we also need to understand why, in the wake of growing tolerance for gay and lesbian citizens and growing support for civil unions, over 60% of Americans oppose gay marriage.

Well, now, in the wake of the passage of Proposition 8, it seems, leading advocates of gay marriage, including Andrew Sullivan, are making nearly the same argument as I’ve been making.

To be sure, Jonathan Rauch has been making a similar argument for some time, but in his must-read post on the Independent Gay Forum, he finally recognizes the futility of the mindless approach of “pushing lawsuits through the courts without adequately preparing the public:”

The gay marriage issue is not going to be decided over the heads of the American people, and no amount of comparing it to Brown vs. Board of Education or any other dubiously relevant precedent will change that. Too many gay heads are too strategically locked into a litigation-based mindset that has become counterproductive. Too many people forget that Martin Luther King was a persuader, not a litigator, and that the real breakthroughs came through Congress, not courts.

Even Sullivan now seems to oppose the litigation strategy. Note the last line of this passage from a recent post:

And we need patience and relentlessness in explaining our lives. And how human they are. It’s not fair; we should have it all already. But we don’t. And in a democracy, that means persuasion, not fiat.

That’s what I’ve been saying all along. I go one further than him. We need show we understand what marriage means and explain why we want that institution to define our relationships.

Let us hope that more leading advocates of gay marriage come around to this way of thinking and realize we need focus on persuasion.

It’s what I’ve been saying for nearly four years as a blogger.  I’ve actually been saying longer than that, but lack an electronic record of conversations with friends and acquaintances.

It’s nice to see others make the same argument you’ve been making.  Let’s hope that they’re the first of many.

Ronald Reagan & the 2008 Election

By taking my official presidential portrait of Ronald Reagan to get framed sometime in 1992, I acknowledged that Bill Clinton would defeat George H.W. Bush and win election to the White House.  Placing the Gipper’s smiling face on my mantelpiece reminded me of the optimism and political ideals of our nation’s fortieth president during a campaign where his designated successor failed to articulate them.

This year, I think I must have known Barack Obama was going to win when I vowed to buy The Reagan Diaries the day after the election should John McCain lose.  A large part of that defeat stemmed from the Republican nominee’s difficulty applying Reagan’s ideas to the current economic situation.

Now, our task as conservatives who wish to rebuild the Republican Party is to do just that.  Of course, we can’t mindlessly ape the Gipper’s past platforms, but need consider his vision, his confidence in the American people and private institutions, proposing solutions to contempary problems that rely on the ingenuity of individuals and avoid the instrusions of government intermediaries.

On my Sadness at John McCain’s Loss

After George W. Bush’s reelection four years ago, I had this nice feeling which lingered for several weeks.  Peggy Noonan couldn’t stop being happy about the election result.  Bearing this in mind in the campaign’s final days, I resolved that should our guy lose, I would refrain from bringing the election up with my liberal friends, at least until the president-elect started selecting his cabinet.

Now that their guy has won, I try not to bring it up.  I wish for them to enjoy the nice feeling I so enjoyed back in 2004.  We had our chance to be happy about an election.  Now, it’s their turn.  Let them celebrate without experiencing our sadness.

Yet, I will note that all too many bring it up.  Yesterday, at a brunch for my college alumni association to honor a representative of the alumni office visiting the City of Angels, I as the only (open) Republican at the event, found myself questioned by others there about my take on the election.  I was delighted at how civil were the exchanges, but disturbed at how little most people knew about Sarah Palin, with one very smart guy taking at face value any charge leveled against her.  As if Newsweek were a reliable source on Republicans.

There is another reason I don’t want to bring up the election with my political adversaries.  I am surprised at how sad the result has made me.  I attribute part of my sadness to the failure of our side to promote a conservative economic message in a campaign in which the economy was the primary issue.  While some claim our ideas were defeated at the ballot box, I note that they weren’t even presented.

At least on economic issues, this campaign did not provide a vehicle for our ideas nor a solid defense against those blaming the economic crisis on conservatism.

The other thing that makes me sad is that, in the course of the campaign, I really grew to respect John McCain the man.  I watched his classy performance at the Al Smith dinner, delighted in his self-deprecating humor on Saturday Night Live, revisited the story of his integrity and courage when captured by the North Vietnamese, and really, **REALLY** appreciated the love he felt for our country, a love that was made particularly manifest in that most gracious of concession speeches.

And I wish someone who recognized his merit as a human being had told the Arizona Senator that to win the office of which he is surely worthy, he need articulate a better economic message and make that message the theme of his campaign.

It’s almost as if John McCain were the right man for the job, but was running at the wrong time.

Horrific Aftermath of the Obama Election

I think I have seen some of these people….


Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are

-Bruce (GayPatriot)