Friday, September 28, 2007

A Letter to Senator McCain

I decided to write a letter to John McCain for not showing up at last night's debate on African American issues. Here it is:

Dear Senator McCain,

My name is Dennis Sanders. I am an African American who lives in Minnesota. I have joked that my New Deal Democrat parents gave birth to an "Eisenhower Republican."

I am writing because I am very dismayed that you did not show up at the recent debate focusing on African American issues. I do not understand why you chose not to attend this forum which would have given you an opportunity to introduce yourself to the African American community.

I have always respected you for standing up for your values, even when they weren't popular. You were willing to support the President's immigration plan, when other Republicans were trying to be as anti-immigrant as possible.
As a survivor of torture, you have stood against our nation allow "coercive techniques." As a gay man, I don't agree with you on some issues, but I have respected you because of your service to this country and because of your bravery.

So with all that, I can't understand why you chose not to at least listen to African Americans. Yes, the vast majority vote Democrat, but we are interested in what ALL the candidates for the nation's highest office have to say. You missed an opportunity to hear what are the pressing concerns an important American constituency. I do not believe that you are bigoted, but your choosing to miss this important debate does not bode well for you or the other candidates who chose to miss the event. You are giving the impression that you don't care about 12 percent of the population. That, Senator, is wrong and no "scheduling conflict" can excuse it.

These are not good times for the GOP. We are losing people left and right because the party has stopped seeing the need of expanding the base. The party needs to expand, not contact. The America of the 21st century is one that is multi-cultural and Republicans and conservatives have to stop pretending that this is not the case.

Senator McCain, I do hope that you will consider meeting with African Americans and present your case to why you should be President. You are NOT running for the head of the Republican party, but as the head of a nation of 300 million people who are of every color and hue.

Thank you for your time.

Dennis Sanders
Minneapolis, MN

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

GOP Mayor Favors Gay Marriage

My partner Daniel and I. I'm the black guy. :)
As I reflected on the choices that I had before me last night, I just could not bring myself to tell an entire group of people in our community that they were less important, less worthy and less deserving of the rights and responsibilities of marriage — than anyone else — simply because of their sexual orientation. . . .
I have close family members and friends who are members of the gay and lesbian community. These folks include my daughter Lisa and her partner, as well as members of my personal staff.

· I want for them the same thing that we all want for our loved ones — for each of them to find a mate whom they love deeply and who loves them back; someone with whom they can grow old together and share life's wondrous adventures.

· And I want their relationships to be protected equally under the law. In the end, I could not look any of them in the face and tell them that their relationships — their very lives — were any less meaningful than the marriage that I share with my wife Rana.

-San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders.

Those words come from a Republican mayor who has decided that gay and lesbian Americans deserve to be treated as equal before the law.

And he's a Republican.

Dale Carpenter continues:

Liberal toleration was sufficient to convince Americans (including their courts) to do away with stigmatizing and pointless sodomy laws. That's why the laws could be eliminated in a country in which the majority of the population still viewed homosexual acts as immoral. Doing so simply signaled tolerance. Liberal tolerance might even be enough to sustain support for civil unions.

But allowing gay marriage goes further because it affixes a stamp of approval. The most committed opponents of gay marriage understand this, and that's precisely why they oppose it. Maggie Gallagher once said that losing on gay marriage means "losing American civilization." Losing gay marriage for Gallagher and others means not just losing on some words in the family code or on some legal debate over how to define fundamental rights. It means losing a world-view. The advantage they have in public debate is that they address the moral questions that matter to people, while gay marriage supporters are trained to recite the oath to liberal tolerance: "The government should not legislate morality." That line worked with sodomy laws but it won't work with marriage. Americans understand marriage itself to "legislate morality," so arguing amorally for gay marriage is like arguing for touchdowns in a baseball game.

During the struggle against apartheid, Desmond Tutu is rumored to have said to some white policemen that they might as well join the fight against apartheid since they had already won. Tutu knew this system was crumbling and it would only be a matter of time.

The Religious Right's view of the world is also crumbling as more and more gay Americans come out and live lives that are, well, boring. This past weekend, I got my partner Daniel. We had a wedding like any straight couple. I got to walk my mother and father down the isle, as did Daniel. We were joined by our close friends and family who celebrated with us. Maybe the most surprising was the prayer my 77-year-old father gave before we ate that thank God for this "celebration." For a man who a few years ago was somewhat homophobic, this is a big step forward.

The fact is, people are starting to see gay people as people. We own houses, pay bills and do everything that every other American does. And we also enter into long-term relationships and want to know that when bad things happen, we can visit each other in the hospital or tell each other how we want to be treated if we are very ill.

The war will be won by our side, so it's time that the James Dobson's of the world join our side.

The Incredible, Shrinking Republican Party

The Washington Post has an article today about how the current crop of GOP candidates are bothering not to show up at debates hosted by African Americans and Latinos, two important voting blocks. Part of it stems from the latest anti-immigration push among GOP activists and some extends from thinking it would be a waste of time because they would be booed off stage anyway.

This, along with ditching the debate on gay issues, underscore a big problem for the GOP: a party that is in denial and that is totally out of touch. Former Presidential and Vice Presidential candidate Jack Kemp has it right when he says that if the GOP seems not to want Latinos or blacks to vote Republican.

My take on all of this goes a little like this:

I think what we are seeing is the fingerprints of Karl Rove. He was big on getting the base out to vote and that means getting white evangelicals to the voting booth. This is key, the Holy Grail. No longer are Republicans interested in expanding the GOP coalition ala Reagan, but in doing all they can to please the far right, even if it means losing the vote of independents and minorities. Gays, Latinos, and blacks need not apply. In a recent column, Ron Brownstein notes that the GOP candidates think that they problem with Bush is not that he was a good enough conservative and not that something might be wrong with conservatism itself.

The GOP is in some serious denial. They think that Bush is the problem, but they still think the key to victory is following Bush's guru and not bothering build a conservative coalition that would be made of people from all walks of life.

My own guess is that the GOP won't take on anyone else besides the far right until they get shellacked in 2008 and 2010. Maybe when they become a weak minority party will they decide to change their town and give up trying to please a rabid base.

I'm expecting the 2012 GOP convention to be held in a phone booth if the Republicans don't wake up.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Schwarzenegger and the Future of the GOP

The California Republican Party should be a right-of-center party that occupies the broad middle of California . That is a lush, green, abandoned political space. It can be ours.

That comes from a speech California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who gave a speech about the GOP. He was focused on the California GOP, but I think it applies to the GOP as a whole. I know there are a lot out there who think the GOP is done and will never change, but I think it just might.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

And the Winner Is...

So, I took this quiz that determines what candidates comes close to my views and this is what they told me:

Not a big surprise. Though, I am vary wary of Rudy's foriegn policy; I'm not that interested in Bush Foreign Policy Part Three.