Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Gay Folks Should At Least Consider Republicans—Otherwise They Will Get Used

My blogger friend and comrade Jos 76 in Boston recently wrote about the Log Cabin Republicans.   

Log Cabin Republicans are an organization of gay Republicans.

Jos is one half of a gay marriage in Massachusetts.

Jos is closer to the political center than I am. He wrote in his post he was still making his mind up between Barack Obama and John McCain. As part of his decision, he noted Senator McCain has a poor record on gay issues.  

When I first read the post, I thought Jos had lost his mind to be considering Mr. McCain.

Jos might say he views himself on the center-right on fiscal issues, and wants to hear what Republicans have to say on such questions.

It’s a reminder that we make assumptions about what people believe because of groups they fall into by no personal choice. Gays are not to blame that Republicans are so often bigoted. If you are gay and don’t agree with Democrats on many issues, you’re pretty much out of luck.

Many times on this blog I’ve written that as a lifelong city resident, I’ve voted for Democrats time and time again and not always seen results.

I know Republican state legislatures and Republicans in the federal government are a big part of the problem, yet I’ve rarely been impressed with the quality of municipal representation offered by Democrats.

City residents and many minority voters, like gay voters, often feel they have no option but to vote Democratic. I wager many often feel used or ignored in how Democrats govern once elected.

I’d be surprised if many rural voters and evangelicals don’t have similar impressions of Republicans.

With only two main parties for 300 million people, many wish they could combine what they see as the better aspects of both parties into one candidate. Yet since that can’t happen, folks have to make a call.

I personally won’t be voting for any Republicans. I believe in partisanship at every level of government. I believe party identification offers voters a shorthand to sift through a wide range of issues. I want elected officials of the same party to work as a team for a broad set of goals.

There are sometimes Democrats I refuse to vote for. In such cases, I don’t vote for the office in question. I’ve voted for Greens. But I feel that any Republican elected to any office strengthens the party as a whole. 

The modern Republican Party is so far to the right, that I won’t vote for a Republican. 

Still, Jos should keep his options open. It’s possible in the future that Republicans may be the party more open to the diversity of America. Or that both parties will become fully accepting of gay folks. You can’t tell how political parties will move and evolve in response to the demands of circumstance and the electorate.

One thing I’d say to Jos is that fiscal policies of progressive taxation and government help for those in need, is part of a broad and inclusive human rights agenda.

It’s excellent that gays are making progress in obtaining the rights all Americans merit. Yet unless progress is made across the board on social justice, victories by specific groups will not be as meaningful as they would be otherwise.

Consistent with concerns I expressed above for city residents and rural voters, addressing longstanding problems of poverty is as at least as important as the social issues that have so often been the focus of political life in recent years.         

June 16, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics | , , , , | 4 Comments

Humans Not As Unique As They Figure

A recent article in New Scientist magazine says human beings are not as unique as they imagine.

Above is a photo of sheep living in Austria. Here is a story about the minds of sheep. 

The article says animals have newly discovered and surprising abilities in ways people once thought as specific to humans.

For example, killer whales have been found to have distinct ways of communicating and hunting depending on if they live in a stable pod or are more transient. This speaks to culture among non-human species.

Some chimps use tools. Many people have seen the pictures of chimps using sticks to fish termites out of the termite mound. This is an example of tool use by animals.

Elephants grieve for dead herd members. Many animals have been noted for apparently emotional reactions. Humans are not the only species that experience emotion. 

Beyond culture, tool use and emotion, some animals may possess distinctive personalities, morality, and the ability to understand the mind and intent of another.

Humans are clearly unique. 

We are just not as special as we figure.

Who is as special as they figure?

Here is a BBC article on the subject of the minds of animals.

Below are lyrics from the Talking Heads song Animals.

They say they don’t need money
They’re living on nuts and berries
They say animals don’t worry
You know animals are hairy?
They think they know what’s best
They’re making a fool of us
They ought to be more careful
They’re setting a bad example
They have untroubled lives
They think everything’s nice
They like to laugh at people
They’re setting a bad example

June 16, 2008 Posted by | Music, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment