Thursday, October 25, 2007

When Everyone Turns Right Who can We Trust to Turn Left?

So there have been quite a number of political faux pas made by some of the presidential candidates on the Democrats' side concerning civil rights and homosexuality within the past year.  Now as a heterosexual, I can only do my best to empathize the emotional distress some have felt regarding Obama's recent showing with an anti-gay pastor.  Albeit I was personally disappointed by his move because of my own personal position on civil rights, the most poignant issue however isn't Obama's ties to this controversial pastor.  The salient issue that has taken my immediate concern to this blog is holding each of the Democratic candidates equally responsible for holding similar yet unpopular positions among their liberal supporters.

So let's go back and re-examine each of the candidates' history over the year regarding this sensitive issue.

Remember, John Edwards came out with his opposition towards gay marriage with an early announcement in February when he visited Dartmouth University.   He later cemented that position in June, when he said, "I don't think the federal government has a role in telling either states or religious institutions, churches, what marriages they can bless and can't bless," which to me seemed as a personal concession that there’s no real moral or rational basis for his opposition to gay marriage, just a traditional one that were solely based on his upbringing.   Although he's been consistent in his ideology, all I can say is that I felt it was a cop out, plain and simple.

Bill Richardson on the other hand, had a tough time making up his mind regarding his stance on gay rights. At the forum on August 9th, Richardson shared his belief that being gay "[i]s a choice."  He later "corrected" his position by issuing this statement after the forum, "Let me be clear — I do not believe that sexual orientation or gender identity happen by choice." 

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Interesting, however, are the two leading candidates' positions.  We've all heard about the recent news over Barack Obama's controversial position with his anti-gay pastor.  Hillary, however, has yet to explain or shed any light on an endorsement made by one of her own anti-gay pastors.  Frankly, I don't understand why this hasn't engendered a similar distaste that has brewed over the Obama controversy, that is if we're sincerely discussing issues of hate and homophobia.

Regarding Hillary's political faux pas, her campaign posted a press release trumpeting the endorsement of a particular pastor among 60 ministers she met in the Summer. In this press release Hillary said, "I thank all the leaders whom I met with for their contributions to our country and their commitment to fighting for civil rights and equality."  Yet the only notable pastor who is quoted in this press release is Reverend Dr. Harold R. Mayberry. But the Hillary campaign left out the fact that he believes homosexuality to be comparable to thievery when they quoted him in the press release.

Fighting for civil rights and equality? Discussing urban policy issues with homophobic pastors? Isn't that like discussing environmental issues with a Conservative?

I'm sorry am I the only one seeing the hypocrisy here? Is it only me who's having a hard time understanding how some of her supporters overlook this and then go on to hold her morally superior on this issue? How can she be argued to be trusted with what she's doing when she's not honest or open about her partnerships, endorsements, donors, etc.? It just makes me cynical about these partnerships and endorsements because I feel she's just out there for votes and nothing else. Again I need not point it out but she's fighting for civil rights with people who have conflicting beliefs in that regard. And we must remember, this isn't her first time she was caught associating with controversial individuals either.

More notably too is that this recent mishap was the day after the televised forum that focused on gay issues. What was the point then of her showing up to the forum if she's not there to respect them the next day? If she wished to separate herself, she would have denounced the endorsement or at least distinguished that although she had worked with Reverend Mayberry on urban policy issues, she did not agree with him when it came to gay rights. But sadly that wasn't said.

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Now this post was to take the opportunity to share my disappointment with the liberally unpopular positions all of these candidates have taken regarding homosexuality and homophobia. As someone who respects all of the candidates in this race, the least I can do is to objectively assess each of the candidates' positions before I judge any one candidate. Otherwise I'd have to question my own ethics if I were to hold a double standard regarding the same issue when judging each candidate.

Obama and Hillary now are in the same boat, yet in the following weeks we'll start to see how each of the candidates' characters stand or change as the challenges become tougher.

6 comments:

aids said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Curtis said...

Wow. You should be ashamed of yourself. That's completely unnecessary and cowardly.

Pooya said...

Afshin your post is complete bs. Edwards has the most legal and moral position on this, and your marginalized it. Obama supporters are almost as fanatic as Paul supporters. They say anything to justify their campaign. Edwards position is CONSTITUTIONAL. Marriage is a state issue. It has never been a federal issue.

Afshin said...

Pooya,

You seem to be projecting your own faults on to me here. So number one, read my post again. But since I’m kind I’ll reiterate my post again. I've labeled Edward's position as a "cop out" because he's using the same logic against gay marriage as the religious right. It's against his faith to believe in gay marriage and he staunchly holds this position very tightly on the basis of his upbringing. Thus, he argues, he can't hold any different position when it comes to gay rights and marriage. Supporting civil unions is one thing, but holding a conflicting position that does not discern civil rights and faith is something I must question. And he isn’t the only candidate to be questioned for that position, remind you.

Secondly, I'm answering your post after your remarkably confounded first sentence. On top of that you’ve also insubstantially made an inherently crude statement that I made this post as an attempt to justify Obama’s campaign. Again I ask you to read my post again for your ostentatious judgment has disappointed me.

Pooya said...

"don't think the federal government has a role in telling either states or religious institutions, churches, what marriages they can bless and can't bless," which to me seemed as a personal concession that there’s no real moral or rational basis "
-- Afshin
yes there is a rational basis for this. That's what I was responding to. Its called the Constitution. Marriage is recognized as under the states, not the national government. Edward's position is the best because it follows the law. If someone wants gay marriage they can pass an amendment or pass a law on the state level.

Afshin said...

Pooya,

You're criticizing my post on frame that's irrelevant to the argument I've made. I'm not arguing over the constitutionality of who has the right to grant same-sex marriages.

This whole post was about personal ideologies and their posturing on such issues. Edwards copped out on rationally explaining why he holds this personal ideology regarding gay marriage. And more importantly we care about that because we wish to know how he came to this conclusion.

Thus the fact that gay marriage is a state issue is irrelevant to the points I'm making especially those about Edwards. It seems esoteric, but that's why we watch debates and listen to their reasoning so we can better understand why they have such ideologies.