Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The ends and the means?

First, congratulations to Jamie Pedersen, the virtually-elected new representative to the State House for the 43rd district. In the end, after months of wavering because the candidates seemed to have essentially the same stated opinions on the issues I am most concerned about (transportation, K-12 education, and LGBT rights), I supported Jamie because it is important that lgbt children see an out gay person at leadership positions in society.

I've been very loathe to post on here because there just hasn't been much good news. I'm tired of just complaining about everything. I know it's important to speak up, but it gets very tiring in face of how much absolutely ridiculous shit there is to put up with.

I knew that it would take something pretty awful to get me back to blogging... and today, I found it:

Vernon Robinson has to be the most hateful, unscrupulous, ruthless candidate I've ever seen. Of course, he's a Republican running to unseat the Democratic incumbent in North Carolina. For instance, watch this campaign ad he put on the air.

(a group of Colbert Report writers couldn't do a better job):
"These illegal aliens pay no taxes, but take our jobs and our government handouts, then spit in our face, and burn our flag. Well, Vernon Robinson has had enough!"

"Vernon Robinson is an Air Force Academy graduate who proudly served in uniform under the American flag, the flag Brad Miller voted to let illegal aliens burn and trample."
Robinson is also nationally known for mass-mailing flyers that criticized Brad Miller's opposition to a straight-marriage amendment and then insinuated that Miller is gay because he and his wife have no children. Well, Miller responded by pointing out that his wife had to have a hysterectomy when she was only 27.

A normal human being would probably retreat to lick his wounds after having his ass handed to him like Miller did to Robinson. But Robinson pressed on with this new campaign ad which is actually how I heard about the guy at all. You know that when the phrase "bisexual, transgendered, and two-spirited Aleutian Eskimos" is used in a 30-second campaign ad, more important issues are being ignored. In this ad, Robinson's campaign basically wrote spiced-up descriptions of National Institute of Health studies recently funded by the government. This "allowed" them to conclude, "Brad Miller pays for sex, but not for body armor for our troops."

The republic is broken when people are willing to do "whatever it takes" in order to win. There have to be some things that, even if they're technically legal, leaders agree are totally off-limits and dishonorable. Campaign ads like these are an insult to the ideals of democratic dialogue.

A guy I know commented recently on this blog. His comment took a lot out of my soul - it's a big reason why I stopped posting. You'll find the post and his comment here.

The part of his comment that just destroyed me is this:
"Is this solution perfect? No. Is it honest? Not really. Is it moral? Respectful to homosexuals? Healthy for our society? Probably not. What it is is doable, and for me that's good enough. *shrug* I'm a pragmatic guy. Worse, even. I'm a politician. I think sideways, comfortably using misdirection and lies to achieve (hopefully) noble ends. I believe that the court intentionally left an opening for us to go after, and if going after it brings us the results we want, I wouldn't feel right turning away from it. History will eventually smooth out the details."
This isn't "just politics." It's evil, and it's sinful, and it's immoral, and it's NOT DEMOCRATIC.

Democracy requires that each person live and demand life fully according to their highest ideals, not their lowest expectations. If we start to assume, right from the beginning of our dreams, that compromise is the best we can do, then nothing really will ever meaningfully change. I will not accept that there is a distinction between "being realistic" and "being idealistic." If this makes me a hypocrite, then I welcome the label. Better to be an idealistic hypocrite than a "realistic" accomplice to oppression.

A primer on Christian politics:
"But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?"
-Jesus Christ (Luke 6:27-32)

1 comment:

Sean Kellogg said...

The republic is broken when people are willing to do "whatever it takes" in order to win.

Then, Mr. Kim, I'm pleased to report to you that the Republic is not yet broken. The district in question went 53/47 to Kerry and from what I've read Mr. Robinson has been running (and losing) in elections for years now. Rep. Miller is safe this round, as is the republic. That a candidate does "whatever it takes" and still loses is exactly how the Republic ought to function.

Keep posting... we'll keep reading.