If you'd like to read an excellent column on Barack Obama, go to John Hawkins' The Forgotten Street.
The following is part of a discussion I've been having with Cindy at The Pink Flamingo about SOME people who call themselves "conservatives." Being racist, sexist, or homophobic does NOT qualify one as a conservative. As a Christian, my obligation is not to bash people who are different from me, but rather to love them.
Cindy, at some point I'll start writing again about what's going on with "conservatives." I do not support "conservatives" who are anti-Mexican, anti-Black, anti-professional women, or anti-gay.
On the critical issue of dealing with crime: I have been making the point lately that Rudy-Bratton-Kerik (and also Bloomberg) have been central in reducing NYC's murder rate from 2500 pre-Giuliani (2494, actually) to fewer than 500. This is a major "pro-life" achievement. It is a major libertarian accomplishment, because liberty has no meaning if people are afraid to open their front doors.
There are too many murders, especially gun murders, in America. If the American people ask what we're going to do about it, we need to provide a coherent answer. We already have 5-10 times as many people in jail as other developed countries, so building more and more jails is NOT the answer. Murder and crime generally are problems, and our political obligation is to SOLVE problems, not to pretend they don't exist. Many people who call themselves conservatives have defaulted on their obligations as citizens.
There are major, major problems with campaign finance, and it does need to be reformed. Right now, campaign finance as it is will lead to a permanent Democratic majority. Thus, the condemnations of McCain are absurd. Go to opensecrets.org and see how your least-favorite candidates (Pelosi, Murtha, and Obey) are doing in getting "donations." They're getting so much money that there is no earthly way a Republican candidate could defeat them. The Democrats' national congressional committee has raised TWICE as much money as its Republican counterpart. So, good luck to us on regaining control of Congress.
As for the "Gang of 14," it consisted of some of the best people in the Senate, patriotic Americans who were trying to turn the Senate into something other than an ideological hate machine. They should be commended, not condemned. An imperfect solution to a real problem trumps no solution at all.
Additional Part of Dialogue with Cindy is below:
Cindy, the situation with self-styled "conservatives" (some of them racists and various haters) is bad -- very bad. However, there's a healthy re-sorting going on in American politics, and that's probably necessary.
I cite one episode where Hillary Clinton was asked if English should be the "official language" in America. She replied, "It should be the national language but not the official language." Right now, she's better on that issue than Republicans. She handled it without ticking off a single Hispanic. All the Republicans, except McCain, reply that English should be the "official" language. Does that win them any votes?
The point of running for office is to take positions acceptable to a majority of voters. Writing off the Hispanic vote will be a disaster, and right now conservatives seem unable to avoid disasters. Appealing only to the "base," about 20% of American voters, is a great way to lose 45-plus states.
This is a government "of, by, and for the people," which includes people who disagree with us. If a majority disagrees with us, it's our problem, not theirs.
More on gays and lesbians:
Little-Known Political Fact: Without votes from gays and lesbians in the 2000 election, George W. Bush would have lost Florida -- and thus the election. The "inconvenient truth" is that Al Gore would have won that election and probably would still be President. Bush got tens of thousands of gay and lesbian votes in FL, an essential element in his tiny margin of victory (fewer than 600 votes). Exit polls showed that Bush got about one-quarter of the ballots cast by FL homosexuals.
In most surveys, about one-third of gays and lesbians describe their political philosophy as conservative. About the same number define their religious belief as Christian. Those who hate G/L are generally defined as non-Christians, because they violate completely The Second Great Commandment.
In the case of sin, it's critical that we concentrate on our own. We do not know others well enough -- their beliefs, intentions, and actions -- to stand in any sort of judgment of them. If we do otherwise, we are in complete violation of the teachings of Jesus Christ.
An individual's sins are between him or her and God.
More of my endless exchange with Cindy is below:
One of the major issues out there is how to bring conservatives down from their perch in the trees, scratching their pits, back into humanity. I just got a note from one far-right type telling me how awful Barack Obama's church was (same type of article that appeared six months ago in the NY Times). I sent a long reply.
That particular church does not seem particulary "Christian," but it does a great deal of good work in the community, trying to bring people up into the middle class (while berating the elements of middle-class life that most of us worry about, including the bigotry).
My problem with Obama is not his church. It's his politics, which is the same old "redistribute the wealth!" "Get re-elected." "Pay off AFSCME and the NEA!" When people go around condemning his silly minister, they avoid confronting the real issues.
Too many far-right people have one major gripe with Obama: the color of his skin.
Obama's wife Michelle not only has "rhythm," but also is a tremendously effective political operative. His two girls are beautiful and appealing. His message strikes the right chord with many people.
Meanwhile, my right-wing correspondent is telling me who his minister is friendly with and that he doesn't particularly cotton to white folks. Historically, of course white folks haven't exactly been the best friends of black folks, what with slavery, segregation, and the like. My wife likes Obama a lot, and she is not in any sense a stupid person.
Anyway, when people become serious candidates for President, Democrat or Republican, I start treating them with basic courtesy. We only get one President, and he or she turns out to be OUR President.
If we go through another national hate-fest, such as the one we've had with the libs and Bush, the nation will be diminished. We need to talk about what conservatism is, and what it's not. It's not most of the stuff now parading around the Internet.