2008: Some Themes
2008: Some Thoughts
The Republicans are people with a limited vocabulary. They use the family values phrase to cover up their sexism, their homophobia, their social superstitions.
Progressive family values are different from regressive ones. Regressive ones imagine a woman's place to be at home, alone. Career women are hard to digest. Marriage is an institution, a prison. Women should get in and then stop asking questions. And women can not wait around too long to get in.
Progressive family values are not anti family values, they are superior family values. Because women in sexist families must be suffocating.
So there is sexism, there is homophobia, and there is the case of broken down families, dysfunctional families, abusive families, and evil families. Let the social scientists talk. Is it 5%, is it 10%, is it 20%? Show me the numbers. People who themselves might be lucky enough to not be part of such non-existent families should not preach family values upon those less lucky. The family is not always the best option. There are children awaiting rescue. That also applies to abusive husbands. Don't stick to them, get out. Yes, you heard me. But conservatives would rather you stuck around and became a poster child to their failed ideology.
That show me the numbers talk applies to abusive families, it also applies to gays. If only domestic partnership will sail through politically for now, so be it, gay marriages can stay in the works. And I am very much a student of the matter: there is a lot I do not know. And I spend more time thinking about things like vaccinations than gay marriages, much more. But that numbers thing is key. Say if only 2% of the population is gay, then how fair is it for the 98% to push their idea of marriage upon them? Just like how fair is it for those within non-abusive marriages and families to push their stick-around message to those less fortunate? The approach has to be scientific.
The family as an institution has to be reimagined, like the FBI had to be reimagined: a FBI that hounded Martin Luther King was not good for society. That is the progressive challenge. There is no avoiding the topic. And attempts to parrot the conservatives are an even worse choice. They are wrong, they are regressive, they are limited in scope. They want to turn the clock back on gender relations, for one.
Progressives need to go on the offensive, because the conservatives really are anti family values. Their clever talk does not cover up that fact.
People fundamentally hostile to cross-cultural, inter-racial relationships and marriages are not family values people. People hostile to and dismissive of families from other cultural backgrounds are not family values people.
And there are alternate families. Social acceptance has to be cultivated. There is no one right way to do it. Single moms may not be demonized. They need policy level help. And if they down the line wish to no longer be single moms, that would be their personal choice, it is not for the state to preach them dating and marriage. Maybe they just dumped some jerk, and are not in any mood to hook up too soon!
If there is a civil war in America today, it is on this issue. Many people on opposite sides are not on talking terms.
This debate has to be expanded way beyond foetus talk. Because as long as the conservatives can reduce it to foetus talk, they get to hide their real regressive agenda on gender relations. This heated discussion is about gender relations, broadly speaking.
Women and progressives who have the guts to talk this issue and organize around this issue should have the same to talk about gender relations in general. And they are everywhere. We deal with them every waking hour. Women are all around us. They are in homes, they are at workplaces, they are out in the streets walking around. It is about personal space, about glass walls and ceilings.
Rush Limbaugh's "feminazis" need to come out of the closet. I never understood that. It is cool to be a civil rights leader, but it is not cool to be a feminist. Why is that? The take back the night people need to come out the closet.
Same as family. The Republican Party houses all those people and organizations that are fundamentally hostile to people of the non-Christian faiths. These are anti-faith people who need to be exposed. We need to go on the offensive.
The Spectrum Concept
On these topics of family values, abortion and faith, we are dealing with social progressive issues. We have not been too skillful here. And I would like to introduce a spectrum concept. On each social issue, create a spectrum. There would be a scale of 1 to 10. Say on race relations, a 1 would be someone who commits hate crimes. A 10 would be someone whose ideas we might be able to use in the year 2030! They are cutting edge, but not politically salable here and now.
You consolidate 5 to 10. You organize to identify them, and get them out to vote. And if that progressive half of the spectrum does not give us the majority to win, we think of ways to get some of the 4s to move on to 5. We act hostile to the 1s and 2s because they do not deserve any less. We stand amused by the 3s. They might not come along, but the views they hold sure are exotic. And we do not restrain the 10s. Let the dreamers dream. Let them glow like the core of the earth. The plate tectonics need to stay on the move.
We just need a majority, we don't need a total sweep.
The Three Pillars