Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Posts Tagged ‘gay marriage

Americans of all stripes have solutions to our problems, but does Mitt Romney?

leave a comment »

Ask anyone in an American bar after about 3-4 drinks about the state of the country and you will get a lot of response. Liberal, conservative, people who like chicken sandwiches and gay marriage. You will also get solutions to those problems, usually starting out with “if you ask me” even if they weren’t asked.

The key is that most people who complain are willing to back that up with what they would do about it if they were in charge.

Perhaps this isn’t fair to Mitt Romney, who doesn’t drink thanks to his Mormon religion. The people in the bars are less likely to share solutions to the world’s problems when they are sober. But they would still say more than Romney about the subject.

Romney has been running for president for 5 years now, and we know very little about what Romney wants to do about the United States. Vagueness hovers over him like a storm cloud over Charlie Brown.

Politicians get into trouble over giving specifics. But Romney hasn’t learned that giving specifics is like getting a shot. It will hurt, but not for long.

If you want to be president of the United States, and one assumes Romney wants to be president, you do have to present a plan, a motivation, a raison d’etre for why you want to live in the White House. To not be Barack Obama is still not enough.

Romney’s inability to absorb short-term pain extends to his refusal to submit past tax returns. As bad as things might be with those returns, you almost can’t imagine a scenario where Romney’s returns are as bad as people think they are based on his reluctance to turn them over.

As someone who has not been impressed with Harry Reid, I find his latest bravado has been sorely missing, especially in all of 2009 and 2010. The Senate Majority Leader was better off limiting his scope on Romney’s tax returns to his unidentified source. Reid is far enough on the plank that a simple tax returns release would have to shut him up. Romney can’t even pull that off. If Romney gets a cut and a bandage, does someone else rip it off of him.

Barack Obama really wanted to be president in 2008. Whatever you might think of some of his decisions, Obama definitely wants to be president again. Obama takes a lot of shots, some from his own side, and some odd clearly mendacious shots from Romney (e.g., welfare as we know it).

Reid isn’t winning on style points, though his tactics have been soundly criticized while similar approaches from the right are treated as harmless. Yet the only way Reid wins is that Romney doesn’t disclose his tax returns. That just might happen.

On the tax returns, Romney is borrowing a page from the Sarah Palin playbook. Palin ran out the clock while never disclosing her medical records. As far as the MSM was concerned, Palin got away with it. Candidates disclose their tax returns and medical records, but Palin and now Romney want to be exceptions, and feel perturbed if you think otherwise.

Romney has run this race with arrogance — more than even 2008. Too much humility is bad, but from an objective standpoint, Obama has a more comfortable balance between arrogance and humility.

When the GOP assembles in Tampa, Romney will have to give a speech on why Americans should elect him president. He should start by looking into his reflection and asking “why do I want to be president.” For his sake, he should tell himself and the rest of us really soon.

Advertisements

Politicians making their mark in the world of food

leave a comment »

Michael Bloomberg switches from Big Gulps to breastfeeding, Mike Huckabee gets a little too excited about a fried chicken sandwich, and Chile says no to toys and food.

Politics often interferes in food; we hope that the interference will benefit food.

We weren’t crazy about Bloomberg’s obsession over Big Gulps, mostly because of the inconsistency. We are heavily in favor of breastfeeding, even if the style lacks some serious points.

Huckabee lost a lot of weight in part from avoiding the kind of food you can get at Chick-Fil-A. Watching him push fried chicken sandwiches for political opportunism is disturbing.

Chile falls into the Bloomberg camp: a better idea than how to get there.

For more on how these stories are connected and what they all mean, check out this column from our sister blog, BalanceofFood.com.

Chick-Fil-A should be about love, not hate

leave a comment »

Dan Cathy has kicked up the heat on Chick-Fil-A and gay marriage. Yes, we know the restaurant chain supports “traditional marriage” and contributes money to groups fighting against gay marriage. By making that stance more than obvious, Chick-Fil-A’s PR nightmare shows that associating a brand with hate, not love, is detrimental to the financial bottom line.

Conservatives are trying to help out the Chick-Fil-A franchise by declaring today as Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day. Pro gay marriage forces have organized a “kiss-in” for Friday. The conservatives, such as Mike Huckabee, Billy Graham, Sarah Palin, and Rick Santorum, aren’t necessarily there for the chicken sandwich, but there to counter the move toward equality in marriage.

For more on the coverage and an in-depth analysis, check out this column from our sister blog, BalanceofFood.com.

Barack Obama finally comes out in favor of same-sex marriage — again

leave a comment »

Bill Clinton inhaled. And Barack Obama says he’s cool with same-sex marriage.

We all knew Bill Clinton inhaled, but he couldn’t admit it. We all knew Barack Obama was in favor of same-sex marriage, but he couldn’t admit it. Obama was in favor of same-sex marriage in 1995 — the first time.

The idea that Joe Biden saying he was in favor of gays getting married was a gaffe is part of why the Washington MSM media mentality is so destructive. When hatemongers spew hatred, they get the tip of the cap from the MSM elite. When a sitting vice president speaks about love, it’s an embarrassment.

Never mind that Dick Cheney said it before it was cool in some circles. Biden said it, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and then the first President of the United States to say it said it: gays and lesbians should be able to get married.

The Dems are the ones that set up Irony Fest ’12 in placing its national convention in North Carolina, the state that just passed Amendment One that bans gay marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships. What a fun time that will be in Charlotte. On the other hand, the Democratic National Convention will be the closest that natives may get to gay and lesbian visitors. Seriously, if you are gay or lesbian, would you go to North Carolina if you didn’t have to go?

Mitt Romney said for his part that marriage should be between a man and a woman. Will the MSM have the guts to ask Romney about the fact that his grandfather was part of a polygamy commune in Mexico? For those who argue for the traditional definition of marriage, as Romney does, Mormons would argue that their tradition is polygamy and Romney is a Mormon.

Part of that traditional definition of marriage would have nullified the marriage of the president’s parents. In fact, Virginia wouldn’t have recognized Obama’s parents marriage at the time Obama was born. For this reason alone, Obama should have been in favor of gay marriage from at least since the 2008 convention.

But Democratic politicians have felt the need to hide their true self and beliefs because the MSM and others pressure them to do so. George W. Bush proposed a Constitutional amendment that took away rights from Americans. No eyes were batted on that news. Then again, the Dem politicians look foolish when they do fall in the MSM trap.

We know where Romney stands on the marriage front, but his take on gays has come under question in two separate instances. Romney’s refusal to stand up for Richard Grenell, his foreign policy spokesman, who was likely hounded out of his job because he was gay, was disgraceful. And Romney went out of his way to dispel the notion that a prank he had played on someone when he was in high school had nothing to do with whether the victim was gay. “That was the furthest thing from our minds back in the 1960s.”

Then again, the boy was picked on because he stood out. Regardless of sexual orientation, the “prank” — pinning the boy and cutting off his ponytail — was rather cruel.

Romney did come up and said gay people should be able to adopt, leading to the idea of a family, but not have the parents get married. Huh?

The one person who has the proper perspective who we have not heard from on this issue is Newt Gingrich. After all, we had a major presidential candidate on the GOP side with a blood relative who is a lesbian. Candace Gingrich is the half-sister of the former Speaker of the House. Though political junkies knew of Candace’s existence, the MSM left her out of the equation when gay marriage issues came up. We’ve heard this “well, the public already knows about this” mentality. Guess what? A whole new generation of young people didn’t know. And not every reader, listener, and viewer remembers every little nuance of candidates, past and present.

“No to all incumbents and no to Amendment One.”

The best line was from one of my Facebook friends from North Carolina. While I can’t agree over the incumbents stance (oversimplification of what is happening politically), I love how he acknowledged what conservatives have traditionally stood for: getting government out of people’s business. This includes the bedroom.

Trust me, he is plenty conservative. But he also knows that government shouldn’t be deciding who can get married.

Harper government’s legal opinion endangers same-sex marriages by Americans in Canada

leave a comment »

Canada has been a refuge in the last few years for gays and lesbians in the United States who wanted to get married. Couples would travel to Canada, investing time and money into vacations centered around a ceremony where two people in a loving commitment promise to be true to one another.

Now, with one legal opinion in the Harper government, Canada’s refuge status is in serious danger. In a Toronto divorce case, the federal government argues that those binding marriages aren’t if the people involved don’t live where same-sex marriages is legal. Then why would they have gone to Canada if they had known that?

They went to Canada because the marriages were legal in Canada, and many of those couples have received benefits in the United States, public and private, as a result of those marriages. Stephen Harper has a lot of explaining to do, and until he gives a resolute, definitive answer on this subject, Canada’s marriage travel industry is in trouble.

For more on this, check out our take from our sister blog, CanadianCrossing.com.

Canadians more free for ‘pursuit of happiness’ than Americans

with one comment

Today is Canada Day, the day where the Great White North celebrates the birth of its country. Fireworks, picnics, and beach trips dominate the landscape, and this year, the country has the newest Royal Couple, Will and Kate, visiting Canada.

The sense of “freedom” isn’t as dominant in Canada as in the United States for the Independence Day. As excited as people are about the expanded freedom of gay marriage in New York state, there are more provinces (10) that allow gay marriage in Canada than states (6) in the United States. Which country has more freedoms?

Throw in 3 Canadian territories and gay marriage covers way more ground in Canada than the United States.

“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is in the U.S. lexicon, not Canada’s. But Canadians have freedom that most Americans can only wish for having.

President Barack Obama is slowly warming up to the idea of gay marriage along the lines of a frog in water where the heat has just been turned on. Obama’s empathy for marriages not in the mainstream should stem from his parents mixed marriage, an illegal act in some parts of the United States when his parents were married. Unfortunately, that hasn’t helped his empathy level for gay marriage.

What little freedom that exists in the United States is extremely limited. A few states allow for gay marriage, but the vast majority of states have some barrier to recognition. Freedom also means the freedom to move around a country, especially in uncertain economic times. If you are gay married, you don’t have the freedom to move to another part of your own country.

Federal law in the United States doesn’t recognize gay marriage, so just because you’re American and gay married doesn’t mean you are in most of the country.

A lesbian married couple who lives in Ontario and gets married in Ontario, and one of them gets a better job in Alberta due to oil production, that couple has the freedom to move to Alberta and still have their marriage legitimately recognized because they’re Canadian.

Think about couples that have moved from New York to California over the last few years. Gay married? Not gay married? Some people who care would be confused about the Golden State in the last few years.

Canadians, gay or straight, are also free to pursue jobs that suit them best. Americans? Not so much.

Americans aren’t free to do so if they are tied to their health care plan based on their employment location. Want to be an entrepreneur in the United States? Better not have any health issues for you or your family.

In fact, some American couples, gay or straight, have divorced not from animosity but from financial practicality where being married is a drawback for getting insurance. And other American couples have been tempted or actual got married to get health care from their spouse. Is that what they mean by the Defense of Marriage Act?

Freedom can’t be just about the freedom to grill meat outdoors, shop at Wal-Mart, and blow up body parts with fireworks.”Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” has to mean something in Americans’ everyday lives instead of being a patriotic slogan that doesn’t translate in the 21st century.

One freedom that Americans have than Canadians don’t is freedom of speech. Canadians tend to limit speech based on hate, but you could easily argue that hate is rather difficult to define. But since Canadians have freedom to say mostly what they want, have freedom to move around based on marriage and health care, they are a lot more free than their Southern counterparts.

And the freedom of speech that Americans have and Canadians don’t has been damaged since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that money is speech, average Americans now have less freedom to make an impact in the political process, unless they’re rich. And average Americans aren’t getting rich these days. For full disclosure, the majority conservative government of Canada wants to strip political parties of federal funding, making corporate money a stronger player in Canadian federal elections.

Freedom needs to be a 365-day part of people’s lives, not just on the Canadian holiday (July 1) or the American holiday (July 4). The pursuit of happiness doesn’t guarantee happiness, but the pursuit does require maximum freedom to pursue happiness. Right now, neither Canadians nor Americans live in the ideal, but in a head-to-head North American matchup, Canadians would win it running away.

So enjoy your grilled meats, potato salad, and other picnic fare this weekend, Canadian or American. But once your holiday is over, think about what freedom really means to you, and do what you can to put pressure on your politicians so that you can pursue happiness.