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addendum

The problem with coming over to someone's weblog and making assumptions about them based on one entry is this: your assumptions will most likely be way off base. For the reasoning-impaired, let's review. * I am not from the religious right. In fact, I am an atheist. * I do not consider myself a Republican. I have not voted for a Republican president ever - and I've been voting since 1980. * I am not homophobic or bigoted. All you needed to do was scroll down the page a bit and you would have figured that out before you made an ass of yourself. * I am not a gung-ho, Bush-can-do-no-wrong kind of person. When I vote for him in November, it will not be done with a great amount of joy. Ways not to win an argument: * Insist that everyone who does not agree with you is stupid or misguided. * Assume that anyone who likes Bush for his stance on terrorism has been "brainwashed" by the party line and cannot think for themselves, nor come to conclusions without having them whispered in their ear. You want to talk? Debate? Go over facts and figures? Fine. Let's do that. But I'm going to start off assuming that you are an intelligent, thoughtful person who is able to make your own decisions and come to your own conclusions. If you cannot do the same for me, then we cannot debate or talk. Ever. That is all. Update: If you are coming here from various links, you might want to read this post first, so you have the context for this one. And then hit the main page, where I go off on some wild-eyed rant about America, 1968, dancing and West Side Story.

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Comments

I agree. Some people seem to get very brave when they sit behind a computer. We live in a society that should reflect the views of the majority while at the same time providing certain protection regardless of your views.

It amazes me how these assclowns make assumptions about you based only a few words. Shame on them. Regardless of how I feel about the issues of this election, I applaud you for making a difficult decision based on what's most important to you. Bravo!

Girl, you get TWO pies.

Holy shit, Michele. I guess this is what happens when people think with the heart and not their heads. How amazing that people can have such strong feelings about things they abviously don't understand...and make choices about them that over reach logic. Sorry this is happening, I've been there too.

Michele, my irony detector is going off. I keep reading about how Bush is dividing America, and yet from what you're having to put up with, it sure sounds to me like his detractors are at least doing their fair share of dividing.

Fuel for the fire...

The new defender of gay rights, John Kerry, has made clear he supports the amendment to the Mass Constitution to ban gay marriage but allow for civil unions...gee isn't that the same position as Bush? I don't whose political machinations are worse.

Ralph....maybe you win a vote this year!

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2004/02/26/kerry_backs_state_ban_on_gay_marriage/

So you're not a homophone or a bigot.

Then don't vote for one.

So you're not a homophobe or a bigot.

Then don't vote for one.

That would require not voting in this election, apparently.

Applauds Michele

"Some people seem to get very brave when they sit behind a computer."

For a long, long time, I have lamented the disappearance of the practice of dueling.

I'm not kidding.

I am unalterably convinced that we would live in a far more decorous culture if people knew that they might be challenged to pay for uttered impertinences with their very blood.

That would require not voting in this election, apparently.

Wouldn't that drive the Euros nuts! W gets in because of low voter turnout.

Ohhh, this could be fun, could low voter turnout means someone's neutral? Just because someone's neutral doesn't mean they're against one side.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Sorry, I've been spending too much time at a euro forum. Sometimes their logic is a pretzel.

You are not the only one thats converted. I dont consider myself a conservative, but I would rather be safe than broke. Although I dont buy this recession stuff........

Vince,
I don't plan on it; I'm voting for a born-again Christian that is neither (and anyone who IS a bigot or a homophobe; doesn't fit my definition of Christian).

BTW, I really dispise the term "homophobe"... Perhaps someone can make the argument that a person with an irrational fear of something or someone "hates" that respective class or group. But the reflexive property doesn't apply (i.e. anyone who hates something or someone doesn't necessary have an IRRATIONAL fear of them, or even a rational fear of them. If I have fascists does it follow that I have an irrational fear of them?). I guessing some out there would say yes, but if that's true you've probably never had a true phobia.

I got here late...what, has Foresta-Simplex infected S.V. too??

Come to think of it, I've never seen Vince and Mr. Foresta in the same place at the same time....

The problem is we have two completely unsatisfactory candidates. One who sucks on security, the other one who sucks on anything else. Michelle chooses security for now. Don't begrudge her that.

Brave behind a computer? If I wanted to be 'brave', I would call a Michele a 'cunt' or mock her bullied kid or make fun of other aspects of her appearance/life.

I'm saying she's stupid to believe Bush is the 'magic rock' (forget where I read that) that keeps the bad brown Islamonuts away. And yes, I call people stupid all the time to their faces, because I can the cash the proverbial check.

I'm also saying voting for a man who trys to amend your Constitution to deny equality, and votes to criminalize gay sex, doesn't make you much better.

If I wanted to be 'brave', I would call a Michele a 'cunt' or mock her bullied kid...

Brave? Perhaps. Suicidal? Yes.

Just sayin'.

I see you're in the check writing business also.

Make that 'cheque'.

"I see you're in the check writing business also."

Nice....subtley threating a woman from behind a computer....words escape me

Vince wrote:
Brave behind a computer? If I wanted to be 'brave', I would call a Michele a 'cunt' or mock her bullied kid or make fun of other aspects of her appearance/life.

No, that would just make you an asshole. The typical childish sort of feral parasite who wanders around trying to piss off or hurt other people.

HTH, HAND.

"Nice....subtley threating a woman from behind a computer....words escape me"

Ryan, next time you pee sitting down, think of me. Threatening, oh boy. She was the one implying I was setting myself up for destruction. Who's threatening who? Anyways, run along.

"No, that would just make you an asshole. The typical childish sort of feral parasite who wanders around trying to piss off or hurt other people. "

Exactly. I'm not an asshole, maybe a jerk, but definately correct in this discussion.

Vince, you are beyond a jerk. Yu are a small man,which is absolutely worse.

Vince, the problem with your assumption (and it IS an assumption, a conclusion; it's not a fact) is that when you say that Bush is trying to amend the constitution to deny equality, you automatically assume that man-marrying-man or woman-marrying-woman is REQUIRED for equality. The whole argument bounces between "tradition" and "equal rights". The issue is not equal rights for homosexuals: right now, gays and straights have the EXACT same right to marry. Any man, gay or straight, can marry a woman; any woman, gay or straight, can marry a man.
What you demand/believe/declare is that because straights can marry whom they happen to naturally gravitate towards that gays should be allowed to as well. This is not "required" by anything. Leaving religion/morality out of it (as we should, church law or tradition has no place in the debate), marriage is a legal construction with certain rights and responsibilities. It was constructed as the joining of two opposite sex parties as a method to ensure stable familes blah blah. Right now, gays and straights are equal before that law.
You want to extend it. I happen to agree with you (assuming you are still reading; based on your above posts, I am guessing you are already typing your reply), but make no bones about it: this is a NEW right, an EXTENSION of rights under our Constitution, and whether our country (or states, which is where this issue belongs, but that's another matter) decides yea or nay on this issue, this is not an attempt to "deny equality." It is an attempt to avoid changing an existing legal construct, not a creation of second-class citizens, institutionalizing homophobia, Nazism, or any of the other hystrionic name-calling which people are engaging in. Debate it as it is, not as you wish the other side was to make your side feel morally superior.

Man Vince, you really are a cocksucker.

Michele, ignoring the fact that this thread has deteriorated badly, I liked what you said. When I first started posting at C-P the thing that struck me right off was all the assumptions people made about me. I had never thought of myself as a "lefty," ever, or a "Democrat." It never occurred to me that people would think they had me totally figured out just because I said that Bush lied to get us into a war. I still find every day (it just happened) that people make assumptions about me, thinking they can guess everything I think.

Recently a bad thing happened, which was that this rightwinger -- I mean way out there where the other guys couldn't reach him (it was TR) -- decided that he and I had something in common...

Ouch.

"Ryan, next time you pee sitting down, think of me."

There's a visual I can dealt without.

"Threatening, oh boy. She was the one implying I was setting myself up for destruction. Who's threatening who?"

Sorry my friend, I don't believe threatening a woman is ever justified. She did it first is your excuse? Sad, just plain sad.

"Anyways, run along."

Translation: I realized I made an ass of myself but I am too immature to apologize for going over the top.

I'm an occasional reader. The only thing that surprises me in your list is that you voted for Mondale. And Dukakis. Ug.

Surely you can ban Vince's IP? I hate to see anyone's comment section turn to slime.

Vince,
"I'm also saying voting for a man who trys to amend your Constitution to deny equality, and votes to criminalize gay sex, doesn't make you much better."
In other words: If you don't think like me, you're a bigot, recist, homophobe, etc.
(Yawn) Time to move on - no debate going on here.

This is EXACTLY what happens virutally every day over at Moorewatch. We make one post, some left-wing numb nuts Michael Moore fan logs in for the first time, and judges all of us based on that one post.

Note to idiots: read through the archives of a blog before you make an ass out of yourself.

Given your obvious hard feelings, the apparent lack of interest from much of anybody on either side to really discuss the issue, and that you have stated your position more than once, why continue to write defensive posts about it? Those who agree with you, peachy-keeno, those who don't... Well there's lots of other 'blogs to read.

And Vince, assuming you're not doing this just for troll points or because of some deep masochistic need, why are you still here? You think you're going to change anyone's mind? Yeah, right. Move on to greener pastures, dude, or go start your own 'blog and rant to your heart's content.

Myria

What bothers me is that so many people assume one's opinions have to be either "standard" left or "standard" right. I've particularly noticed this in recent discussions of international trade, wherein people tend to get confused if you bring up both points that are usually made by the left and points that are usually made by the right...

Keep on keeping on, Michele- you've got the absolute right to decide who to vote for, and no one should be trying to bully you into doing otherwise.

Vince, who are you voting for? Nader's the only guy in the election who's supporting gay marriage, as far as I can tell... is he your guy, then?

Actually, you'll notice that Vince wrote "homophone" the first time around. Clearly this was a freudian slip. He has a powerful aversion to words that sound alike, but are spelled differently. Probably goes back to difficulties he had spelling back in grade school, I would guess.

"He has a powerful aversion to words that sound alike, but are spelled differently."

Wouldn't that make him a homophonophobe?

congrats on the instapundit hit.

the blog trolls never learn. picking a verbal fight with michele is always a losing proposition-

Somehow I think the only check Vince has ever cashed is a welfare check.
He sure as hell would not be able to type if called anyone stupid in the crowd I hang with, so ergo, I believe he never leaves the house and thinks calling his mommy stupid is macho.
You da man, Vince, you da man

snigger, snigger

I had to make a similar blog post once concerning "goals" in arguments and "how not to achieve them". :)

I'll bet the Rove/Cheney/Halliburton triad told you to tell us that, Michelle.

not a bigot or a homophobe but you have all the same views --

Vince, before commenting on how often you call other people stupid, I would:

[1] Ensure that commas are placed correctly. When using quotation marks in the middle of a sentence, remember that other punctuation marks appear within the quotations.

You wrote: ...wanted to be 'brave',

This is wrong on several fronts. First, single quotes are only to be used when inside of double quotes. Also, the comma should appear before the second quote. Correctly written, this sentence should read: ...wanted to be "brave,"

[2] Remember spelling when it comes to tenses. In your third sentence, you said: ...trys to amend...

This is wrong. Correctly written, this sentence should read: ...tries to amend...

You can call everyone you meet "stupid," just make sure not to do it in writing.

And here's a friendly tip: most banks don't cash checks/cheques that have misspelled words or gratuitous errors. The presence of these errors points to only one result - a fake.

Vince and a few others only make Michele's point; Anyone who disagrees is subject to ad hominem attacks. I also find it interesting that it (Vince) resorts to threats of violence, How sad. As to Bush being a "Homophobe and bigot", how do you get that? Bush is only proposing that the People decide what marriage is and not have it imposed by judicial fiat. This is really the same as the Defense of Marriage Act that was signed by Clinton. Were you calling him a "homophobe and bigot"?
To the grammatician Greg...punctuation around quotation marks is very controversial these days. I wouldn't open up that Pandora's Box. And don't get me started on the subject of the serial comma.

"I am not homophobic or bigoted. All you needed to do was scroll down the page a bit and you would have figured that out before you made an ass of yourself."

I believe you. What you are, obviously, is afraid. And Bush&Co. have successfully leveraged that fear into support.

You plan to vote for Bush because you're afraid of what will happen if he doesn't win. You're so afraid that you're even willing throw out (or at least temporarily put aside) at least one of your principles - equal rights for homosexuals.

That's fine - that's your right.

I have to wonder, though, just how much your fear rules your thinking. What if Bush proposed rolling back equal rights for minorities? Would your fear of terrorists outweigh that? What if he proposed barring women from having access to birth control? Would your fear of terrorists outweigh that?

If the answer is yes, then it looks to me like the terrorists have succeeded in what they set out to do. Because that's some pretty powerful fear they've managed to instill in you.

Then again, maybe they've already succeeded.

Geez people,
Vince is a Troll. Stop feeding him and just GAZE in disgust.
Oh and I'm sorry Michele for your loss of a friendship. I've always believed me that politics has no place in the bedroom nor between true friends.

Alrighty, one more time for the comprehension-impaired.

Bush did not brainwash me into being afraid of anything. Contrary to popular belief, I am in control of my own brain and mind, thank you. And I am not voting for Bush because I view him as some miracle cure that will make sure I'm never afraid again; I'm voting for him because out of the two serious presidential candidates, he's the one I trust to make me less afraid.

all: you have been well and truly trolled. Vince, paint another url on the side of your trollwagon and move to the next comment board, please. Sad.

Michele, I think your position on Bush is the reasonable one, and that is exactly what the country needs. Furthermore, that reasonableness, of both your choice and your calm defense of that choice, does help the country even if that is not the intention motivating your vote.

You just gotta love it. All the way back in the '60s (I think I remember stuff from back then, but these senior moments) the sanctimonious a**holes automatically figure that if you disagree with them you must be a) stupid, 2) ignorant, 3) evil, 4) brainwashed, or 5) all of the above. I don't particularly care which side of a debate the sanctimonious a**holes are on, they all seem to operate the same way. There is no difference between a right-wing Christian idiot and a left-wing Marxist idiot except dogma. Sometimes I despair for the human race. Hang in there Michele.

Locke does it too, although it (Locke) is more veiled in the ad homina:
"willing to set aside ...one of your principles"
How about the principle of letting the people decide? Where is the disgust of Kerry's position which is essentially the same as Bush's? The inability of people to argue on the facts and then impugn others is mindblowing. As a psychologist I see some classic projection happening here.
Intellectual dishonesty. Pfeh!

Just read the previous post - and thought it was very revealing.

Passion like Michele's friend's in no short supply online, of course, and a lot of people's issues seem silly or overblown. It's easy to reject this guy as a not-real friend because he's willing to reject you over the politics of gay marriage.

But it's worth remembering what's at stake. I imagine it's fifty years ago, and I (white) tell a black friend that I'm voting for a guy who supports an amendment that says blacks and whites can't marry, or some other form of institutionalized discrimination. Would I be surprised if that friend felt betrayed? Black people died because bigotry was tolerated. Second-class citizenship cost people their lives.

And people die in this country for being gay. Maybe not so often, maybe not so much anymore, but it still happens. They get abused, they get beat up, they get discriminated against, subtly and openly. Not everywhere, not always, but it happens, and if I was gay, I would see the President's position as a threat.

Even without becoming law, that amendment is a threat. Just the fact that it's being discussed means people can look at gays and say, "you're different. Maybe you don't deserve the same treatment as me. Maybe my [redneck cousin, nasty uncle, frat brothers, pastor, stock broker] was right: I'm on the good side. You're on the bad side." Make no mistake, that's what this amendment is about: it's a rejection of homosexuality.

So if there was ever a one-issue issue I could respect, it's this one. Vote for GWB, but know now that a vote for GWB is in part a vote for homophobia and bigotry. That hurt your friend very badly, because he knows it makes the world more dangerous for gay people.

"Bush did not brainwash me into being afraid of anything."

Never said he did. You have perfectly legitimate reasons to be afraid.

But Bush & Co. have managed to parlay that fear into support for something you say you believe (and I have no reason to doubt your word) is fundamentally wrong.

In this particular instance, you have chosen to put (percieved) safety over principle.

I guess what I'm wondering is, is there a situation where the reverse would be true? Is there anything Bush could do, any principle of yours he could go against that would be so important that you would be willing to trade away the (perceived) safety he offers?

Where do you draw the line? Do you draw it anywhere?

" When using quotation marks in the middle of a sentence, remember that other punctuation marks appear within the quotations." - GREG

Unless it's hackish useage and punctuation. quietly wanders off bemused ;]

Michele, I'm with you. I do have comments and questions for Locke:
1. If I am attacked or threatened with attack, and I take up arms and maintain vigilance and feel fear as I get ready to fight back and defend myself, am I succumbing to fear? Has my enemy "won?" (That's for Greg.) Should any of us attacked or threatened with attack simply give in because otherwise the evildoers have won?
2. If there is a child molester in your neighborhood preying on children, are you right to feel fear and let it guide your actions, for as long as he is loose and threatens your children? Or do you ignore it and let your kids play and wander as normal?

There are times when fear, accompanied by preparation and action, serves us very well indeed. Is there anything that could make ME not vote for W? Yes: if he gave up the WOT. If he sucked up to the Euros and anyone out to destroy us or aid and abet those who are out to destroy us. Is there anything that could make me vote for Kerry or Edwards? Yes: IF the above happened AND they took up seriously the goals and efforts in the WOT. There is not a snowball's chance in hell of either ever happening.

Locke --

Name a single candidate anyone can vote for this year without sacrificing some principle. There is absolutely no candidate that will agree with most people on every issue; unless you're one of a lucky few, you have to sacrifice some "principle" when you vote.

And this is especially true when you look at Kerry's position. Kerry isn't for equality. While he doesn't want to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban gay marriage but allow civil unions, he's all for amending the Massachusetts Constitution to ban gay marriage but allow civil unions. They only differ on how to ban gay marriage, not whether it should be done. Since the president of the U.S. has no powers regarding either amendment proceedure, other than the ability to use his office as a "bully pulpit" to spread rhetoric, there is no significant difference between Bush and Kerry on gay marriage.

Since you seem to consider gay marriage so important, it's clear that you won't be sacrificing your principles by voting for Kerry. Or are you so afraid of what Bush will do in other areas that you'll vote Kerry despite his opposition to gay equality? Is there anything Kerry could do, any principle of yours he could go against that would be so important that you would be willing to trade away the (perceived) safety he offers?

Where do you draw the line? Do you draw it anywhere?

If you're not thrilled with Bush, maybe you should think about voting Libertarian? Choosing the lesser of two evils is not the best thing to do. Type "World's Smallest Political Quiz" into your favorite search engine. Go and take the test, it only takes five minutes. Let me know where you fall on the graph.

A friend who requires you to demonstrate loyalty by agreeing with them on every issue has evidenced a maturity level no greater than that found among sixth grade cliques.

Painful to experience, but a clear decisive message to you that what mattered all along was not you, your needs or your relationship, but him. Always and just ...him.

Fairly good discussion, with exceptions.

Supporting TWAT does not mean we are frightened. While it may very well be that some are scared, as many may be angry, and rightly so. That also serves us well because miscreants have to know that Americans will respond, perhaps in disproportionate fashion.

These guys killed my friends and damned near got me. I want to take it to them every day, good and hard. When I tire of TWAT, I will tell you. Until then, if you want the same thing I'm voting for you.

EOS

Michele I found your post, and this debate, through another link.

I am a lesbian, and I don't think you are a bigot. I too have been upset with Kerry. I don't like Bush, but at least he will stand up for what he truly believes. I'm not voting for him, but I wouldn't stop being friends with someone who did.

Of course the proposed amendment bothers me. But I prefer to spend my time educating my friends as to why I feel that way, instead of just threatening them.

Applause for you for taking the time to think through something that was personal and difficult, coming to an intelligent decision based on facts - not emotions, and not being afraid to stick by it.

Bush did not brainwash me into being afraid of anything.

The brain-washed are always the first to say they're not brain-washed (actually, I agree with you, I'm just pulling your chain a little) ;)

"Vote for GWB, but know now that a vote for GWB is in part a vote for homophobia and bigotry." - BeetRoot

Michele,

BeetRoot (& your friend) have simply wandered off the democratic path and into the leftist paradise. They just know the correct answer to questions of social justice and simply don't need to respect the arguments, perspectives or reservations offered by anyone else. Apparently, they cannot even acknowledge that they live in a Democracy where the rules we live by and the definitions that govern our lives (what is "marriage" anyway?) should be made by the people.

All of us need to be dragged outside of our normal assumptions once in a while in order to freshen our perspectives and open our minds. In the 1950s and 60s it was primarily the bigots that screamed and kicked when this happened. We on the left developed a certain language to deal with this reaction: the patient explanation followed by a dose of grounded morality. For cases that refused to budge: the sneering dismissal and the cliquish smear ("he's just a bigot!"). But the power of the high ground is a bit of an intoxicant and the left became quite inebriated indeed.

Having achieved most of what we set out to achieve, it is sad to see this once-great movement now reduced to a mere interest group who manipulate its verbal levers but who fail to grasp its moral foundation in the rights of (all of) the governed. It is also sad to see Gay men and women living in one of the most tolerant and accepting communities in history screaming "bigot" at Bush despite his repeated calls for tolerance and acceptance and despite his support for gay partners' claims after 9/11. They "see through" him, it is said. It is also sad to see that society's offer of full legal recognition and benefits sharing (civic unions) spat to the ground as if it had suggested a burning at the stake or the tumbling of walls.

When no compromise is possible because one side is committed to the near-religious certainty of its position, civility is lost and we square off as enemies.

Wildmonk, remember that the right-wing equivalent of a left-wing paradise is a place where homosexuals can be discriminated against and assaulted with impunity.

My point is that I can understand why a fellow like Chris would choose to take the gay marriage thing so seriously: from his perspective, to deny gays the right to use the word "marriage" is to codify, into law, the notion that they are simply different from other Americans. And being different makes you a target.

You'll notice I didn't say "GWB is a bigot/homophobe/a******". But there are bigots and homophobes out there and they'll be very pleased to support this amendment. That's what Chris probably sees, and that's why he's so worked up. He doesn't want those people feeling any more powerful than they already are!

As for "near-religious certainty" of my position, here's what I'm certain of: a substantial number of Americans out there want to get married, and a substantial number of Americans think that they must be stopped - ONLY because they're gay.

Personally, I think of gay Americans as just Americans, just like black Americans are just Americans, and just like there shouldn't be any laws that apply only to blacks, there shouldn't be any laws that apply only to gays.

And I know there are reservations - and there were reservations about civil rights, and the vote for women, and every other battle for rights and recognition - and I know that a majority may not support gay marriage.

But American democracy is not just "majority rule" - it's about protecting minorities FROM majorities. And that's what Chris is saying to Michele: help protect me from the majority!

Michele, I had never read your blog before Glenn Reynolds sent me over. I applaud you for having a place where people of (evidently) widely divergent beliefs can converse. I also have greatly enjoyed the threads about gay marriage. So time to toss my two cents in:

1. A person who sacrifices friendship to a cause is a fanatic. You can't discuss the object of fanaticism with a fanatic.

2. Gay mariage. Hmm. I'm not gay, I do have acquaintances who are (note: I am very selective about who I will discuss politics and social issues with, for reasons that are clearly demonstrated by these comment threads). I guess my question is "Why do gay couples want to get married?" Is it for the legal/tax benefits? Or is is in order to have society recognise and accept their lives? If the first, then civil union is fine. If the second, then forcing the issue legally will not change the hearts and minds of people. Let's look at how far we have come over the last 20 years. We are actually discussing full recognition of gays and lesbians! This is great! But, remember, in 20 years a lot of people have changed their minds and attitudes toward gays and lesbians. We still have a lot of people who have nto changed their minds. So we need to continue what we have been doing: reminding people that gay and lesbian people are, well, people. But relying on the courts to impose a unpopular solution is so counter productive. As a publicity event, to raise awareness of the fact that many people who want to marry cannot, this has been great. But San Francisco is not the path to legalized gay marriage. That path leads through Iowa, Kansas, New York, and yes, Massachusets.

What do we need to do? How does our democracy work? By talking about stuff. By convincing other people. By explaining, and acting, and living in a way that reassures opponents that they have nothing to fear. We are all striving for an inclusive society, but remember, the people who disagree with us have to be includeed as well.

In my view this is a legislative decision. The judiciary makes the decision as to whether the law is being enforced. After FOMA, the law is clear. The courts cannot ignore the law. If we want to change the law, we need to do so through our representatives and senators. Sure, we may be in a minority in the country. That does not really matter. All we need is to be in the majority of people voting, at the right time.

Let me wind up with the other hot topic. I am a single issue voter this year, and that is security. Personally, I rather like the President, even when I disagree with him. I do not think that he is a hateful, exclusionary person, and I think that his extension of spousal benefits after the World Trade Center attack reflects this. That decision was as apolitical as any we are likely to see. He could have left the status quo, with benefits denied to same sex partners, but went out of his way to overturn the status quo. But he is responsible to his electorate, so has to pander (Yes, I am using the right word) to the right. If he really wanted to ban gay marriage, what would be the easiest way? He says he is in favor of a Constitutional amendment, the most difficult way imaginable of passing legislation. If he really wanted to ban gay marriage, he would simply say that he would sign such a law when presented. But instead he has inititated a process that history has shown is rarely successful, and very time consuming when it is.

If you've read this far, well, thank you.

"Is there anything that could make ME not vote for W? Yes: if he gave up the WOT. If he sucked up to the Euros and anyone out to destroy us or aid and abet those who are out to destroy us."

You mean like Saudi Arabia?

"And this is especially true when you look at Kerry's position. Kerry isn't for equality. While he doesn't want to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban gay marriage but allow civil unions, he's all for amending the Massachusetts Constitution to ban gay marriage but allow civil unions."

Imagine that! Let the states decide. State's rights - what a concept.

"They only differ on how to ban gay marriage, not whether it should be done. Since the president of the U.S. has no powers regarding either amendment proceedure, other than the ability to use his office as a "bully pulpit" to spread rhetoric, there is no significant difference between Bush and Kerry on gay marriage."

First, I think you underestimate the significance of the bully pulpit. Do you think this amendment would even have been voted on if Bush hadn't come out in favor of it? And second, you're wrong - the White House can exert considerable pressure on both the Congressional leadership and individual Congressmen to get them to vote the way they want.

As for no significant difference between Bush and Kerry on this - please. One is for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, one is against it and wants to leave this to the states (State's rights - what a concept).

"Since you seem to consider gay marriage so important, it's clear that you won't be sacrificing your principles by voting for Kerry."

If gay marriage was make-or-break for me, I might hold my nose and vote for Kerry. Maybe.

But I'm not a single-issue voter. I voted for Bush in 2000 for a variety of reasons - his economic plans, his promise to end the era of Clinton-Gore foreign policy, and my desire to send a message that not even the President of the United States is above the law chief among them.

And there will be a variety of reasons behind my vote this year.

But, I don't much like Kerry, so come November, I'll probably find someone else to vote for. You can rest assured, though, it won't be Bush.

Hmmm. Where to begin? I guess the first thing I'd like to say is what a pleasant surprise it's been to find a place where people (for the most part) understand that disagreement is part of life.

I have read several excellent points on both sides on this thread. I've already posted in response to Chris' unfortunate reaction to your decision.

Beetroot makes some very valid points, though. Looking at it from Chris' side, it's obviously a painful issue. Still, an open dialouge would've been healthier than just shutting you out.

Anyway, I'd like to comment on your image of Bush if I may. You say he makes you feel "safe", right?
Is that because he claims the Iraq War is in some way connected to 9/11? 'Cause it's not. He's been planning a premptive attack on Iraq since 1992. 9/11 was just an excuse to carry out the plan. Check out www.newamericancentury.org/ for the genesis of the idea. You can also learn from the White House website. There's a large section titled "National Security Strategy" at: www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nss.html.

My problems with Bush go to the Big Picture, rather than one or two specific issues. His desire to mix religion and politics (which is at the heart of the Gay Marriage issue), while unfortunate and annoying isn't a great worry of mine. I just don't see it happening.

What worries me is thoughtful, intelligent people like you making (I say this cautiously, and with no offense intended) uninformed decisions. Or maybe "underinformed" is a better choice of word.

Preemption is a VERY dangerous and unadvisable policy in this day and age. It brings the reality of Nuclear War into the realm of possibility. That scares the shit out of me.

All I'm suggesting is that you look into the history of the Bush II administration and check out their own published documentation. Not speeches or press releases, but the stuff you have to actually LOOK for. You may see things in a different light. And then again, you might not. It may only strengthen your resolve that he's your guy. If so, more power to ya.

For the record, I don't believe you've been "brainwashed" or "indoctrinated". I think you've formed an opinion on the basis of the information you've received. All I'm suggesting is that you dig a little deeper. I know it opened my eyes to policies I didn't know about.

Either way, thanks for a great forum. I'll be checking in from time to time. There's so much here it's hard to find my way back to certain threads. Email if you'd like a specific response.

Take care, all. (Except Vince..... ya big dick)

M- You now have been classified: http://www.wordspy.com/words/securitymom.asp

That is all. J-