Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Stop Bill Brady

I don’t talk much about Illinois state elections because, as an expat, I can’t vote in them. However, Illinois is my homeland—I was born there, grew up there, attended primary school through university and began my working life in Illinois. I came out there. I first fell in—and out of—love there. My parents are buried there, and other family and friends still live there. My connection to that state is deep and unbreakable.

Illinois is a state ranging from rural to urban, with every demographic and all social strata represented. There have been times I’ve disagreed with my fellow Illinoisans, but on the whole I’ve found them to be kind, decent and fair-minded people.

Even though I no longer have a say through the ballot box, I obviously care very much about my home state—and also what happens there. This year, voters in my home state have the clearest, most stark choice for governor that I have ever seen: Republican Bill Brady must be stopped.

Brady is an extremist, out of step with mainstream Illinoisans. The video above (from the group StopBillBrady) outlines just a few of the ways in which Brady is anti-woman. All the issues highlighted make his record detestable, but even more so because they are so far outside the mainstream (even on abortion, where majorities support it in at least some circumstances, like rape and incest).

I also oppose him because he wants an amendment to the Illinois Constitution (and, one would assume, to the US Constitution) to define marriage as only between a man and a woman. Some Illinoisans would agree with him on that, but not on outlawing any and all recognition of same-sex relationships, which he probably also supports. I say that because he also voted against a simple law banning discrimination against gay and lesbian people in housing and employment. His antipathy toward gay and lesbian Illinoisans is both obvious and despicable.

Brady is an extremist in every way: He’s a “birther” (doesn’t believe President Obama was born in America). He believes that religious creationism should be taught in schools. He opposed laws requiring safe storage of firearms, he opposed licensing gun dealers and he opposed legislation to restrict guns near schools. He also opposed strengthening hate crime laws and opposed a bill that would prohibit any government unit from discriminating against a person based on his or her race, colour or national origin—that vote was in 2003, not some long ago time he wants to forget!

The only candidate who can beat Brady is Governor Pat Quinn. I understand that he’s not popular; he wouldn’t be my first choice, either. However, he has two overriding qualities that make him the only rational choice: He’s not Bill Brady, and he's the only candidate who can beat Brady.

Brady is an extremist even among extremists, and he is far too extreme for Illinois. I hope my home state rejects extremism by rejecting Brady. Bill Brady and extremism must be stopped.


Stop Bill Brady said...

Don't forget to also visit our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/StopBillBrady

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me. You sound like a crazy.. no Super Crazy progressive who can't stand common sense laws. Just because you want to kill babies does not make bill brady a bad man it actually makes you a bad person. Yes a baby is growing and yes a Man also has a right as it is half his genetic material making that baby.. The woman is the carrier and if she does not want that then don't open your legs. Now in case of rape and incest I understand not wanting to carry a baby that you yourself did not bring on yourself but I would greatly appreciate you taking the baby to term and I would support welfare support for woman who carry a baby to term in case of rape and incest. Now on the case of firearms.. I do agree with some common sense laws like having a background check on people before they can own a firearm but let's get real.. why do you want to punish people who are law abiding citizens by telling them they cannot own a firearm when criminals can get access to firearms all they want as they don't follow the law. Yes I have family who live in poor neighborhoods and guess what I am black so please no accusing me of racism as you crazy people do. I used to be a liberal but saw the loss of common sense on spending,cultural laws on the liberal side. So allow firearms to be given to decent citizens and help stop criminals from getting access to them. Anyone want to challenge me on this as I argue on common sense and not crazy emotion like progressives do.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

Anonymous, I hope you realise that to liberals and progressives, conservatives often sound—to use your term—"super crazy". If you really want to have a debate based on "common sense", it's probably not helpful to begin with an insult. It only invites insults in return.

Your "common sense" on guns is the opposite: Background checks don't stop law-abiding citizens from having guns. Instead, they prevent felons and mentally ill from getting legal guns. If all 50 states cared about protecting people more than they care about guns "anywhere, anytime", criminals wouldn't have as easy access to them.

What you're really talking about is an arms race on the streets of America: People buy guns, criminals get bigger guns so people get more and bigger guns and no one is ever any safer. Still, I suspect it will please you to know that Bill Brady supports a "concealed carry" law for Illinois, so you may yet get to see shoot-outs on Illinois streets.

You call a zygote a "baby". Pro-choice people do not. We cannot even use the same language, so there's no way we'll ever find a common ground on what abortion is.

It’s incredibly sexist and misogynistic to say, as you did, "if she does not want that then don't open your legs". It takes two so the man should keep it in his pants or in a condom. Women are not solely responsible for pregnancy—men must take their share of responsibility, too.

With rape and incest, the woman has no choice at all, so saying the victim should keep her legs closed is, quite frankly, disgusting. I take you at your word that you'd be willing to pay for the welfare payments to a woman who carries a rape/incest pregnancy to term. I can only assume you'd be willing to do that for every pregnancy every time, no questions asked.

Most conservatives, however, are not: To them the "right to life" begins at conception and ends at birth. They fight to cut welfare payments and funding for poor children. They're simply not interested in the welfare of any baby once it's born.

I don't know why you'd think I'd call you a racist—you didn't say anything racist (sexist, yes, but not racist). You must be referring to the recent furore when liberals and the NAACP called out the teabaggers for the obvious racism within their ranks.

What about white conservatives like Glenn Beck and the whole of Fox "News" declaring that the NAACP is the "most racist" group in America? How does it make you feel to hear your fellow (white) conservatives say that anything that helps African Americans automatically and always hurts white people?

The right wing media machine smeared ACORN, Van Jones and Shirley Sharrod, all to keep white conservatives frightened of the scary black folks coming to take what's "theirs". This has its roots in Richard Nixon's "Southern Strategy" to frighten white voters into the Republican Party. They've been doing it for 40 years because it works.

I have no idea what you meant by "cultural laws", but to me that's usually conservative code words for denying me my humanity, my civil and human rights and keeping me a second-class citizen (or worse). You may not have meant that, but that's what I—and countless other proud liberals—hear when anything referring to "culture" is mentioned by conservatives.

In sum, there's room for common ground on guns, probably not on abortion (unless you, like the majority of Americans, will allow abortion in cases of rape and incest at least). Government spending—which I didn't talk about here—is an area where reasonable people can come to reasonable agreement—as long as they're not shouting names at each other.

Bill Brady will do nothing to make Illinois a fairer place—exactly the opposite. He will make Illinois a more divided state, pitting factions against each other and widening the cracks in society. That is why I oppose him.