Wednesday, September 05, 2012

A stark contrast

There are far too many people who claim there’s no difference between the Democratic and Republican parties, one of which will control the presidency and one or both houses of the US Congress. Today, the Democratic National Convention proved that the difference is stark and dramatic.

The Republican Convention looked nothing like America. For example, it was overwhelmingly white. Their party doesn’t keep statistics on the racial make up of the delegates, and that’s understandable: Various media estimates put the number of black delegates as between 22 and 28. Democrats, by contrast, had just under 1500.

The two parties’ platforms underscore that division. Closest to home for me, the Democratic Party’s 2012 party platform officially endorses marriage equality:
Freedom to Marry. We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference.

We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act.
By contrast, Republicans want to amend the US Constitution to forever outlaw marriage equality in all 50 states. That’s one part of that party’s cruel platform that their Republican presidential and vice presidential nominees enthusiastically embrace and pledge to enact.

The Democratic Party platform also says “…the word ‘family’ in immigration includes LGBT relationships in order to protect bi-national families threatened with deportation.” That means families like mine: I live in New Zealand because the country of my birth and of my ancestors provided no way for the man I love to be with me, so I moved here because New Zealand valued our family.

Republicans are hostile to our families and our relationships and many of their leaders have pledged to oppose the inclusion of LGBT families in immigration reform.

Now, let’s look at the conventions.

Speakers at the Republican convention continually spoke in terms of exclusion—presenting phony “family” values that clearly exclude LGBT people, sometimes openly. They present a narrow, restrictive view of what freedom means—clearly to them it’s just another marketing buzzword.

In stark contrast, in the first 30 minutes of the Democratic Convention, there was an openly gay speaker—something that the Republicans never had and would never have permitted. Many speakers on the first day also specifically mentioned LGBT people as part of the American family—real family values, in other words, and real freedom. This continued right up through the speech of First Lady Michelle Obama (pictured with this post in a graphic posted by the Democratic Party).

All of these are evidence of the clear difference between the two parties. I believe that America can—and must—do better for all its people. To me, it seems obvious that only the Democratic Party could actually achieve that.


Mike Asplet said...

A detailed and accurate description of the two parties' platforms. From the Republican side of course, they are simply not "as" comfortable with these developments.

Each side has to preach to their converted base, and from the average (but not all NZ) perspective, that Republican view is madness.

As we know though, there are two America's. The real (Republican) American and the Fake (Democrat) America. This distinction is dangerous and divisive. It will take more than one term to clear it up unfortunately.

As for Michelle, top notch speech.

Arthur Schenck said...

Yeah, in the 40 years I've been watching conventions, hers was among the best ever. It turns out, it was also written at the highest reading level ever for a speech by the wife of a presidential nominee. Well, there you go.