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Smith: Thoughts and Ideas
by Max Smith

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Chicago's Black talk WVON 1450 AM radio reported Nov. 3, 2004 a newspaper in Toledo, Ohio said 70 Black preachers, sponsored by the GOP, traveled across Ohio in October visiting Black churches. The preachers encouraged Black congregations to vote to amend the Ohio Constitution to ban gay marriage and to vote for G.W. Bush because he's 'pro-life.' Kerry got 89% of the Black vote nationwide, but 84% in Ohio.The overall total vote there was so close, one conclusion is that Karl Rove, an amoral strategy voice of the Bush campaign, used those preachers as pawns to get just enough Black support to make the USA a better place for his millionaire cronies.

Blacks also voted in large majorities to ban gay mariage in Michigan, Georgia and Mississippi. In Mississippi, Blacks are a larger percentage of voters than in any other state and the vote there was 14% not to ban gay marriage: lowest pro-gay vote of the 11 states where gay marriage was banned.

In an ABC TV interview Karl Rove declared his intention to keep working to make the USA permanantly conservative and Republican. A Republican advantage is that a party based on Christian conservatism can always scare some people into thinking they are voting to save their families from a vaguely described homosexual threat and very graphically described abortionists. Republican moderates who are hard-core pure capitalists will repeat the mantra of lower taxes. Republican war-is-the-best-foreign-policy military industrialists will repeat their mantra of strong defense. These four clearly understood basic GOP themes compare with Kerry saying he voted in the Senate to authorize the war in Iraq and then later he voted against it. When Kerry allowed himself to be branded a 'flip-flopper' at the GOP convention, he gave the GOP a key to victory.

Progressive liberal Democrats need to start now with a plan to win in 2008, 2012 and in 2016 !

Already there is a Democratic party advantage: Every Democratic presidential candidate since 1980 has gotten more and more votes.

1980 Carter 35 million

1984 Mondale 37 million

1988 Dukakis 42 million

1992 Clinton 44 million

1996 Clinton 47 million

2000 Gore 51 million

2004 Kerry 55 million

This is only natural. People want progress to happen. Throughout history it took forward-thinking people with a clearly articulated and plain-spoken vision for the future to advocate; for labor unions, for women to get the right to vote, for an end to jim crow racial segregation, for interstate highways: President Kennedy inspired people to think of the USA landing the first astronaut on the moon, President Clinton encouraged the internet by calling it the information superhighway. Gore and Kerry lost partly by allowing Republicans to say LIBERAL is 'the L word' ... something so shameful people should be embarrassed to say it.

Democrats have to boldly, loudly and clearly come out and be proud to be LIBERAL with a clear, concise and easily understood message of how to bring on progress. No more of this weak, spineless middle-of-the-road incoherence. The progressive liberal Democratic message has to take control of how gay/lesbian issues are framed, so there is a positive spin in the media. It has to be an outspoken message of civil rights for LGBT communities, against discrimination in employment.

The efforts among liberal progressive Christians and Jews to make people understand that the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament is a story about escape from bondage into a promised land in which people love one another are still small. The conservative message of being sinful and guilty before a fearful God is still more popular, especially in small towns of red states. In America, many people love the almighty dollar, celebrate Santa Claus at Christmas, and would rather play video games and watch TV sports and soap operas than to read about the widening gap between rich and poor people, global warming or the genocide in Darfur, Sudan.

2008 presents liberal progressive Democrats the opportunity to speak up for social economic justice ( as does the Bible over 200 times ) , for protecting the environment, and for showing leadership in foreign policy that recognizes the devastating after-effects of colonialism on poor people in Africa, Asia and South America.

Meanwhile same-gender-loving people need to affect the electorate by coming out to people in all of our own religious traditions. We need to educate them about traditions of two-spirited people who have existed throughout history. How was the Black community prepped on how to vote pro-gay on the proposed gay marrage bans? In 2004 the primary message in the mainstream media focused on Black men on the down low. Even usually progressive Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell gave it the reverse, negative spin to men on the low down. We need a much better media image. Those who cannot respond to Christian conservatives by coming out and educating them can at least help the LGBT community by withdrawing tithes, offerings and music talents by leaving any congregation that does not affirm same-gender love.

To say amen to church hostility against same-gender love is to invite mistreatment and the perception that gay men really are weak punks with no backbone. It is 35 years after the Stonewall revolt and self-hatred among LGBT people is our worst enemy. Social support, cultural, athletic, spiritual and political groups that promote LGBT self-esteem, unity and cooperation all need more support than ever.

One thing I didn't hear mentioned in the analysis of the election: Why are small, rural states given first choice every time early in the presidential primaries? Democratic blue states with big cities full of liberal progressives like Illinois, Michigan, New York and California should be the first states to have primary elections in the early months of 2008. Iowa and New Hampshire have had too much power for too long over the system of who gets to advance to later primaries. Issues of concern to people in big cities need to be front and center next time. Let's encourage a Democratic Party boycott of small states with early primaries in 2008 so urban people can have a say.

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