The Bush strategy is already working. During last Thursday’s CNN debate, Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards both got drilled on the issue of gay marriage. While they both handled their positions well, in a shameful moment, Kerry tried to protest the subject, claiming that we should instead focus on economic issues. Sadly, the pitiful complaint is a reflection of the new Democratic strategy: if you want to win, don’t talk about God, guns or gays in the South.
First, let’s be honest. Democrats are right that we do have different priorities in the South. It’s not a stereotype; it’s a reality. We do vote on values, and we’re not ashamed of it. It doesn’t matter how poorly the nation is doing, if you don’t share my values, then I’m not going to vote for you. And I say that as a Democrat
If Democrats like Kerry think they can simply sidestep social issues, they’re wrong. Retreat is never an option in politics. How many times do you see conservatives shy away from issues, no matter how unpopular they are? Many prominent Republicans unabashedly call for prayer in public schools, restrictions on adoption rights, a ban on sodomy and other extremist agendas. And they still kick our ass in elections.
Democrats should take a lesson from conservatives. Instead of running away from the social issues like the babies that so many of them are, Democrats should hit back. And hit back hard.
So I know it’s hard for Democrats who have been ingrained in the idiotic party rhetoric, but we’re going to talk about God, guns and gays. Don’t worry. I’ll hold your hand, and we’ll get through this together.
“God.” Too many Democrats are scared to death of this word. As if God is a registered Republican or something. It never ceases to amaze me how Republicans pummel Democrats over religious values, and all Democrats can respond with is some lame-ass lecture about separation of church and state. Guess what? It doesn’t matter if church and state are separate; people still vote on religious values. And that’s perfectly constitutional and, in my eyes, justified.
Instead of some constitutional speech that doesn’t hold water, Democrats should play the Republicans’ game. Ask Republicans if they think God would be for 42 million Americans without health care? Or would the Creator like to see his masterpiece raped by corporations simply because, somehow, pollution translates to economic prosperity in a conservative’s mind? And ask how many times Jesus talked about making laws against homosexuals in the Bible. None.
“Guns.” Another word Democrats are terrified of. Why? Because there are too many psycho liberals out there who think that owning a gun is a bad thing. It’s not. What is bad thing is owning an AK-47. It’s fine to hunt. But nobody hunts with an assault rifle. That is, unless you’re Dick Cheney or Antonin Scalia.
“Gays.” Democrats love to whine that gay rights is a wedge issue, and that they’re not going to be bogged down in that debate. But if Democrats don’t stand up for homosexuals, who will? When Republicans are bashing gays in the Constitution, why should we be quoting economic returns?
Republican attacks on homosexuals are ridiculous. Even if homosexuality is a “sin,” why does that matter? Persecution is still wrong. You don’t see Republicans inserting amendments to the Constitution banning divorce. Why not? Isn’t it a sin? Doesn’t it hurt the “most enduring human institution?” Yes, but gay bashing is just so much easier. All Democrats need to do to address the gay issue is quote one line: “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.”
So there you go, Democrats. You no longer have a reason for avoiding the issues. When Republicans attack with their social agenda, there is absolutely no excuse for Democrats not hitting them back three times as hard. Instead of shrinking back from conservatives’ social agenda, John Kerry should take a lesson from his own rhetoric. If Republicans want to talk about God, guns and gays in the South, it’s all very simple. “Bring it on.”
–The writer, a sophomore majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet columnist.