On the morning of Nov. 3, Democrats sat stunned. Everything seemed to be going their way. So what went wrong? Obviously, as Gary Livacari so eloquently put in yet another of his depressingly partisan columns, “character does matter.”
Yes, character truly does matter. No wait, not character. What was that term I’m looking for? Oh yeah, “gay bashing.” That’s what I meant. “Gay-bashing does matter.”
Well, it does go a little bit deeper than that, but that’s the overall gist of it. It turns out that so-called “moral values” pushed Dubya over the top. Apparently, a devoted group of so-called “evangelical Christians -” with such an intense fanaticism it would make anybody who doesn’t have a mural of “Sodom and Gomorrah” in their living room soil themselves with fear – had deemed George W. Bush the next best thing to Jesus (besides an assault rifle of course) and worthy for re-election. And not only re-election, but most likely the subject of a vast majority of shrines erected and prayers uttered in churches across the nation. For example: Dear Jesus, although the FEC prohibits me from publicly endorsing a specific candidate, please bring about the re-election, I mean election, of a candidate with a strong moral character, a really kick ass ranch and brush-clearing skills.
For those of you not familiar with the ironically named “Christian Right,” it is first necessary to point out that not all Christians are part of the electorate coined “evangelical Christians.” There are some of us out there who have read the part of the Bible where Jesus talks about taking care of the poor, the meek, the children and other groups who have benefited from health care, public education and other commie inventions.
At the same time we also have chosen to ignore the part of the Bible where Jesus bashes gays and talks about how legalized homosexual marriage coming to a state near you will be the first sign of the end times. Wait, it doesn’t say that?
Sadly enough, though, it seems today that even if these Christians are not outnumbered by “evangelicals,” they are at least out-voiced. Radical conservative evangelicals made themselves heard on Nov. 2 and are now a forced with which to be reckoned.
So what do Democrats do? It is easy to dismiss all evangelicals as lost and too radical for courting. However, while it may be true that Uncle Bob may never be convinced that national health care is a slightly more pressing issue than Rosie O’Donnell’s sex life, Uncle Bob must still be dealt with or they will lose again.
Democrats cannot shrink away from a morality debate, for it is here they should prevail. In Texas a few months back, a farmer looked me in the eye and said with the sincerest voice, “I remember when it was a well-known fact that Democrats looked after the poor and Republicans looked after the rich. And so we voted Democratic.” Another man in Texas once told me, “You know, we used to take care of people in this state. Now with Republicans, we just don’t care.”
Democrats have to return to their roots. Health care is a moral issue. Social Security is a moral issue. Education is a moral issue. Taxation is a moral issue. Even welfare, no matter how many abuses there may be, is a moral issue.
Evangelical Christians are not lost; they’ve just been misled, frequently by the shameless Republican Party, but all too often by their own kind. It is now the responsibility of the Democratic Party to respond. It is the party of family values, because it is the party that values families. It is the party of morality, because it is the party that is concerned for both the blessed and the meek. And it is the party of the mainstream, because the majority of Americans know how to care.
The Democratic Party is the only party of mainstream, family-based values. They just need to wake up and realize it.
-The writer, junior majoring in political science, is a Hatchet columnist.