I really can't agree with some posters' assertions (on this & related threads) that the Democratic party is behaving brainlessly by failing to unify behind a single candidate and avoid a primary fight.
Sure, there are risks, but I'm not convinced that polite primaries are a bad thing. They allow a little public scrutiny as an opportunity to filter out candidates who look good on paper, but are crummy on the trail. They also give the motivated base an opportunity to choose who they want to represent them. In an election that can only be won on turnout, that's not a small thing. Smoke-filled-room hand-picked candidates are demoralizing to the people who you must motivate.
Now, avoiding a dirty, knock-down, drag-out fight that leaves the victor limping? That's another matter. I hope the candidates here have the good sense to avoid that.
Honestly, I am little skeptical about the supposedly cold shoulder for Christians in the progressive movement... I don't personally know many progressives who reflexively react poorly to religious folks (only over-zealous proselytizers), and on the national scale, an awful lot of this perception of intolerance seems to be a creation of the religious right. But I won't question your authority to speak from your experience, so I'll accept this argumendo.
Still, here was something that I can't agree with:
we all need to become more comfortable with inviting jesus to the table here on the secular left
I may be parsing your language in a way you didn't intend. You also said "it is in fact a religious and not a secular reform i'm speaking of." But I am not sure I ever will be or should need to be comfortable "inviting Jesus to the table." I'm very comfortable inviting priests, and ministers, and deeply religious people to the table. But that we "all" need to be more comfortable with Jesus reminds me a little too much of the arguments from some "centerists" that we all need to start talking and thinking a little more like Christians to win back the heartland. And that just ends up being fake. (I could put on a good show, though, with all my years attending Catholic church as a child.)
Dialogue, inclusion, yes, ABSOLUTELY. There is much common cause. But a good relationship can survive a little discomfort, don't you think? :)
You may be right at that - perhaps an immoveable object has to be placed in these people's path sooner rather than later, and the ACLU is certainly the organization to do it. I'm glad they're there, period, even when they frustrate me from time to time.
There's a part of me that says, as long as needed resources are available to fight abominations like indefinite detentions, religious curricula in public schools, and the most odious provisions of the Patriot Act, then more power to them if they want to pursue the Cobb County Commission.
In general, though, I worry increasingly about strategies that win in court while losing the battle of PR. As much as litigation strategies are an important component of the overall ongoing civil liberties fight, there is a larger picture within which the courts are trending further and further toward the right. Eventually that limb might break, and it may not be strong enough to carry us through 10 or 15 years of contrary public opinion.
If the ACLU starts losing these battles at the appellate level, what's left? Governor Roy Moore? (Well, maybe that's hyperbolic, but if court battles help create successful wingnut politicians, there's a pyrrhic quality to the victory.)
Let me ask a question, with apologies in advance for the fact that it will probably get on the nerves of some folks here. I don't mean to sound like an apologist for the religious right.
I agree with the premise of this diary that these prayers in Cobb and Gwinnett County - and in a great many other places where they've happened - are unnecessary and inappropriate. I've never had reason to visit a Gwinnett County Commission meeting (and hopefully never will, because Chairman Bannister is a creepy bastard), but yes, it would irritate me to sit through the unofficial-official prayer at the beginning of the meeting.
I have doubts, though, (read: doubts, not yet a firm conclusion) about the fairly aggressive legal strategy that has emerged from a constellation of legal advocacy groups and private citizens, and which has generated a continuing stream of lawsuits related to Ten Commandments displays, prayers at local government meetings, and the like.
In my own perfect world, I don't think "under God" belongs in the pledge of allegiance, I don't think government meetings should start with prayers or blessings, etc... but where do you step over the boundary between holding the line and not knowing how to pick your fights?
Philosophical and historical arguments granted, how important is it to stop these prayers? Is it worth the dedication of the resources? Is it worth the wedge issue it's created for our opponents? Is it worth the ill will it generates in places like Gwinnett and Cobb Counties, Georgia? I need to be convinced that this is a real threat to religious liberty, and not a low-priority fight that we're spending too much energy on.
I say without sarcasm: help me understand why I should care more fervently.
That's the district I'm in - if anyone is thinking of mounting a serious challenge, it's news to me. Haven't heard a peep. Do you have a source that says there is a challenger? If so, I'd be interested to know more about it.
Political cowardice is certainly a warning sign. Like running as a Democrat in a district simply because it's always won by Democrats and has been since Reconstruction. Yes, Republicans who call themselves Democrats to win votes are suspect, and we'll lose them when the winds change.
But I worry a great deal less about someone willing to run as a Democrat in a heavily Republican district, where the party label itself is a liability. Even if they lack ideological purity, they're calling themselves Democrats for a reason, and it's probably not for the brownie points they get from voters.
Naturally, there's a certain amount of gray area between these extremes. And of course there's a dangerous third category. Call it the "Zell Miller" effect. The MSM likes to call him controversial, moderate, or independent. I prefer "foaming at the mouth, batshit crazy, NUTS." (I should post one of his letters here some time. Fodder for much mirth.) Severe mental instability in aspiring Democratic politicians should be considered a warning sign of bad things to come.
This isn't surprising. There's been a lot of political opportunism in the last couple of years down here, ever since Sonny Perdue stunned predictions and took down Roy Barnes.
As far as I can tell, a lot of these people had been Republicans in ideology for a long time. Calling themselves Democrats was the only way to stay under the Golden Dome and in positions of power. After all, Lincoln was a Republican, don't you know? (groan)
Expect this "realignment" to continue until either the Georgia Democrats get over the shock and become a robust opposition party... or until urban Atlanta state representatives are the only Democrats left in the state. Eventually, perhaps, the Republicans here will get as drunk with power as the Ohio GOP, and bring themselves down in flames. We can hope.
Yes I agree, it is naive to think that ALL African-Americans, or all Women, or all young people, etc... have the same political beliefs or needs. It is only logical though to assume that there are some common issues that go through all demographic groups.
Yes, absolutely, we're on the same wavelength, I think. In case it wasn't clear, my intent wasn't to suggest that there aren't points of community cohesion or commonality of experience or viewpoint. I definitely, definitely didn't mean "ignore race." It has a huge impact on how we view ourselves and others. There are also political issues (e.g., health care access, as noted upthread by another commentor) that disproportionately affect people of color. We've just gotta be sophisticated about it.
What Democrats really need to do is to find the non-obvious communities. Much like Reagan and Rove did in creating the "moral values" voter.
Do NOT retire Senator Byrd, please. He's not all roses and has a checkered past to be sure, but he knows how to fight, he's usually right on the issues, and he has a respect for the institution that is rare and valuable in either caucus. This will be his last term, but I'd like to see him there at least until the Democrats regain control of the Senate.
This comment only indirectly addresses your question. It may very well be that the Latino OD needs to be Latino. I'm not passing judgement on that point. I don't know, and am not qualified to say. But the fact that you're forced to pose the question that way highlights an underlying problem.
IMHO (as per my comment upthread) until we can get beyond the point where we don't habitually stereotype the views of an ethnic community and instead begin to appreciate and respect internal diversity (and not just typological diversity by category), we're going to continue having difficulty effectively integrating the perspectives of ethnic constituencies.
This requires, amongst other things, having a party operation that includes enough black folks, and Latinos, and people of color in general, from the grassroots to the top, that it's not necessary to pick "the Latino person" to do outreach to the Latino community, because there's bloody well more than one.
And where it's not necessary to turn to the Black staffer for "the Black perspective" because you know without having to think about it that you're asking the impossible. You know this because, even if not Black, you have enough experience with the diversity of "the Black perspective" that it's tagged as a silly question before it leaves your mouth.
It's also quite possible to talk with various community leaders in a "racial" or ethnic community about their own perspectives, and the perspectives of the groups they actually do claim to represent, without forcing them to represent "their people."
The failure to grasp this is a perennial problem in education as well as politics, incidentally, that plays into phenomena like the "black history week" (why is this not an integral part of the history curriculum?) It's sort of like when people talk about "Native American reverence for nature" or "Asian studiousness." It's a form of tokenism and stereotyping that isn't particularly helpful to opening a meaningful educational, social, or political dialogue.
Blast, I hit the post key by mistake before I finished that comment. To complete the thought: Gays are amongst the most common contemporary victims of hate crimes and intimidation. This is very real oppression and has involved years of struggle - it's not merely about an "alternative lifestyle."
The gay community has struggled for years for basic social justice. So has the black community. So has the deaf community. So has the Latino community. So has the Jewish community.
It makes my blood boil when people make arbitary value judgements about whose struggle is more legitimate.