Category Archives: Traditional Family

The REAL Reason Conservatives Win Even While Progressive Ideas are Favored

The following piece was written by Joe Brewer, a visionary and progressive activist practiced in political framing and thinking with values first. It makes some great points, drawing on deep human history. Thanks Joe, and pay special attention to his lines in bold.

The REAL Reason Conservatives Always Win

by on June 22, 2012 in Political Mind, Progressive Infrastructure, Social Movements

Have you ever wondered why it is that Progressives repeatedly lose ground in American politics?  We almost always have the facts on our side.  The experts agree with us.  Hell, a lot of us are the experts.  And yet history clearly shows that Conservatives have the best political game in town.  They dominate political discourse, establishing which frames shape the most important issues of the day.  Their values associated with rugged individualism, mass consumption, and a contempt for civil society are blasted at the American public through massive media outlets that they have acquired and built up over the last several decades.  And when the global economy melts down as a direct result of their economic and fiscal policies, who gets blamed?  In a word, liberals.

What’s going on here?  Why is it that Conservatives are so good at winning and Progressives produce a lackluster resistance at best?  The answer comes from a fundamental insight from evolutionary biology.  Stated simply, it goes like this: Continue reading

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He’s Not the Pastor of the United States, He’s the President of the United States

Can I get an Amen?

Fredrick D Haynes III certainly knows how to move a crowd. It is hopeful that a leader like him can talk sense and ask questions in what seems like ever shifting religious zeal in the evangelical Christian movement in this country. I have no idea what the specifics of Pastor Haynes theology, he didn’t address that aspect on this video.

This video is about a response and requests for collaboration about responses, to Obama’s statement on gay marriage. I don’t know if the pastor believe homosexuality is a choice relating to morality or not, he did a great job of framing and speaking about the difference between church and state laws, and makes it clear that they should have little directly to do with personal beliefs. He makes the distinction that the Bible is not the founding document of this country, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are. He made these comments as a leader in a protestant movement that is not known for its LGBT support, and in direct opposition to prominent Baptist leaders.

Who knows? Maybe I would find the actual theology of that church offensive. It doesn’t matter when we have the clear separation of church and state – we can all find our own niche. The Constitution demands that those niches be treated equally. Thanks Pastor Haynes for pointing this out in a way probably only you can.

The photo at the top is of Rev. Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping. He is with his choir. They have nothing to do with Fredrick D Haynes III or really anything else about this post – other than the fact that he can get people excited and understand some basic American values and progressive principles.

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Obama As Progressive

Obama’s announcement about his feelings towards gay marriage signals a shift in American cultural history. The conservative reactions range from accusations of “radical social engineering” to schadenfreude at how foolishly Obama is behaving. Why does it all matter? There is no action implied – no legislation or acts in process.  It matters because of the values enforced. Obama is signaling a shift in what is considered to be normal. He is the authority of the land, and conservative’s top two values are authority and tradition.

A progressives top value is empathy; that is why the President’s announcement was such a happy moment. It really isn’t that everyone knows a gay couple lining up to get married, the issue is one of civil rights. It’s also a testament to a “live and let live” attitude that is part of the American identity.

As the general election heads our way, much of the progressive base was grumbling a bit about Obama. This announcement gives progressives something to point at, we all know in our gut when something goes mainstream. Gay marriage just went mainstream. It’s okay for families to be themselves. This offer of goodwill does so much to energize the base because it strongly reinforces the empathy value. If instead Obama had spoken of some thin legal line that GLBT families could walk to to get some rights, the reception would have been cold. This is an issue based on principles and they are not very complicated.

In hard times, you’ve got to feed your base, otherwise they will become disinterested or disconnected from what is happening. Trying to appeal to the “middle” is no use and while it might look ok on a political calculator the reality is that playing to the middle deactivates both sides of the debate. The middle is imaginary. Averaging positions out over a broad range of socioeconomic issues is not an effective measure of ones political stance; the linear concept of left to right is flawed. Most voters tend to be left, right, ambiguous, or ignorant on each individual issue. People don’t advocate “mostly killing” criminals on death row; they either believe in the death penalty or not. Nuances of the law may also be accepted or rejected, but each decision can be broken down into yes or no answers. All of these answers will not line up neatly on the spectrum of liberal to conservative. That is why when speaking in an empathetic manner, many of those “switches” around issues will be flipped simultaneously to an empathetic perspective. When you change someone’s mind at the very root of their thinking, the cascading effect is exponentially successful to trying to win each individual policy nuance. This is why walking the middle is counterproductive for either side of the debate.

I wrote a previous post about this here.

Even though compromise is necessary to govern, rhetoric goes a long way to building expectations and values as a people. Obama’s move will produce more good than harm because at its root are those empathetic, all American values of peace, prosperity, equality, opportunity, love, and even tradition. We all can relate to that and most of us can attest to a moral code that honors love and committment.

 

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Does the Bible Justify Bullying Gay People?

This spring Dan Savage, a leading gay rights and sex positive advocate, spoke at a conference for high school journalism students. He addressed the issue of folks pointing to the Bible to justify the bullying of gays. He did a great job of making his case with two exceptions: he used the words “bullshit” and “pansy-ass”, which weakens the argument- even if he was describing written words and actions (not people). He could have omitted those phrases and his speech would nearly have been worthy of carving in stone; the nation is sick of hypocritical “logic”. Even though I am not a fan of the use of cursing to make a point, I will concede that when people are suffering and dying at the hand of those who supposedly follow God, there is reason to be upset. There is reason to curse and gnash your teeth and pull out your hair. Hate begets hate and last time I checked, Jesus did not advocated hating anyone. Continue reading

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Kids say the Darndest Things

I have kids and they are a hoot. Being a conscientious parent, I try to explain the world to them as they ask about it and break down complex issues into something they can understand. They often quip funny, poignant and wise in response. Wondering about the war in Afghanistan, my 10 year old asks me several questions. I launch into a 10 minute speech on why we have a war, what is the point, and some of the players involved and a brief history we’ve been there his entire life! As is my custom, I try to be civil even when talking about the parts that I heartily disagree. At the end of my speech my son screws his face up, shakes his head, and says, “Why isn’t Obama an activist yet?”

Indeed.

Our family is for peace and it is hard for any of us to understand why we are in Afghanistan. Obama’s photo op, speech, and gesture of solidarity with Karzai made it clear that he is not planning on getting us out of there on his watch. Sometimes kids are the ones who point out the obvious.

Enjoy these quips from the mouths of babes. They’ll be taking care of us soon.

“Mom, did you know it’s a well know fact that presidential candidates are addicted to eating their own boogers? They keep a secret stash behind their ears. It’s true…I heard it on the bus.”

“Ok. Now pay attention… My people are set up over here and your people are set up over there. If your people break the rules then my people can sue your people.”

“Mom, did you know that there was some guy named James Buchanan that was President a long time ago? If you don’t know a lot about him, it’s ok. He wasn’t that good anyway.” 

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us some email.”

“Why don’t they just do what they did in 1899?” — On preparing for Y2K in 1999.

“I believe you should live each day as if it is your last, which is why I don’t have any clean laundry because, come on, who wants to wash clothes on the last day of their life?”

“Give me the strength to change the things I can, the grace to accept the things I cannot, and a great big bag of money.

“It sure would be nice if we got a day off for the president’s birthday, like they do for the queen. Of course, then we would have a lot of people voting for a candidate born on July 3 or December 26, just for the long weekends.”

“Democracy is a beautiful thing, except for that part about letting just any old yokel vote.

“For centuries, people thought the moon was made of green cheese. Then the astronauts found that the moon is really a big hard rock. That’s what happens to cheese when you leave it out.

“When I go to heaven, I want to see my grandpa again. But he better have lost the nose hair and the old-man smell.

“I once heard the voice of God. It said “Vrrrrmmmmm.” Unless it was just a lawn mower.”

“As you make your way through this hectic world of ours, set aside a few minutes each day. At the end of the year, you’ll have a couple of days saved up.”

Thanks to youngamericanwisdom.com, rinkworks.com, powertochange.com.

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