Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Responding to McBride

On her blog this morning, Jessica McBride posted a list of reasons that's supposed to show how the Democrats are anti-choice. I made a promise to myself when starting this blog to keep my posts elevated and focused on in-depth commentary on political policies, but responding was just too easy to pass up.

The ridiculousness of McBride’s points (I always wondered where/how those mass conservative email forwards my Dad always sends me get started) don’t do the conservative point of view justice, and I’m speaking from a liberal point of view. But I’m hoping some of my responses were able to take the debate to a higher level.

McBride’s points are bulleted and in italics. My responses come directly below each of her points.


  • They don't want the public to have the choice over the ideology of Supreme Court justices. The fact that President Bush clearly stated that he would appoint conservatives before the election, and people picked him anyway (or as a result), means nothing to those Democrats who would block the nomination of Sam Alito.

The public doesn’t have the choice over the ideology of Supreme Court justices, but that’s the idea of the founders of the Constitution not the Democrats. The Senate—another body elected by the public—has the right to check all presidential nominees, and subsequently has the choice of whether or not to support those nominees. (Side Note: I wonder if McBride is willing to give as much deference to Doyle's ideology since he's the popularly elected executive of Wisconsin?)

  • They don't want poor people to have the choice of which schools to send their children.

There are very few Democrats, if any, in the state of Wisconsin who are actively opposing raising the enrollment cap on school choice in Milwaukee. The debate is not over choice here, but rather how to go about extending a major educational reform while still fiscally preserving already proven educational reforms like the SAGE program. See my post below for more on this.

  • They don't want women to have the choice to stay home and raise their kids, without being treated with derision.

I can’t think of a single Democrat in the nation who has ever derided women for choosing to stay home and raise their kids. What liberals oppose is the expectation that women stay home and raise their kids. There’s a big difference.

  • They don't want universities and other employers to have the choice over who to admit or hire but rather would force them to make selections based on race.

Democrats are not interested in forcing universities and other employers to admit or hire people based upon race. What Democrats want is some consideration given for the context surrounding a person’s application that goes beyond supposedly objective figures like GPA and test scores (it's actually because Democrats recognize such figures as inherently subjective that makes some form of affirmative action necessary). You know, similar to how George W. Bush was aided in his admission to Yale based upon that university’s consideration of family legacy as a criteria for admission.

  • They don't want citizens to choose whether they want a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. In other words, they don't think the people should have a say in the uprooting of centuries of societal tradition.

What Democrats want to avoid is discrimination being written into the state or US constitution simply because public opinion (or at least the public opinion of those who choose to vote) is on its side. If public opinion was the criteria for our marriage laws, black people and white people would not have been allowed to marry until the early 1990s, as that was the first time that public opinion polls showed a majority of the population supported interracial marriages (if we broke it down by state, there may be some places where such marriages would still be outlawed).

  • They don't want taxpayers to have a choice in how much of their money is spent. So they are against a Taxpayers Bill of Rights.

Democrats are not against the idea of a “Taxpayer Bill of Rights,” they simply oppose the one proposed by Republicans. Any TABOR-type legislation supported by Democrats would need to ensure that necessary social services are not cut, there are not tax loopholes provided for favored special interests, and that fiscal policy remains flexible to respond to larger economic changes. The Republican proposal does none of these things.

  • They don't want people to choose whether or not they would feel more protected if they carried a concealed gun.

This one is actually right. But just to add a point, while carrying a gun may make someone feel more protected, it also makes them more dangerous. And that’s the tricky reality that causes the Democrats (and the Milwaukee police chief, among other local law enforcement officers) to oppose the concealed carry legislation.

  • They don't want people to choose whether their children should pray in school.

Democrats actually do not oppose the right of children to pray in school. What Democrats oppose is allotment of time in the school day specifically set aside for school-wide prayer. Prayer is a private act that should be protected on an individual or private group basis, not a public act that must be state sanctioned.

  • They don't allow women to choose a stance opposing abortion, without being called "anti-woman."

There is a lot of name-calling in the abortion debate from some people on both sides, which is unfortunate. Women should be able to oppose a woman’s right to choose without being called names, just like women should be able to support a woman’s right to choose without being called “whore” or “anti-Christ.”

  • They don't want Christians to choose their beliefs on things like homosexuality, without being called bigots.

There are thousands of Christians, including many Democrats, in the US and abroad who respect the lifestyles of gay and lesbian people. Those people who choose—because of religion or otherwise—to actively discriminate (note: this doesn’t mean believe, but rather acting upon one’s beliefs) against other people because of their sexual orientation are bigots (look “bigot” up at www.m-w.com, the definition certainly fits). Just like religion was not an excuse for discrimination against people of color throughout much of this nation’s history (although racists sure tried to use it as a rationale), neither is religion or anything else an excuse for discrimination against gay and lesbian people.

  • They don't allow minorities to choose political parties, without being called names.

Democrats do believe that they provide the policies that are in the best interest of people of color, gay and lesbian people, and many of the other groups considered “minorities” in this country. I don’t, however, know of a single Democrat who has undertook name-calling if someone from a minority group does choose to side with the Republicans. Confusion, perhaps, but not name-calling.

  • They don't let people choose to side with the opposite political party on issues, without fear of being called racists and idiots.

Same answer as the one above, just substitute “people” for “minorities.” Sure, some name calling does take place—but it’s a joke to think that it doesn’t happen on both sides (just watch Fox News for one night).


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home