Friday, October 08, 2004

The VP Debate 

Sidney Blumenthal was right to highlight this very important point John Edwards made in the debate Tuesday night. It was also unexpectedly moving for Edwards to approach the issue in such a personal way for Dick Cheney, clever and manipulative. But it is a manipulation that I can forgive, because there is so much at stake. Cheney could only muster a "thank-you" in response, which is very telling, in and of itself. Here is what Blumenthal said:

Then, in an act of grace, Edwards did more than unnerve Cheney. Edwards praised him and his wife for their "love" and "embrace" of their gay daughter. Cheney, who seemed personally affected, could only thank him. But Edwards went on to counter Bush's support for a constitutional amendment that would prohibit gay marriage. "It's nothing but a political tool ... We ought to be talking about issues like healthcare and jobs and what's happening in Iraq, not using an issue to divide this country ..."
The Republicans have sought to stigmatise the Democrats as effeminate - "girlie men," "sensitive," "metrosexual". Edwards silenced Cheney; he also opened a political fissure in the fundamentalist Republican base. Cheney, unlike Bush, does not speak the language of the born-again. It is Bush, not Cheney, who appeals to the religious right.

But Blumenthal misses a crucial point here. That is, Blumenthal's assumption that Cheney does not appeal to the religious right. Blumenthal is surely underestimating Cheney's awareness of the need for the neocons, and Bush, to appeal to the religious right. That is their bread and butter.

Cheney is keenly aware though, that his gay daughter, and his support for her, puts him at odds with the religious right. On the one hand, he understands the political importance of the cultural war this is stirring up; and for his daughter he must oppose it.

Cheney, I am sure, is keenly aware of the support he receives from the religious right for his neocon foreign policy beliefs.

Cheney is willing to step outside of the limited intellectual parameters of the the marriage between the religious right and the neocons, for a very personal issue. Would that he would see war in this way.

He and his neocons have been successful is involving America on two war fronts: the war in Iraq, and the cultural wars.

Edwards for his part, was courageous and intelligent in his identification of the use of cultural wars by this neocon /religious right president to divide the people. A divided people is a people that can be conquered by, yes, the wrong war, in the wrong time, in the wrong place. And we are conquered by the economic devastation of our own economy in the spending of American tax payer money to try and make this war a success, an effort that John Kerry has promised to continue, and the personal loss to our families, not to mention the loss of lives and limbs of our soldiers.

On the other front, is the cultural war. Gay people versus America, is essentially the parameters that are being laid out in this cultural war. As far as I am concerned, John Edwards threw me an orange when he challenged the cultural wars as, basically, a contradiction of the values that America was founded on.

"All men are created equal", can and ought to be the central value in domestic and foreign policies, and if it were practiced as a living doctrine, we wouldn't be in this mess to begin with.