March 9, 2004
What John Kerry Should Say About "God, Gays and Guns"
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
We recently posted a copy of a speech one of our readers and contributors, Hugh Conrad, would like John Kerry to deliver at the Democratic Convention this summer in Boston [LINK].
As we read it again, we realized that we wanted to add something to Hugh's persuasive, eloquent remarks.
So here is BuzzFlash's suggestion for Kerry to include in his convention speech or in his campaign remarks.
There's no need to run away from the Republican effort to use the GOP "God, gays and guns" cultural war to woo away white males. What Kerry needs to do is take the Bush "divide and conquer on social values issues" propaganda machine head on -- and crush it.
So here's a suggestion from BuzzFlash to John Kerry on how to handle the issue. Here are a few words for him to say:
"In this election, my opponents in the leadership of the Republican Party, will try to brand Democrats as extremists on cultural issues.
They will focus on God, gays and guns in an effort to divide this country over social values. But their effort is doomed to failure, because we are all Americans who cherish our Constitution.
I believe in God, and I believe our Constitution guarantees the right of anyone to follow his or her own faith. Our Constitution ensures that no one can impose his or her personal religion or vision of God on any American.
As a Catholic, I know well the history of a religion that was once marginalized in this great nation. Just over 40 years ago, John F. Kennedy broke that unspoken religious barrier when he became the first Catholic elected President of our nation.
When it comes to God, I embrace the right of Americans to believe in the faith of their choosing, without the government imposing any one faith upon them. The freedom to worship as one chooses -- or not to worship at all -- is at the essence of our guaranteed liberties.
And when it comes to a person's personal partnerships, I don't believe that the government has the right to interfere with private decisions about who a person lives with or marries. This country was founded on the most basic freedom to live and associate with others, as we choose, without government interference. If people of any gender take joy in being married to each other, if they want to celebrate the long-term commitment of a relationship, what right does the government have to interfere with their freedom of choice?
And, I might add, it is ironic that as a nation we are so concerned about the divorce rate, yet the current administration wants to take the radical step of altering our Constitution to keep people from being married.
We have more important tasks at hand. We all know that.
Finally, guns and gun ownership continue to be an emotional, volatile issue. I hunt and I understand our tradition of gun ownership in America. But using the gun issue, as this administration does, to divide citizens, rather than looking at ways to reduce gun violence and ensuring the safety of our children is, frankly, irresponsible.
Sportsmen, hunters and gun owners have nothing to fear about gun ownership in a Kerry administration. There is nothing to fear about creating a national climate where reducing gun death and injury is compatible with the interests of hunters and gun owners. Preying on the emotional sensitivity of this issue won't accomplish this goal, but honesty and straight talk will. I know that gun owners, from my personal experience as a hunter, are as concerned about the well-being of our communities as I am.
There is no need to continue to play a game of divide and conquer on the gun issue or on the issue of gender preference. There is no need to continue to play a game of trying to prove that one party or the other is closer to God.
Frankly, these are dangerous games to be playing in our great nation. They smack of demagoguery more than of democracy.
If the Republican party "wedge issue" specialists want to try and hide their failed record by stirring up volatile personal emotions about God, an American citizen's choice of mates, or the issue of guns, I say, 'Bring it on!'
It will backfire this time, because as presidential nominee of this party, I declare, without compromise, the people of this nation value liberty, independence, and freedom of religion more than they do a desperate attempt to divide the nation by appealing to our fears.
We are a nation that wants the government off our back, not in our bedrooms, schools or places of worship.
In a John Kerry administration, I can assure America, this nation's federal government will secure your freedoms and ensure that the government does not intrude upon your individual liberty or personal life.
That is my promise to you."
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
otherwise noted, all original