Tuesday, March 25, 2008

More Sorenson issues...

I am genuinely interested in seeing other people's perspectives. I believe consensus can be reached frequently and neither extreme serves the greater good, generally.

But as I have been thinking about one particular presenter at PLP a few weeks ago, the more disdain I have for this person. I am not going to reveal him, he is nice enough to come to Sorenson and present. The discussion revolved around transportation, an issue he clearly did not grasp and the same party senior person on the panel frequently overruled his statements. It was fascinating. We had completed the labeling exercise that morning, so I certainly wasnt trying to pigeon-hole him, but he is one of those "House Republicans" whatever that means.

I looked at the bio after the sessions. He supported and led the effort to enact the Marriage Amendment in Virginia. I felt physically ill, still do really. I have reviewed the arguments for that amendment, they are not logical interests, it is fear based policy to win elections and it is despicable. Why does this man have the right to tell people in my family what is right and wrong? Why forty years after Loving v. Virginia does this man think he has a role in anyone's marriage or relationship (or frankly given the breadth of the law, a contract between two people)?

I see him as what is wrong with Virginia, the Jim Crowe era laws, the eugenics movement, Massive Resistance and now this...just because he is in the majority now given the passage of the amendment, doesnt mean history wont judge him and people like him just as harshly as we (I) judge the hatemongers of the early 20th Century.

How is it that I move beyond the partisian rancor if I react SO viscerally to a person like him? What if the people I like in the class honestly and sincerely believed Virginia needed this amendment? How do I explain how harmful that constitutional amendment is to families and businesses in Virginia? When something is so personal, how do we find common ground?


Duane said...

Some gaps can't be bridged if the viewpoints are too far apart. When that happens I tend to imagine that the opposition hold a kernel of good intention that manifests itself in ways that I don't comprehend.

In this particular case you might think of the marriage amendment as a way of affirming a social pact much older and of greater significance than the present harm or discouragement it creates. Nearly any ballot referendum can appear to be a political maneuver to draw a sympathetic electorate, but that view is a bit too cynical for me -- many times the author is deeply moved to support the legislation.

It also helps me to keep in mind that political differences in America are in fact trivial. Survey the world opinion and they probably regard American politics in firm agreement on state-sponsored capitalism with minor disputes over procedure. Imagine for a moment if a politician had the guts to say what Eugene Debs said:

"I do not want you to follow me or anyone else; if you are looking for a Moses to lead you out of this capitalist wilderness, you will stay right where you are. I would not lead you into the promised land if I could, because if I led you in, some one else would lead you out. You must use your heads as well as your hands, and get yourself out of your present condition."

Jennifer said...

Darn Duane you sure have a way with words. Thank you for your great comment.