Prose and Thorn

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Perry Goodfriend

Perry Goodfriend
August 29
Turn off the TV and turn on the activism. Follow Prose and Thorn, the prick that makes you think. Perry B Goodfriend is a published writer and journalist in Atlanta, Georgia. He also produces political and corporate videos. He even occasionally makes money at it. Follow PnT: @proseandthorn Most posts originate on

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MAY 10, 2012 6:48AM

Obama defends gay unions while Republicans wage war on Lincoln’s Union

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“In effect, what he has promised in this campaign is reflexive votes for a rejectionist orthodoxy and rigid opposition to the actions and proposals of the other party…

“But ideology cannot be a substitute for a determination to think for yourself, for a willingness to study an issue objectively…

“Our political system is losing its ability to even explore alternatives. If fealty to these pledges continues to expand, legislators may pledge their way into irrelevance. Voters will be electing a slate of inflexible positions rather than a leader.”

- Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), in his concession letter to the GOP voters of Indiana, after his loss, Tuesday, to Tea Party favorite Richard Mourdock in the Indiana Republican Senate Primary

Hyper-partisanship leads to hyperbole: we are in a civil war in America, for the soul of the Constitution. Those who grip tightly to the politics of division are enemies of the republic, and destroyers of our union.

If you grew up in the South, as I did, you know that for many of your neighbors, Lee may have surrendered the Confederacy, but so-called Southern Pride did not acquiesce – not in 1865 at Appomattox, and not in 1964 with the Civil Rights Act. The 1976 campaign of the “reformed” segregationist, George Wallace, for the Republican presidential nomination, showed Ronald Reagan that there was a strong anti-Kennedy/Johnson/Democrat undercurrent in the Old South, waiting to be resuscitated. So Reagan gave them a platform, and a party. His “Southern strategy” made the party of Lincoln’s Union the voice of Nathan Bedford Forrest‘s Confederacy, a viciously conservative chorus of racists, homeschoolers and homophobes – Bible thumpers who believe surrender to ignorance is the only way back into the Garden, as if critical thinking, by itself, is responsible for the Fall of Man.

If Mourdock becomes the Junior Senator from Indiana, Lugar warns in his letter, “his answer to the inevitable roadblocks he will encounter in Congress is merely to campaign for more Republicans who embrace the same partisan outlook.” The Tea Party, then, wants more than just control over the three branches of our federal government – they want this to be a country that takes a stand, on principle, against everything from homosexuality to Islam.

Lugar’s resounding defeat to an admitted political isolationist, and North Carolina’s insistence on an amendment to the state constitution, taking away relationship rights from committed couples, is as powerful a barrage on the civil structure and protections of our federal government as the Confederacy firing at Fort Sumter, 151 years ago.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Ri...

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar and Committee member Barack Obama at a base where mobile launch missiles are being destroyed by the Nunn-Lugar program. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Into this structural distress of our Union, where extremism commands the media, drops Wednesday’s revelation that Barack Obama, President of the United States, is personally, publicly supporting the right of gay and lesbian Americans to legally marry. “I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” the president told ABC News’ Robin Roberts, in a hastily arranged interview.

Reacting to Obama’s declaration, presumptive GOP presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, reiterated his belief that “States are able to make decisions with regards to domestic partnership benefits,” and went on to describe the entire discussion as “a very tender and sensitive topic, as are many social issues.”

Setting aside Romney’s hesitation to assume an unequivocal position, civil rights are not a “social issue;” they are an issue based on the freedoms guaranteed in our Constitution. Indeed, the freedom to be who you are is an essential part of being an American. Because of our country’s sordid history of slavery and Jim Crow, there is, perhaps understandably, the desire to think of bigotry and the struggle for civil rights as the sole realm of the African American experience. But this is a civil rights issue as well, because it punishes members of the LGBT community, taking away from them the right to commit their love to someone for the rest of their lives, with all the benefits of partnership available to married heterosexuals.

The over 30 states that have voted to ban gay marriage – either through law or an amendment to the state’s constitution – are not endowing new rights to one-man-one-woman couples with their specific definition of marriage; they are disenfranchising committed couples from the economic and other partnership rights a legal, civil marriage allows. In North Carolina, that now includes committed heterosexual couples who choose not to marry.

In his ABC interview, President Obama acknowledged that although some are eager to engage our American penchant for supposedly Christian, moral superiority, “when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated…and I figure the most consistent I can be in being true to those precepts, the better I’ll be as a as a dad and a husband and, hopefully, the better I’ll be as president.”

Despite that meaningful, moral justification for his decision, there are still many on the far right who feel Barack Obama is the ultimate anti-American, whose presidency puts “our future as a sovereign nation…at risk.”

“[W]e shall not have any coarse (sic) but armed revolution should we fail with the power of the vote in November,” writes Ponch McPhee, the editor of the March newsletter of the Republican Party of Greene County, Virginia, “This Republic cannot survive for 4 more years underneath this political socialist ideologue.”

One hopes they heed the advice of Abraham Lincoln, who warned, in his first inaugural address:

“In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The Government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the Government, while I shall have the most solemn one to ‘preserve, protect, and defend it.’”


Filed under: elections 2012, politics Tagged: civil war, Gay Marriage, Indiana, North Carolina, Richard Lugar, Richard Mourdock, tea party

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Mitt Romney, reiterated his belief that “States are able to make decisions with regards to domestic partnership benefits,”

Hey genius. Know who else said that? Barack Obama in his ABC Interview (same one you're applauding).

So, just wondering, why is Romney a dick for saying it and the president is the Great and Wise Leader of the People when he says the same thing?

Also, review your history - Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists. The rhetoric used to be a lot worse, but they were informed people debating ideas and not putting forth the uninformed idolitry that you so obviously follow.

Also, the "Southern Strategy" of Reagan was based on the template of the Nixon/McGovern election (in which Nixon trounced McGovern almost as handily as Reagan disposed of Carter and his former VP).

Can I offer you another glass of Kool-Aid?
The quote about the dangers of "hyperpartisanship" being a" danger to the Uion" is very thought provoking , since it is true. But if this "Union" is going to require that strongly held beliefs are to be ridiculed and eliminated by the forces of social engineering and the punishments of Law: then what kind of Union is that , anyway? It would be the "Union" of the Soviet Union, i.e. phoney. It's all just like 1861, I grant you. But how does War help?! The Quakers had the right idea: if you can't get a consensus, just put the item on the back burner until the fanatics die of old age, then bring it up again.
If anyone wants to know about the Civil War, read "Patriotic Gore": not much about battles, but a lot about America. As for Lincoln, I was amazed to learn that actually HE was the aggressive one in 1861, and actually broke his constitutional duties even before the Confederates did. Not that many people these days actually care about such things. As Liberals say about it, no reason we should be bound by any oldfashioned ideas. (!?)
When President Obama sent me an email asking for yet more money immediately after announcing his ‘evolution’ on ‘marriage equally’ (the money grubbers couldn’t wait a New York minute) all I wanted to know was, Why should I give him money for saying no more than Dick Cheney said eight years ago? 
Malcom - I didn't call Mitt a dick for saying that. It was his phrase calling it a "social issue" that I take exception with. I included the line you cite only to show the context of his statements.
also, not clear on who you think I idolize. My idol is the principle of civil rights and equal opportunity. Neither party has been exceptional in that regard recently, but that won't keep me from acknowledging a positive sign when I see it.
Finally, leaving Nixon out of the "southern strategy" discussion was not a deliberate omission, on my part. I was going for the race that pointed to the defeat of an incumbent. Still, you could point to Wallace's bid in 72 as a message for Nixon, one that Reagan was able to further exploit with his superior personal skills.
Shawn - I harbor no illusions about the extra-Constitutional steps old Abe took to hold the 80 year old union together. It's vexing, but I can't do anything about what happened 150 years ago.
I'm not looking for war. I'm pointing out how far so-called patriots are willing to go in their hatred of Obama. I like what you say about the Quakers, but if Congress worked like a Friends meeting, EVERYTHING would be put on the back burner.