Saturday, November 8, 2008

A proposal on Marriage

As you may have read on DailyKos, there's a movement to separate marriage from civil unions. Marriage would be a strictly religious observance while civil unions would be granted by the state.

When my wife and I were married last year, we filled out two separate contracts. One was the North Carolina issued forms and entailed the legal benefits and responsibilities of our union. The other was a contract known as a "ketubbah" that is signed by husband and wife in the Jewish tradition and indicated our spiritual bond. Our wedding was performed by a rabbi, but she had to be licensed by the state to do so as well.

From our experience, it already seems to be that there are two separate institutions. Why not make it official? Churches and other houses of worship would not be forced to issue their religious marriages to anyone (e.g. a Catholic church would likely have refused to marry me and my wife), and civil unions will be available to any pair of consenting adults not already civilly united with someone else. Problem solved, marriage is saved, and everyone is treated equally under the letter of the law and our nation's constitution.

I'm considering crafting a petition to this effect, but don't know who to send it to, how to get signatures, and what other organizations to involve. I'm already a member of HRC and recently joined straight FOR equality, but don't know if there's a better place to start than with them. If you have ideas or would like to help out, please contact me. Let's make the world a better place together.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama's first 100 days

Here is what I would like to see Obama and the new congress focus on during the first 100 days after they're sworn in next year:

  1. Get his tax policy onto the floor of congress and passed so we can start working our way back toward a surplus a.s.a.p.
  2. Work with Congress, the governors, and state legislatures to redefine marriage as a strictly religious institution. The government will instead issue Civil Unions to each pair of consenting adults with all the current benefits.
  3. Begin troop draw down in Iraq, increase presence in Afghanistan. Ideally, capture bin Laden.
  4. Meet with G[7/8], NAFTA, and appropriate U.N. councils to:
    1. Define worldwide emissions standards and get them onto the floor of congress to be passed a.s.a.p.
    2. Get Russia out of Georgia, replace their troops with U.N. peacekeepers.
    3. Expedite and improve aid to African Union troops in Darfur.
  5. Revive the SCHIP coverage debate and get that back on the floor of congress so he can sign it into law.
  6. Implement strict restrictions on line item vetoes to avoid their abuse by any future president.

The future of the GOP

With President-elect Obama's major victory and the Democratic gains in House and Senate, we will likely see a shake-up in the Republican party as they work to appeal to a larger portion of the electorate.

Here's my prediction- the Republican party will swing back towards the causes championed by the fiscal conservatives rather than the social conservatives, thus drawing back in a portion of the Libertarian vote (Ron Paul will have a hand in this, or at least be a target for assimilation by the Republican leadership even if he doesn't take part). A portion of the religious right will be so put out by being sidelined that they'll either form their own party or join another one as appropriate. Some of the evangelical leaders will even as independents, though this will be about as effective as the Green Party has been on a national level.

Two years from now: Democrats will retain a majority in house and senate, losses will be minimal if they exist at all. Republicans may make gains on the state level in several places across the country. Evangelical split will be beginning- at least two high profile races tracked by the networks will include one of the religious right candidates in addition to a Democrat and a Republican.

Four years from now: The Social/Fiscal conservative split will be well under way - Palin will be with the socials, of course. She will have a "party position", though likely not the candidate for president even though she'll run for it. Some other figure from the religious right will win their support and get approximately 5% of the popular vote in the general election. This will be enough to give Obama a second term as it eats into the base for the Republican candidate. Democrats will lose a few seats in the senate and house but retain a majority.

Eight years from now: The social and fiscal conservatives have tried to reconcile and made some limited success. Still the bruises and scabs from the hateful rhetoric of the past six to eight years will be difficult to fully heal from and the Democratic candidate will have an advantage going into the presidential election. Still, the pendulum will have started swinging back and it will be a tough fight. Some segment of the social conservatives will have splintered off and will be (pardon my French) absolutely bat-guana crazy. We'll all have a good laugh, though be scared at the same time.

I wouldn't bank money on this, and I haven't been around as long as other folks on this list probably have, certainly, but I think it's at least a reasonable starting prediction. Feel free to adapt and update based on the output from your crystal ball and tea leaf readings.