In a country that doesn't (officially) recognize state-sponsored religion, whose Constitution says "all men are created equal," where bigotry and bias are abhorred — why do otherwise intelligent and sensitive people feel they can engage in hate speech against gay people?

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Today's Lesson: Arlen Specter Is A Hypocritical Pussy Who Knows Little About The US Constitution

Today's lesson is about leadership and conviction.

When you are convicted about something, your views are typically so strong you will defend your stance in the face of signigicant ridicule, rejection and disagreement. Believing in the validity and worth of your convictions will impel you to hold fast to your beliefs, proclaim them widely — even though they might cause you discomfort.

Religious people, by the way, are called to behave this way. Even though people might try to squealch their "good news" they are to remain steadfast in their beliefs — having great confidence in their faith.

Leaders, also, should behave this way. Trying to lead from the comfort of a place where criticism or healthy debate is silenced isn't leadership at all. Rather, that's called being a great big, hypocritical pussy.

Conveniently, an exchange occurred just today to illustrate the difference.

From PageOneQ:

Feingold Walks Out As Marriage Amendment Hearing Moved Behind Closed Doors

The Senate Judiciary Committee moved its meeting today — including the "mark-up" of a US Constitutional Amendment to restrict marriage equality — from a public room in a Senate office building to the restricted access President's Room, off the floor of the Senate chamber, inside the US Capitol. According to a statement issued by the Human Rights Campaign, the room "is not open to the public and does not even have enough chairs for every Senator on the committee to sit."

Sources have confirmed to PageOneQ that a heated exchange took place at the meeting between Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), the committee's ranking Democratic member, and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), chairman of the panel.

According to an observer of the meeting, Feingold expressed his dismay that the meeting had been moved and his desire not to assist the committee in reaching a quorum. "Don't lecture me," Specter said to Feingold, before the Wisconsin Senator walked out of the meeting. Feingold was recently recognized by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, in part for his staunch support of full marriage equality for all Americans.

The Associated Press reported a fuller account of the exchange between the two senators:

"I don't need to be lectured by you. You are no more a protector of the Constitution than am I," Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., shouted after Sen. Russ Feingold declared his opposition to the amendment, his affinity for the Constitution and his intention to leave the meeting.

"If you want to leave, good riddance," Specter finished.

"I've enjoyed your lecture, too, Mr. Chairman," replied Feingold, D-Wis., who is considering a run for president in 2008. "See ya." — Michael Rogers

I ask: If Republicans are so passionate about their convictions, why — at every turn — must they silence debate, take hearings to private quarters away from scutiny by the public and increasingly behave like heavy-handed despots protecting the interests of the ignorant masses? Is this how Christians want their leaders to view them?

Holy rollers can defend their leaders' behavior — believing that, by sacrificing this nation's most earnest principles, they are achieving the "progress" they want. But politics go forward like a pendulum. Expect liberals and other Democrats to follow this example when they are back in power — say, around November. They can't be blamed for playing by the same rules they have been forced to accept. But, still, this isn't confident leadership. This isn't befitting a nation proud that every man or woman, regardless of whether they are in office or not, is equal and has a voice. This isn't the America we were taught we were in school.

Amazingly, Arlen Specter says he doesn't believe in the amendment he worked so hard to push through today. Well, isn't that a deliciously insignificant olive branch? — otherwise known as, "having it both ways." Working like a puppet to preserve your party's power isn't heroic, principled leadership. Voting against what you claim to be best for the country isn't convicted leadership, either. I'm not sure who Specter thinks he is representing — the people of Pennsylvania and America at large — or the power-hungry men who pull his strings in the White House and Republican party.

We simply can do with fewer "leaders" such as him — those whose character and belief in American ideals are so weak they can be counted on to bite their lips about what they know is best in order to possibly manipulate a few more votes.

Republicans such as Specter have worked hard to make America more unlike a democracy everyday — and the "Christian" base has acquiesced. In doing so, they all will no doubt learn a valuable, religious lesson when the shift in power comes (and it will come): You do, indeed, reap what you sew.


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