It is important to recognize that the
regressive religilous right wing is NOT a majority. They have
achieved notice and influence because they are being used by the
Republican party to increase their voter share just enough to
They are no different than hundreds of other religions and subreligions except for one thing: their desire to politically force the rest of us to act according to their beliefs. By their coalition with the Republicans, they have gained some influence.
Most Americans, whatever their religious beliefs, are content with the freedom to practice them as the Constitution guarantees. Recently the Ahmish were granted permanant exemption from jury service because they believe that it wrong to judge others. That is as it should be. The Ahmish do not insist that we follow their principles. They only want the freedom we all enjoy.
Of all issues we need to address, the most important is freedom. The Bush Administration has assaulted our political and legal rights under the guise of anti- terrorism, and the religious right wing attempts to hamper our religious freedom and medical rights.
To successfully oppose that coalition, the Democratic party must focus more strongly on the freedom issue, and seek a coalition of our own. The Libertarian party, though in the past considered politically right wing, is most strongly opposed to the erosion of civil rights perpetrated by the current administration. They also oppose unwarranted military actions abroad. Though they differ in their socioeconomic approach, it has not gone unnoticed that in recent years Democrats have proven more apt to balance the budget and maintain a growing economy than Republicans.
One Democratic error needs to be corrected. The Second Ammendment must be fully supported. No single issue has hampered Democrats in the past as much as their support for 'gun control'. Their approach to guns as a safety issue has proven both ineffective and inconsistent with their support for all the other Constitutional rights. The importance of the right to bear arms has not been universally understood, but those who support it realize that it is insurance against despotism; the ultimate deterrance.
Before the November election John Kerry strongly implied that he supported gun rights, but statements from other leaders would be desirable.
Libertarians have elected 578 local candidates to current public office and maintain a small but consistent percent of votes in national elections. Many Libertarians logically support other party candidates when it would make a difference in a close race, so there are likely more of them than voting might indicate. Their strong support for civil liberties alone might gain them far more support, but their opposition to government aid for the poor and disadvantaged makes it unlikely that the party will grow much larger on its own.
In the past, Libertarians have been similar to right-wing Republicans on socioeconomic policy issues, but it is increasingly difficult for Libertarians to support Republicans who would curtail freedom. Therefore I propose that Democrats and Libertarians should work out the basis for a coalition aimed at maintaining and restoring all civil rights. This could be accomplished by Libertarian endorsement of specific Democratic candidates rather than running their own in the same election race. Complete agreement in platforms could not be expected, of course, Libertarians would gain both by advancing the cause of freedom and by increasing its own recognition and influence in state and national politics.
Americans are less accostomed to coalition politics than other democratic nations, but we are faced with one now, and to defeat it, we need to form a better one. It's worth a try.