[guest post by Dana] On Friday, I posted about Cleveland’s latest news . One item of particular interest was the selection of Cleveland to host the 2016 Republican National Convention. The driving force behind the successful bid was Sen. Rob Portman. I noted in the post that Portman’s: …views on it (same sex marriage) evolved after finding out his son was gay. In response, commenter happyfeet provocatively asked: wouldn’t yours? mine would. I responded: I guess if it were to change, then that would seem to be the time it would. But here’s the thing, a change of mind would depend on what motivated the belief that it was wrong in the first place. Regretfully, I did not pursue this in the comments and instead gave an off-the-cuff response. I did, however, make a mental note that this brief exchange begged further consideration of what informs our beliefs in moral rights and wrongs, especially in light of politics. Included in my response to happyfeet was the explanation that I chose the term “evolved” as I recalled President Obama’s evolution on SSM came at a politically opportune moment. This could also be suggested of Portman’s evolution . What provokes questions about this evolution is that both Portman and Obama have claimed that their non-supportive views of SSM were informed by their belief in God and the tenets of their faith. From Portman : At the time, my position on marriage for same-sex couples was rooted in my faith tradition that marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman. From President Obama : “What I believe is that marriage is between a man and a woman … What I believe, in my faith, is that a man and a woman, when they get married, are performing something before God, and it’s not simply the two persons who are meeting.” In essence, their prior stands were shaped by a belief in God and foundational principles stemming from Him. And certainly, to those of us who profess faith, that source supersedes the politics of mere man. To put it another way, faith informed their politics, not the other way around. In light of this and that both have changed their stands, does this speak to God’s changing nature and ceasing immutability? Or does it speak to a shrewd calculation made in an ever-shifting political landscape? Or, maybe it’s something else, altogether? Commenter Mark responded to happyfeet’s original question with this analogy: So if he found out his son had a common-law wife and another wife in a neighboring community, and they all knew about one another and were perfectly fine about it, should the father’s views therefore evolve on the issue of polygamy? Commenter Millhouse questions further: If your views were correct before you found this out, how could this possibly make them wrong? And if they were wrong before, then why didn’t you change them earlier? What possible difference can it make whose ox is gored? Besides, anyone with any brain should have realised years ago that they’re almost bound to have close relatives who are gay; hardly anyone doesn’t. If it wasn’t your son it might be your granddaughter, or your favourite neice, or a cousin. And if it’s nobody in your immediate family, then it’s someone in your neighbour’s family, or your best friend’s. So what difference does finding out who it is make? What’s right remains right, and what’s wrong remains wrong, and you have to decide that based on solid principles, not on whom it affects. If one believes something to be morally wrong and has stood on a solid principle of faith supporting that belief derived from God , what must take place to allow what was once believed wrong to now be right? P.S. happyfeet, Mark and Millhouse – thanks for your interesting comments. I really hope none of you mind me using them in this post. –Dana

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Questions About Making What Was Once Believed Wrong, Right

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Progressive Pablum

On July 8, 2014, in Barack Obama, by Phillipasrg

[guest post by Dana] Progressive writer and CNN news commentator Sally Kohn wants you to stop using the “I” word when referencing those who have come into our country illegally because using the term is dehumanizing. Just like using the “N” word. During the civil rights era, Alabama Gov. George Wallace was asked by a supporter why he was fixated on the politics of race. Wallace replied, “You know, I tried to talk about good roads and good schools and all these things that have been part of my career, and nobody listened. And then I began talking about n*ggers, and they stomped the floor.” … Once upon a time, the n-word and f-word were utterly acceptable terminology in undermining not only the basic rights but basic humanity of black people and gay people. That those terms seem radically inappropriate and out of step with mainstream culture now is only because social movements and legal and political changes have shifted the landscape. But make no mistake about it, words matter, not only in reflecting certain dehumanizing attitudes toward historically marginalized groups but in actively perpetuating and rationalizing that dehumanization. So, in Kohn’s shameful attempt at equivalency, using an accurate, objective and non-personal term like “illegal” to describe people who enter our country illegally is the same as referring to a specific group of people (who never entered our country illegally) with an historically ugly term intentionally used to denigrate and dehumanize them during a shameful time in our nation’s history. Ms. Kohn, I hate to break it to you, but no matter how you try to twist, shake and manipulate to make it otherwise, if you’ve come across the border illegally, then you are indeed, an illegal immigrant. There’s no two ways about it. Terminology does not and cannot change the facts , no matter how much you want it to. –Dana

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Progressive Pablum

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The Detainee Children

On July 5, 2014, in Barack Obama, Congress, Nancy Pelosi, by JohnsonWimberly

[guest post by Dana] As we continue to watch the president’s immigration policy implode and the resistance to illegal detainees increase, we are also finding out more about some of the 52,000 unaccompanied children who survived the long and dangerous journey to the US. Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo, TX) spoke to 1080 KRLD in Dallas, Texas: Officials at Lackland Air Force Base told us that one-third of young girls that come across – and they were just like little babies; 10, 11, 14 years of age. That about one third of them get raped and/or abused on the way here.” Cuellar says that as he was speaking to Customs and Border Patrol agents he was also discovering a disturbing trend of adults “renting” children in Central America in order to increase their chances of being able to stay in the U.S. once they cross over. “I was talking to somebody that worked for Border Patrol, and he said that in the late 80′s there were a lot of kids from El Salvador coming in and what they were doing is they had a ‘rent-a-kid’ program.” says Cuellar “In other words they said ‘oh if I come in and I have a kid with me they’ll let me go.” And the Border Agent told him “Henry, I’m seeing this again, I cannot believe it.” “This is a phenomenon that has gone on for years if not decades,” says George Grayson a Professor of Latin American Politics at William and Mary “As far as I know they pay the families (and remember these economies are in sad shape) and therefore to get maybe a few hundred dollars you’re willing to give up your 7th or 8th child.” Grayson says that coyotes (smugglers) will often use children as a distraction, “Because your heart goes out to children. If the same group of organized criminals is trying to move drugs you can distract them by having a group of children moving into one part of the McAllen corridor into Texas and then you have your drugs moving in a few miles away.” Meanwhile Cuellar goes onto say that the wave of illegal immigrants coming across the Southern Texas border has not ebbed at all. “It still is bad… about 1,200 to 1,500 people they’re catching a day and about 20 to 30 percent of them are kids with no parents.” With that, I wanted to mention as aspect of this issue that was brought up in the comments section a few nights ago, and that is the issue of compassion for these children. My position is that unaccompanied children are nothing but pawns in an ugly grown-up game of politics. To assign them blame or anger is not only wrong, but is to potentially lose sight of who is really responsible for this situation. Likewise, to respond to them with unbridled sympathies, as our administration hopes, can distract us from holding responsible parties accountable, as well as clouding our view of immigration policy. Rather than objectively seeking what is in our country’s best interest, we instead yield to our sympathies. Unmeasured emotional reactions of any kind benefit no one. They are a liability, especially when it comes to decision making. With that, I believe a measured response of compassion accurately reflects who we are as the greatest nation on earth. These children have been victimized in the worst way by assorted unsavory adults, including elected officials, and thrown into a devastating situation beyond their control. As such, how does one not respond to them – not the politics swirling around them – with some level of compassion? I believe it is possible to view these children in this light, while at the same time holding firm the belief that they must be returned home. Compassion and doing what is in the best interest of our country are not mutually exclusive. And stating the obvious, a compassionate response to their plight does not negate nor minimize their illegal presence in our country, nor does it diminish one bit the self-serving manipulations and complete neglect of duty by an impotent administration in failing to do its damn job of securing the border in the first place. While one side hurls accusations of “xenophobes”, “racists”, “facists” at those of us who believe that the illegal detainees must be returned home and our borders secured, there are also those on this side of the issue who seem to believe that these children, simply by being unlucky enough to have been caught in the middle of an adult-made quagmire and thus here illegally, are unworthy or undeserving of compassion. As misguided as our accusers are, so also is it as equally misguided to deny a rudimentary truth: “there but for the grace of God, go I” when considering the plight of these children. Spare me the You’re-playing-into-the-hand-of-the-Nancy Pelosi-President Obama-who-want-you-to-feel-sorry-for-them bullshit. I am not talking politics here (which, of course, they are), nor am I talking about a silly “compassionate conservatism”. This is not about some manipulatively designed political strategy intended to produce a specifically designed outcome. It is none of these. Rather, I am looking beyond the politics and paring it down to a basic fundamental: the intrinsic worth of a child – no matter where they come from or how they got here. The individual must be worth something. As such, these children who are powerless to change or control their situation, deserve our compassion. Because here’s the bottom line: you and I will be fine. Simply put, and notwithstanding our immigration policy debacle, we will be the ones still living on this side of the border in the greatest country on earth. –Dana

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The Detainee Children

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Friday Amusement, Part II

On June 28, 2014, in Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, by CandraMos

[guest post by Dana] I love JD’s Friday Amusement post. It’s the end of the week, time for a relaxing weekend and what better way to start to unwind than with something absurd? Or hilariously absurd. Preferably both. With that, I wanted to post another Friday amusement… Guess who may be considering a run for governor of California?? That’s right. People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive George Clooney! According to the Mirror, Clooney, a friend of President Obama’s and an advocate for a range of high-profile issues, was being courted by the commander-in-chief to make a run for California’s highest office, likely in 2018. Clooney is supposedly considering a career shift to politics partly due to his recent engagement toAmal Alamuddin, a British human rights lawyer, according to the Mirror. The truthfulness of the rumors is questionable, but if Clooney were to run and win, he would follow in the footsteps of actors Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who traded the silver screen for Sacramento. Now, for those of you rolling your eyes and disparaging him even before you hit the keyboard, given our current crackerjack politicians’ stranglehold on the state, Clooney would, at the least, be a sight for sore eyes. Glam up Sacramento, too. Further, given our desperate state of affairs, anything that might bring relief to the state would be a good thing. And that just might be a pretty face. What? You doubt me? Look again. Keep in mind, with 51% of California’s population female, there is a very good chance Clooney would be elected on his charm and good looks, alone. Why ruin things by bringing his politics into it?

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Friday Amusement, Part II

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Obama: Part of the challenge — and I’ve said this directly to Prime Minister Maliki, and Vice President Biden has said this in his very frequent interactions with the Iraqi government — is that the politics of Shia and Sunni inside of Iraq, as well as the Kurds, is either going to be a help in dealing with this jihadist situation or it’s going to be a hindrance . And frankly, over the last several years, we have not seen the kind of trust and cooperation develop between moderate Sunni and Shia leaders inside of Iraq, and that accounts in part for some of the — the — the weakness of the state, and that then carries over into their military capacity. So I think it’s fair to say that, in our consultations with the Iraqis, there will be some short-term, immediate things that need to be done militarily. And you know, our national security team is looking at all the options. But this should be also a wake-up call for the Iraqi government. There has to be a political component to this so that Sunni and Shia who care about building a functioning state that can bring about security and prosperity to all people inside of Iraq come together and work diligently against these extremists. And that is going to require concessions on the part of both Shia and Sunni that we haven’t seen so far. I think he just said that the majority government needs to make concessions in order to end the violence perpetrated by the minority — because the minority feels so excluded from the government that it feels the need to resort to insurrection. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see this logic applied to American politics? I am not saying that it is morally justified for fiscal conservatives to rebel against the U.S. government. But I think Barack Obama just did.

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Obama: Violence in Iraq Stems from the Majority in Government Not Listening to the Minority

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