Monday, December 10, 2007

(Cindy Sheehan shakes the limp-wrist of a rather fey supporter at her campaign launch on Sunday in the Mission. Photo credit: Luke Thomas, Fog City Journal.)

Sheehan For Congress Opens SF Office:
NYT Slams Pelosi on Gay Bill

My Congressional representative, Nancy Pelosi, was taken to task by the editorial board of the NY Times on Monday for her pitiful accomplishments on expanding hate crime laws to include gays and other targets of hateful bashings.
Congressional leaders, who have disappointed frequently this year, have done it again. This time, the House leadership has failed to find a way to get a bipartisan law against hate crimes passed and signed into law. Racial, religious, sexual and other minorities have waited long enough. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has to do more than just express her support for the bill; she must find a way to make it the law. [...]
Ms. Pelosi says she is still committed to getting the Matthew Shepard Act passed, perhaps early next year. That’s nice, but it is time for her to explain how she intends to do it — and then to make it happen.
Great to see the Times kick Pelosi's butt on behalf of the gay community over the hate crimes defeat, and it's a lot more than the Democratic butt-kissing by the leading gay organizations in Washington.
Check out what Chris Crain had to say about the Human Rights Campaign reaction to the defeat, and compare the HRC release with the Gray Lady's editorial. The paper is miles ahead of the wimpy gay Democrats in demanding some action and respect from Democratic leadership.
As a Green Party voter, I've never wasted my vote on Pelosi, and I believe she needs to be challenged daily on ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, holding the Bush administration accountable for subverting the Constitution and being more responsive to the needs of her progressive constituents.
But Pelosi reigns as an imperial ruler who will never be faced with a serious challenge from the progressive wing of the local Democratic Party. Forget about a GOP challenger in San Francisco. It is not healthy for American democracy to allow the House Speaker to coast through every election like she does, and I hope to live to see the day when she is made to face the voters in a serious and competitive race.
Until that day arrives, I'm throwing my support behind Cindy Sheehan, the pro-peace activist mom who lost her son in Iraq, who opened her campaign office yesterday in a long-shot bid to unseat Pelosi.
I was unable to make it to the opening, but the bloggers at Fog City Journal were there, took photos and notes, and report on the party at their well-trafficked site.

Virtually ignored by the establishment media, the famous antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan officially kicked off her campaign to unseat Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the opening of her campaign headquarters yesterday in San Francisco.

The date of her headquarters opening coincided with the date John Lennon was assassinated in New York 27 years ago. Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, hoped his passing would be remembered by people everywhere imagining a world of Peace and Love.

Former Board President Matt Gonzalez, former Union Local 10 Secretary-Treasurer Clarence Thomas and former mayoral candidate Ahimsa Sumchai attended the campaign kickoff event.

And we're off to the races, even if the mainstream media gave Cindy Sheehan the cold shoulder on her campaign kick-off.

A few critical sentences in the Times today, and the launch of a quixotic candidacy, aren't much of anything to scare Pelosi. She is not about to grow a spine, nor is her seat in any jeopardy.

But between the paper and Sheehan, I'm pleased just to witness them caring enough to at least raise their voices in demanding better from my Congresswoman.


RSandford said...

It would have been helpful if you had mentioned in your article the address of her office, or a phone number so people could actually go there to volunteer or at least call for hours.

Anonymous said...

You talk about how Bush needs to be taken to task for subverting the constitution, but you don't seem to mind when it suits your purposes.

Hate crimes legislation flies in the face of the concept of equality before the law. If a person is murdered because they are black, are they any more dead? We don't try people for their reasons for committing crimes, but for their crimes--their actions.

By creating classes of people who are 'more equal' than others, you set a dangerous precedent.

If some commits a heinous crime against a gay man because of his orientation, he should be tried for his actions not for his animosity towards gays.

In pretty much every case, hate crimes don't make activities illegal, but intents. They may strengthen a case against someone for an action that is already illegal, but only for certain protected groups. Again, this means we are not all equal before the law.

While I think the idea of having feelings of hate toward people because of their race, creed, color, orientation or religion is wrong, I also think a free people cannot allow their government to tell them what they are or are not allowed to believe.

If someone takes action on their hatred, we already have laws to cover those actions--creating a set of thought crimes is not going to make any protected group more safe. It will only give the bigots ammunition to complain that they are right about all of their little conspiracy theories.

Hate crimes laws are the worst form of pandering: promising groups special status over others in return for votes.

It is anti-liberty and anti-equality.

Kevin said...

You've been insta-launched!

That said, as a midwestern gay man, I must say, not only do I find great disagreement with Nancy Pelosi, but I find I am in disagreement with leftist politics in general. I could go through a litany of reasons, but one thing for certain, I shall not, because that is really for another topic for another time.

My real observation is this, just how blinded by partisanship must a person be to ignore the voluminous evidence that Cindy Sheehan, just doesn't deserve the sympathy so many have heaped on her. But in addition, her very character and judgement should also be seriously questioned given with her fawning adoration of Hugo Chavez.

From my perspective, Nancy Pelosi and Cindy Sheehan are just two rotting peas in a pod, but the latter is just a little more rotten.

smitty1e said...

Consider some children. Among them are some obnoxious little cretins. Now, do we empower external adult force to coerce the cretins to behave, or do we set about maturing the little cretins, so that they consciously become decent citizens?
The problem many have with this hate crime legislation is that, perhaps tragically, works more like the former than the latter.

Anonymous said...

"the House leadership has failed to find a way to get a bipartisan law against hate crimes passed and signed into law. Racial, religious, sexual and other minorities have waited long enough."

Wouldn't it be more efficient to pass a law that simply increases sentences for all violent crimes by, say, 25%, and then reduces the sentence 25% if the victim is a heterosexual white male?

-Dave S.-

BlacquesJacquesShellacques said...

Nice site, well written. Got here via Instapundit.

Went and read the Crain link too, and likewise well written.

Consider a well meaning comment from the right: I agree with the Crain header of "No government has the right to tell its citizens whom to love. The only queer people are those who don't love anybody. — Rita Mae Brown". same goes for hate, non-love and non-hate.

The crime is the act, not the thought. I do not care what motivates violence or other criminal actions against gays. There is no real difference between:
-a homophobe's attack, motivated by hate.
-a mugger's attack, motivated by greed and laziness.
-injury or death from criminal negligence caused by a drunk or druggie, motivated by nothing but stupidity.

Most of us on the right have no problem with homosexuality. Please ignore that proportion of the right which is stupid, insane, dishonest, etc. I'll do the same for the proportion of crazies on the left.

The state and its servants will not help you. If you get these hate crime laws passed they will be used against you. The state and its servants will use new powers for their benefit, not yours. There will be unintended consequences.

Be careful out there.

Anonymous said...

Kevin, what do being gay have to do with having a disagreement with leftish politics

Becky said...

I'm not a big fan of hate crimes legislation, but I think some of the commentary here misses the point entirely. First and foremost, intent most certainly matters in the prosecution of a crime. If I kill a man breaking into a building, he's dead. If I kill a man breaking into my home, he's still dead. My intent, my mental state (mens rea) while committing an act matters in the court of law.

Moreover, the whole point of hate crimes legislation is the politicizing of individual cases. The idea is that the Hate involved in a Hate Crime unduly influences one community, creating fear within that community. The logic is that if there's a gunman out there shooting Jews, he's creating a fear in the Jewish community because of his hate that wouldn't be there without it.

It's tenuous logic at best. I'm not a fan. But you should grapple with the concepts at least a little bit.

I'm not a supporter of either Pelosi or Sheehan. I find Sheehan's tactics self-righteous and abominable. When she invaded Bush's little town to protest outside his house, I was vividly reminded of abortion protestors parading around clinics. I don't respect her and I think she'd be eaten alive in Congress. As a practical matter, Pelosi has a lot of power for her constituents by virtue of her position and it's a shame that she hasn't used it effectively.

M. Simon said...

A lot of people hate spinach. What did spinach ever do to merit that?

Some people hate meat eaters. Others hate vegetarians. Why isn't Pelosi speaking up?

And how about rats? Don't they deserve protection? Are cockroaches and flies any less deserving? Are they not all nature's creatures?

BTW what is Pelosi doing for those into S&M or boob fetishists? Why is she only looking out for gays?

Plus what about hating Bush? Or Clinton? Don't they deserve protection?

So here is what we can do for now. We treat all crimes as hate crimes if there is any malice involved what so ever.

Sean M. said...

I'm not a big fan of hate crimes legislation, but I think some of the commentary here misses the point entirely. First and foremost, intent most certainly matters in the prosecution of a crime. If I kill a man breaking into a building, he's dead. If I kill a man breaking into my home, he's still dead. My intent, my mental state (mens rea) while committing an act matters in the court of law.
Sure, if you kill a man breaking into your home or a building you own, he's still dead. But you're protecting your property. If you kill a man who is trying to kill you, you're defending your life, too. And that's fine.

And if someone murders another person, that's a heinous crime. Nobody in their right mind would argue with that.

But, since murder is a heinous crime already, and is treated harshly by the law, some people (myself included) would argue that the thoughts behind the murder ought not to really matter. After all, the victim is just as dead, right?