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Saturday, November 6, 2004

Liberal moral values.

Ellen Goodman writes:

[I]f this is a cultural war, the Democrats came to it verbally unarmed. There was no larger moral framework for the war; just the promise to fight it better and smarter. The environment never made it onto the screen as central to the progressive "culture of life." Kerry voted for abortion rights but framed his support weakly. He sided with opponents of gay marriage, who opposed him anyway.

The economic language of "two Americas" that John Edwards had used was dropped like a hot liberal potato. The cultural reality of "two Americas" helped keep Bush in office.

It's not a news bulletin that progressives are often tongue-tied in talking about values. Thomas Frank went home to ask "What's the matter with Kansas?" and came back with a book explaining how economic populism had been replaced by cultural populism. George Lakoff's "Moral Politics" has become a handbook for progressives who need to understand the worldviews of right and left, the connecting threads of family and morality, and to reframe the debate on shared terms.

The blue candidates will never convert people who believe that homosexuality is a sin, or that the fertilized egg is a human being, or that evolution is a scam taught by secular humanists. But among the not-so-red voters are those who believe in legal protection for gay couples, who value a child with diabetes over a frozen embryo in a fertility clinic. They regard poverty as a moral issue and tolerance as an American value. They don't want their country racked by the fundamentalist religious wars we see across the world. And they need to hear the moral framework for these views.

("Winning Back Values Voters," Ellen Goodman, Washington Post 11.6.04, reg req'd; via Jesus Politics)

Copyright © 2004 by Philocrites | Posted 6 November 2004 at 8:24 AM

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