Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Right's Values Agenda

A press release by Bob Shemansky. The date on it is July 19, but I haven't opened my e-mail for a few days. It's been a crazy week. -Renee

While we balance on the brink of yet another conflict in the Middle East, the Bush Administration would rather talk about gay marriage. As oil prices skyrocket ever higher, the Republican Party wants to talk about flag burning. Instead of dealing with the increasingly deadly war in Iraq, the Republican Congress wants to take on the burning issue of how we say the pledge of allegiance.

Today President Bush vetoed a bill that would expand stem cell research. This will happen, despite calls for passage from Senators Bill Frist (R-TN) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), two men who are hardly known for being “liberals” or, for that matter, even voices of moderation. One of the most honored and respected voices in the Republican Party, former First Lady Nancy Reagan, who watched her husband fall victim to the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease, this week issued a statement saying, "Time is short, and life is precious, and I hope this promising research can now move forward." But these pleas for reason have fallen on deaf ears. The President, for the first time in his 5 ½ years in office, has used his veto power not to stop runaway budget deficits or halt multi-billion dollar pork-barrel projects, but to stop a bill that would expand life saving research.

Later this week and into the fall, House Republicans will again debate a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. They will do so despite the fact that it has already failed in the Senate. So what is their rationale? According to Representative Phil Gringrey (R- GA), this bill ---and I’m not making this up --- “is perhaps the best message we can give to the Middle East and all the trouble they’re having over there right now.”

Think about that for a moment. The “best message” we can give to the Middle East is that the American Congress wants to bash homosexuals yet again, insert itself into the private lives of this nation’s citizens, and negate the authority states have historically had to regulate the institution of marriage. Yep, that will certainly defuse the crisis in Lebanon and hasten the end of the Iraqi civil war so we can finally bring our brave troops home.

In truth we all know what these hot button issues bills are about. They are not about doing anything constructive on the great issues of the day. They are about politics, pure and simple. The Gay Marriage Ban and bills like it are being trotted out because 2006 is an election year, and since Republicans can’t talk about anything on which they have been successful; since they can’t talk about how they’ve united us, they will talk about things designed to divide us even further.

Personally, I believe the voters are smarter than that. I think they’ll see through these smokescreens. And come election day ---in the immortal words of The Who ---I think the voters will make it clear that they “won’t be fooled again.”

Bob Shamansky is a lifelong Central Ohio resident, lawyer, and local businessman. He served as a Special Agent in the United States Army’s Counter Intelligence Corp during the Korean War, and as a Member of Congress representing Ohio's 12th Congressional District from 1981-1983. He is facing Rep. Patrick Tiberi (R-Genoa Twp.) as the Democratic nominee in the 12th Congressional District.

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