Cleaning out the think tank

It was pretty clear to me that the threadjacking of the Kay Hagan thank you post went completely off the rails on several fronts, spurred by the reposting of my "infamous" questions from her April liveblog by Linda.

It was a case of Bizarro World and deja vu for me, so I decided to put the questions back out there, and examine some of the exchanges and my interpretation of them from the thank you thread, and asked readers outside of the BlueNC think tank to give their feedback.

http://pandagon.blogsome.com/2008/05/12/nc-dems-party-like-its-2004/

http://www.pamshouseblend.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=5340

Feel free to come back and comment here.

Comments

20/20

Hindsight, that is.

I'm sorry for being responsible for the whole fiasco. I shouldn't have posted the questions there. I had emailed the campaign several times, and never got a response. I was frustrated.

It sure showed me a side of "progressives" that I didn't think was there. Some of the most progressive didn't even realize that it was a problem. I've been doing some soul searching since the thread ended - wondering how well this place really fits someone like me.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

it's ok, Linda

It's already on the intertubes and your frustration with the lack of engagement in the primary on these issues by Hagan (and Perdue and Moore in their liveblogs), was the impetus for posting.

The fact of the matter is that a healthy side effect is that the larger issue is the "progressive" response to the questions being asked has been uncovered. Certainly no one would have minded if I asked any Republican candidates those very same questions. In fact, I'm pretty sure if I sent a letter to Liddy Dole, she'd have no problem using her Constituent Services Letter GeneratorTM to tell me she opposes any and all of the LGBT legislation in the queue. That would be an appropriate response. In fact I've written her before and received her pathetic reasons for voting for the FMA. At least she responded.

As I said in my thread today:

This is all about the fact that coming out of the closet has forced allies to think about their role and its impact on them. It's part of the growing pains of the progressive movement, which includes people who have a hard time dealing with their own insecurities on these issues of "outness." They desperately don't want to admit their own internalized homophobia, much like they don't want to admit to internalized racism, because they want to believe they are beyond that.

The social and political reality is that everyone isn't on the same page, but to tell the group that is discriminated against to stay silent is a manifestation of their inability to handle the issue. That underscores the need for more education of our allies -- and the need for more of us to come out if at all possible. It is in fact the most radical act. After all, there are plenty of self-loathing gay folks who don't want to discuss the issues either.

Asking pols questions and expecting basic answers is pretty benign; the fact it's perceived as almost a "radical" an act as an ACTUP protest in a church based on the thread shows you how queasy some "allies" can be about it all. How do we move forward when confronted with this?

It doesn't mean that I won't vote for Kay Hagan. The candidate in question is irrelevant -- it's about the work needed to be accomplished for progressives to accept advocacy and holding pols accountable, with the equally important work of back channel communication and lobbying.

As I said in my post, I've been through this after the 2004 elections, where the post-mortem on more than one progressive blog community was that Kerry lost because of marriage equality in Mass, not the voter disenfranchisement in OH and the fact he conceded, or his inability or unwillingness to counter the bogus Swift Boat brigade, to name a couple of the missteps. It's funny how even our purported allies can find a way to shuttle blame our way when losses occur.

That's why it was bizarre to see it replicating itself here when it's already been more effectively dealt with at the presidential level in 2008 since then.

--
Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend
www.pamshouseblend.com

--
Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend
www.pamshouseblend.com

Stereotyping goes both ways

Pam, I have to say I am both surprised and depressed that some of us could be so easily classified as homophobic, which happened at both of the forums you provided links for. I'm...at a loss, frankly. I don't know how to take that.

As you are (probably) aware, I was very vocal in my support of Jim and my opposition to Kay. I had questions/reservations about some issues, and those reservations have not disappeared. I can also guarantee you that, if I had brought up my specific issues in Kay's thank-you thread, I would have encountered just as much (if not more) resistance than you/Linda/Grace did, and from a wider group of BlueNCers.

Please don't allow this incident to drive a wedge between us that only exists in an angry mind.

I will not sit idly by and allow you to twist what I said

asking that we be gracious on one thread is NOT telling you to be silent on the issues. I resent that you are implying otherwise.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Thank you, and I'm sorry I snapped

I've been working on a response all freaking day. I've lost it twice and can't get it to post at Pandagon.

I absolutely do not think this is an issue to be quiet on. I just think we have to take a step back and regroup at this point. Personally, the only way to make progress is to keep these discussions front and center even if they don't all center on questions to our candidates. First and foremost, though, you and everyone else who writes or visits here should never feel that you can't ask questions that are important to you. It is the hows and whens we need to work on to make sure they are effective for the situation. That is what open discussion is for, though....to work together on the most effective way to move this conversation and cause forward.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

The hows and whens

You know - sometimes, the subject just comes up. You can't deal with how. Sometimes it's just appropriate. I thought it was appropriate to ask the questions because I thought I might actually catch her online and get her to answer. I should have been thinking clearly enough to move my comment to a different thread and at least I wouldn't have been a hijacker. I hate that.

But the question was in my mind. If it was in my mind, it was in the minds of others, too. I'm not that original of a thinker. But I am that much of a questioner, hence the title of my personal blog.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

not angry

And I'm definitely not classifying anyone here as homophobic. My discussion is much the same as I have regarding race at my pad, and the discussions there are much more civil, because we work hard at learning how to frame the dialogue.

I always notice that posts here vs. post at my blog (mostly LGBT audience) or Pandagon (a progressive blog), are received and read differently by those audiences. It was the first time I saw the level of miscommunication and motive blow out like this at BlueNC. People were talking past one another, something I've seen at my place in the past, but happens less so now.

The first matter to address is admitting that internalized racism and homophobia exists -- in all of us. That's not accusatory, just a reality. We are all raised in a culture that doesn't want to acknowledge white privilege or heterosexual privilege.

If folks can manage to cross that barrier, then it becomes a question of how to resolve it personally, and then institutionally, because it's nearly impossible to get people who feel they have something to lose (power, tradition), to be self-reflective enough to fully engage.

Once you get into the political realm, it becomes a matter of pragmatism, and a delicate balancing act. In this case, the discomfort is about handling LGBT issues out of the closet. There is no right and wrong, we're all struggling through it in real time. That doesn't mean advocates of back channel communication are wrong; they are necessary in any situation of moving rights forward for any subgroup.

The area of disagreement is what constitutes "activism." One person's attempt to engage in a public discussion on the issues in a respectful, direct manner can obviously be seen by someone else as a radical attempt to undermine the dialogue going on in back channels. That is a natural pull and push. There isn't a right or wrong, and both efforts need to be respected. But it doesn't mean there won't be tensions to work out.

There is no wedge unless parties stop participating in the dialogue. I haven't had anyone at my blog yet say they were so frustrated when discussing race, for instance, that they were bailing out.

My guess is that there are a lot of people that are uncomfortable with issues being voiced publicly without tools in the toolbox to bridge communication gaps. That is solvable.

--
Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend
www.pamshouseblend.com

--
Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend
www.pamshouseblend.com

I agree with almost everything you said here,

including the internalization of deeply-rooted prejudices.

But what I don't agree with is the ready acceptance by many that the conflict on the thread in question was actually about LGBT issues and whether or not people support them.

In this case, the discomfort is about handling LGBT issues out of the closet.

See, you're framing what happened to fit into your view of how the (wider) LGBT struggle is developing, and assigning traits to those who were involved. I know you've "seen it all before", but sometimes that can warp your perception of events (and people).

As I said above, I believe what happened was more about a) the thread being an inappropriate venue for (any) issue accountability, and b) a concern that pre-primary negativity would remain in place, making an already difficult campaign even harder.

I almost wish I had demanded, "I want answers about those PACs, dammit!", just so you would see that it wasn't the nature of the issue that caused resistance.

*sigh* It's Monday. If none of that makes sense, it's not your fault.

unfortunately

I was the only one being called out by name (along with my questions), so naturally, I addressed it from my POV. I assigned no traits, only observations about the responses. That the responses/rationalizations were remarkably similar to ones I've seen before of course informs my POV. That would be true of most human beings, I would think.

But in any case, I was the one on the hot seat because of the lack of anyone else/any other issue being named, that's what ended up on fire.

--
Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend
www.pamshouseblend.com

--
Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend
www.pamshouseblend.com

Yes, it would

That would be true of most human beings, I would think.

And I can absolutely understand why you (and others) felt like you were running into the same old wall you've run up against countless times before. But if there is a wall here, it's a hell of a lot shorter than most, and it breaks my heart that you (or Linda, or Grace) would feel like it's just as difficult to climb as the others.

not just as difficult, just another wall

At least in my case, it's a growing of walls in various communities of differing heights. Since I have the threat anchor privilege of inhabiting this place on earth as a woman, lesbian, person of color, and a Southerner (regional bias is incredible in the blogosphere), I get the slings and arrows from just about every angle imaginable -- and all along the political spectrum.

And that includes people within those the above-mentioned spaces for not following the party line on a host of issues. Some of the most vitriolic emails, aside from the death threats from fundamentalists and crazies over alleged Homosexual Agenda, come from blacks who told me to stop criticizing Obama for the McClurkin affair, or for airing "dirty laundry" about hip-hop and misogyny.

I could just fold up my tent and return to anonymity and let someone else try to engage to scale the communication barriers rather watching all of us continue to run into them. It just seems important to do something rather than watch the continual avoidance of difficult conversations because of the fear of tempers flaring.

Maybe I will drop out, and shut down my pad if my contribution doesn't seem helpful in any way - quite frankly I'm so burned out with the day job, the blog and the various other venues I contribute to that my goal is to make it through the election -- make it through this cycle and reevaluate whether it's worth continuing to publicly try to scale the walls.

--
Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend
www.pamshouseblend.com

--
Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend
www.pamshouseblend.com

Pam, you're hitting on the cosmic questions

and so early in the morning.

I honestly don't know how you do what you do. As a freelancer, I barely have time to breathe and blog ... I can't imagine burning the candle on all the ends you do. And at least once a day (especially on those maddening days) I ask myself WTF am I doing? Or maybe WTF am I doing this for?

Does it make a difference? I have no idea. I've met some great people, people like you, and I've learned a lot personally, but beyond that? It's hard to say.

I tend to operate from a position that says discussion and conversation is good all by itself, which is probably true. But whether "good" is worth the time, energy, anxiety and heartache that comes from what we're doing is another question.

In my heart, I don't think it is. In my heart, the critical component of focused action to (1) get the right people elected and (2) change public policy is necessary. Unfortunately, I'm not sure the blogosphere is very good at either of those.

Let me know if you find the magic answer. I really need it.

I wanted to clarify

Pam suggested (offline) that some people might think I'm speaking for the North Carolina Democratic Party. This is NOT the case. The opinions expressed in my comments are merely my own, and even I occasionally don't agree with what I wrote.

I do work for the North Carolina Democratic Party, and my work influences my thoughts just as your work probably influences yours. Also, you probably won't hear me criticizing elected Democrats too often.

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McCain - The Third Bush Term

My response I tried to post at Pandagon

Pam,

It was disappointing to see Kay Hagan's "thank you" thread hijacked with this discussion even though it is an important and valuable discussion to have and it is one we should have more frequently. Personally, I don't think some of what was said is being interpreted quite the way it was intended but since I can't climb into their brains and hearts I can't swear to that.

You have always been a calm presence and you bring that to every discussion on BlueNC. There is nothing inappropriate at all in your questions and there is nothing inappropriate with you asking them repeatedly.

You have noted that another member of the community posted your questions on the thread - something you would not have done. She also reiterated that the questions had been posted and emailed and she demanded an answer, "now". I am not questioning her sincere desire to want answers to the questions, but the copy/paste posting did start the threadjack and in my eyes it diminished the impact of what you are doing. It created a "piling on" effect and that, more than the actual questions is what bothered me and I think a few others. When that happened, it made it look like the intent was not to get answers, but to point out that we weren't getting answers.

Another point to consider is that you (and those using your original questions) have not amended that copy/paste list to acknowledge that Hagan has answered two of the questions and she's answered them in a way that I imagine most in the LGBT community would find acceptable.

It's just something to think about going forward.

Also, we're talking about North Carolina where a fairly small portion of Democrats are truly progressive. The presidential candidates engaged the LGBT community nationally because they aren't just relying on North Carolina voters to get elected. It's a step in the right direction from our leaders and it is an indication that this nation is moving in the right direction. I don't like the fact that many North Carolina citizens are opposed to gay marriage and other legislation that ensures equality for all citizens and we need to continue challenging this openly.

I'm not an expert on how to do that. Do we try to force candidates to take a stand on issues that could lose them the support of a large portion of North Carolina voters - including many Democrats, or do we work harder to move North Carolinians forward making it easier for those representing us at different levels of government to openly support equality for all? Do we do a little bit of both....a lot of both? Maybe we should simply charge ahead and not worry about getting rid of Dole. Maybe what it takes is losing an election to wake up other North Carolina Democrats and moderate Republicans to the fact that this country is ready to move forward and we need to do the same thing. I don't know the answer. I wish I did.

I can honestly say, though, that in the two + years that I've been reading you on various sites, I have never thought that anything I've read by you was inappropriate or out of line. If everyone supported their cause with as much grace as you bring to the issues that impact the LGBT community, we would see more progress.

So that's the long narrative - here are the answers to your questions -

Yes, to asking questions. They don't always have to be polite questions.

Yes, to a candidate not responding or acknowledging the questions - as long as they are prepared to lose your vote and your vocal support.

I think if a candidate weighs their answers in terms of electability once, then they will continue to do so on difficult issues. I'm fine as long as I'm not lied to. So far that hasn't been an issue with Hagan. Her current constituents give her very high ratings.

No, asking the questions in public is not damaging to the LGBT community or issues. I imagine it takes working openly and behind the scenes to ultimately move equality forward.

I can honestly say that this answer took a while. This conversation has probably moved light years since I wrote this. Emily got braces today, so I was in and out and it seemed that every single time I tried to post this something happened. Safari "quit unexpectedly" three different times. Fortunately, the last time I had already copied most of what I'd written.

Linda, I believe you sincerely want answers and I support you in this. I also want to get someone elected in what can be an awfully backassward state at times. It isn't always easy, but strategy shouldn't equal suppression. I don't know how to accomplish both, but there will be no progress if you sit down and shut up.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Sorry you feel that way.

Take care.

Oh the hell with *that* idea!

Linda,

I know it's unseemly to beg someone to stay, but I have no problem grabbing your ankles and shrieking !@#$%^&*(-ing STAY!

ARGH!!!!

BRU'

no quitting

>:(

You can't quit. You're wonderful.

- - - - -
McCain - The Third Bush Term

in my post today

Another point to consider is that you (and those using your original questions) have not amended that copy/paste list to acknowledge that Hagan has answered two of the questions and she's answered them in a way that I imagine most in the LGBT community would find acceptable.

I was clear that Sen. Hagan responded in the TV debate. In fact I used it to fact to bolster the point that she didn't see answering the questions as problematic for her electablility, something others seemed to find dangerous or bad strategy.

It also doesn't explain why the Hagan campaign was non-responsive when we politely followed up with questions about the very same things (DADT, hate crimes) in emails. That's the other problematic situation - a perceived unwillingness to directly engage LGBT press or prospective constituents with even a cursory acknowledgment. That would have boosted my regard for her campaign regardless of whether I was happy with the answers.

--
Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend
www.pamshouseblend.com

--
Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend
www.pamshouseblend.com

Betsy, my response to the Pandagon post

Apologies, I had to get home to take care of the dogs in between responses.

Do we try to force candidates to take a stand on issues that could lose them the support of a large portion of North Carolina voters - including many Democrats, or do we work harder to move North Carolinians forward making it easier for those representing us at different levels of government to openly support equality for all?

On the former, the questions were not about taking a stand -- it's about a vote on specific legislation, not, for instance, a candidatre believes in equality or not. You can answer with a specific yes or no on each piece of legislation.

It's no different logistically speaking, than someone asking whether they would vote on a specific farm bill -- all that differs is the bill itself and the subject at hand. I hardly think people would care that a question from a dairy farmer of a milk price support bill would be expected to be kept in back channels, even if it proved to be unpopular with a large slice of North Carolinians.

The tenor of the thread on BlueNC suggested that people found the questioning itself to be incendiary, and I believe that at its root is the undealt with issue of LGBT issues being out of the closet -- the natural outcome of individuals coming out of the closet and becoming part of the vocal political process. It's obviously jarring and seen as intimidating to those unsure themselves as to how to navigate these waters if they see asking polite, well-framed questions as a radical subversive act to watch out for lest it hurt a pol. I may have read that incorrectly, but the similarity to prior discussions I've engaged in on the topic was quite stark.

--
Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend
www.pamshouseblend.com

--
Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend
www.pamshouseblend.com

Being a straight white guy

my credentials in this department are suspect, but let me weigh in nonetheless.

The tenor of the thread on BlueNC suggested that people found the questioning itself to be incendiary, and I believe that at its root is the undealt with issue of LGBT issues being out of the closet.

It's hard to be certain, but I'm quite sure that my reaction to the questioning had nothing to do with LGBT issues in the slightest. I would have had the same response if someone (me, for example) had used that particular post and thread to harshly criticize the candidate in any way. For example, I would have been unhappy if someone had written:

Senator Hagan. I have asked you about funding for mercenary armies five times over the past three months and not once have you responded. I have asked if you would support legislation to put Blackwater out of business and you dodged me every time. I want and answer and I want it now.

My take on the whole affair was similar to Betsy's. When a candidate of any party stops by and thanks us for being here only to have a bunch of people piss on her thank-you thread, well, it just doesn't seem right. It was all about tone and timing.

(I am speaking only for myself as the king of this blog. I am fully aware that comments by others may very well have been reflecting the very concerns you're expressing. And that is worrisome to me ... but it is a different issue than the one I'm tackling.)

In sum, I would rather have seen the hard questioning moved to another thread. Maybe I'm just an old man with a misplaced sense of propriety, but that's how I see it.

I hate what Kay Hagan stands for, I mean H-A-T-E.

But, I agree that I thought the rancor on that thread was STARTED about whether or not the questions should have been posted there. I'm not coming down on either side, I'm just saying....

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

That's where the questions belonged

The questions were appropriate. The fact that Hagan/Hagan's campaign just completely ignored the questions from the beginning made it even more appropriate that they be posted where they were most likely to be noted.

The fact Hagan and her campaign did not acknowledge the questions, which were thoughtful, polite, and IMPORTANT, and that these questions were coming from one of the most respected members of this blog, a true community activist who has demonstrated intelligence, guts, energy and committment, and who certainly deserved the RESPECT of a reply, however brief, made it even more appropriate that they be placed exactly where they were.

And the response here seems to be, essentially, "oh we're not upset about the subject matter, no, it's just WHERE you put the questions. We thought it was rude."

No wonder Linda got fed up and no wonder Pam looks like she's on her way to be being fed up too.

Rude.

That's correct. I thought it was rude and I still do.

I accept that you do

but it seemed to me that the concern had more to do with whether it was politically savvy to confront the candidate with those particular questions -- and that the question of "rudeness' was used to justify the stifling of Pam's original effort -- and Linda's, for the reposting.

I do respect the concern that you have for whether a candidate feels she or he is able to accept invitations to this blog, it seemed to me that the tenor and text of reaction, if this were really about *where* the comments were, was more than a little out of proportion to the possible harm done to Ms. Hagan's sensibilities.

But again, I don't think you or Betsy are lying, so I just have to chalk it up to over-reaction. Maybe the whole thing could have been avoided by a different choice of words in the original exchange -- and I don't mean by Pam. I've certainly chosen my own words poorly on multiple occasions, and noticed that you and Betsy have occasionally been subject to the same flaw.

Audiences, whether in a crowd at a rally or as blog participants, rarely enjoy seeing a speaker treated "rudely," but given the point of Ms. Hagan's being on the blog at all, which is to benefit her campaign, I think it is fair for bloggers to ask her polite questions when she "appears." The idea that this particular thread/room was "just not the place" as opposed to another thread/room is cyber-silly.

Again, I think it was Pam and Linda who were disrespected, not Kay Hagan.

Post script.

So then I read Jerimee's remarks, which takes us right back to it being about the questions themselves.

I don't remember anyone referring to Pam's original

posting of the questions as rude and I don't recall anyone ever trying to stifle her. Do you mind pointing that out to me? I really do try to read just about every comment. (I admit to comprehending far fewer than I read, however.....just being honest.) I simply don't recall. Was it on the thank you thread or another one?

I don't think anything that James or I said was overly dramatic. There is nothing disrespectful about asking folks to be gracious on one certain thread. I've read my comments once again and don't see anywhere that I was disrespectful. Not once. I didn't even address Pam. I made a request that we keep our posts gracious on one thread. James agreed. Do you think it was respectful of others to refuse to accommodate what was a very simple request and one made only for that particular thread? I do. I don't think that was asking too much. You can call our request silly, but it would have been nice to have this one request acknowledged in a more positive way.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

No surprise here

I've never seen you acknowledge being a jerk, Betsy, and don't expect to see it now.

Brunette,

On that thread I said nothing that had anything to do with being a jerk. Please don't turn this into something it is not.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

based on offline communication I've received

after the liveblog, the wisdom of asking the questions themselves is indeed an issue, for what it's worth. As in "don't put the candidate at electability risk for a cause" kind of feedback, you know "activism" vs. pragmatism (as if asking a candidate questions as I did is activism). Having the questions unfortunately materialize in the "thank you" thread provided that opening, which is why I wouldn't have posted them there, knowing the flame wars I've participated in on LGBT and race matters in the past.

--
Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend
www.pamshouseblend.com

--
Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend
www.pamshouseblend.com

Well, that's bull-puckey.

the wisdom of asking the questions themselves is indeed an issue, for what it's worth.

As I stated elsewhere (on the gun thread) I think that Republican fear-mongers use the God, Gays, and Guns trifecta to try and divide the country. However, we as a party have to accept some basic premises about these issues.

In the case of LGBT issues we're talking about basic human rights, which is not true of God and Guns. No matter how much they might feel impinged upon, no one is losing control of their basic human rights because of that debate.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

bull-puckey

I think what you're saying is that, on some issues, it doesn't matter whether you actually accomplish anything or not, you ought to do the right thing.

That is irresponsible. The more important the issue, the more important it is that you actually win.

You have a commitment to human rights. Your commitment isn't to talk about them, it isn't to represent them, it isn't to wear them on a t-shirt. It's to win and protect them. Humility and diligence are the virtues that will win us human rights.

*I edited my original comment. As yall can probably tell, I'm having a hard time saying what I'm trying to say.

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McCain - The Third Bush Term

I don't think it's irresponsible to do the right thing, and....

I can't imagine the conversation where I explain that idea to my kids.

With that, I'm out of this conversation. I should have stayed over in my little health care corner - see it, it's got nice comfy couches and drawing tables and a big cushy chair with bookshelves and an LED lamp.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Parent's dilemma

I can't imagine the conversation where I explain that idea to my kids.

I love this point, and have noticed the look of bewilderment on my Dad's eyes when he finds out that one of us did something insane, like confess to the cop that we were at fault in a fender-bender.

Here is the man who, along with our Mother, inspired his four children with zeal for liberal causes, for honesty, for integrity and square dealing, but he said "WHAT????" when my little bro' explained that he had stayed at the scene of some damage he did to a tree late, late, late one night in Chapel Hill.

The kid could have driven off unnoticed, but the boy was bound by his upbringing to do the "right" thing. I suspect that in that particular situation, Dad might have been thinking it was "irresonsible" to have done potential damage to his insurance policy.

also the online communication you've received

From what I saw the place where there was the most consensus that you don't put your bad foot forward was Pam's House Blend.

I should admit, however, that I don't actually know the numbers on this. All I know is some polling factoids (and I'm using the term "know" loosely). Here's one indicator though: the Defend My Marriage amendments get passed whenever they get put on the ballot for a popular vote.

A) Would your advocacy strategy be the same regardless of the numbers? It seems annoyingly obvious that the political climate in which a campaign is waged ought to affect how you go about winning it.

B) What can you share with us on how voters respond to these issues?

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McCain - The Third Bush Term

Sorry, I'm not making the distinction between

a stand on issues and voting on specific legislation. I guess in my mind if you're voting on specific legislation, then you are most certainly taking a stand on an issue. I apologize for generalizing. It does muddy the waters. Just to be clear, though, I don't think asking questions on hypotheticals is a bad thing.

So, I'll rephrase that question:

Do we try to force candidates to answer how they will vote on specific legislation when answering a certain way could lose them the support of a large portion of North Carolina voters - including many Democrats, or do we work harder to move North Carolinians forward making it easier for those representing us at different levels of government to openly support equality for all?

This was a sincere question. I didn't ask it as a hypothetical. I think it is a valuable discussion to have. There is other legislation and there are other issues we need to discuss that might pose difficulties for a Democrat running in certain parts of the state. How do we promote a dialogue with a candidate on these difficult issues or on potentially controversial legislation without damaging their ability to get elected in North Carolina?

I don't recall anyone saying or even coming close to equating polite well-framed questions as being a radical, subversive act. I'll go back and read the thread, because I certainly missed that one.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Polite, well-framed questions

I don't recall anyone saying or even coming close to equating polite well-framed questions as being a radical, subversive act.

In George W. Bush's America, sometimes it is.

Republicans pat themselves on the back for being so generous as to "let" people like Harry Taylor rebuke the President in a calm tone of voice.

Apparently, political speech by citizens, even by solidly middle-class white males, is now a privilege, not a right. The Head of State may, at his option, extend to you a limited license to speak. Be careful how you use it.

From what little I know of her, I don't understand Kay Hagan to be in any way responsible for this environment, in which ordinary citizens must fear for their freedom for daring to challenge their elected representatives—but I can't blame anyone for internalizing the corrosive, oppressive atmosphere that has developed over the past several years.

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relocating from Indianapolis, IN to RTP, NC soon; got any advice for me?

I wouldn't recommend drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me. -- Hunter S. Thompson

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Garner, NC

I wouldn't recommend drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me. -- Hunter S. Thompson