Saturday, June 11, 2005

Ben Nelson Pushing His Luck

by Kyle Michaelis
Today's Omaha World-Herald had some very troubling news about Sen. Ben Nelson, as he seems poised to run for re-election on an agenda that would pervert the once-sacred U.S. Constitution to forever reflect the biases and social passions of today. Read for yourself:
Prompted by a federal judge's ruling striking down Nebraska's gay marriage ban, Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., said Friday he now supports a national constitutional amendment barring same-sex unions...

Nelson previously said that states should regulate marriage and that he might support a federal constitutional amendment if an "activist judge" overturned a state law.

"Well, that's happened," the Democrat said. "At this point I will support a federal amendment to protect marriage. My position has been triggered by an event."

This change of "heart" (which breaks many) comes in the wake of District Court judge Joseph Battalion's May 13th decision tossing out Nebraska's ban on homosexual unions for its potential encroachment on civil liberties far outside the realm of marriage.

That Nelson would find this ruling, based upon the law's excesses of scope rather than the principles on which it is founded, objectionable demonstrates a hostility towards the rights of gay citizens that I had previously mistaken for simple lack of concern. Nelson could have acknowledged Battalion's constitutional concerns and called for a more even-keeled amendment but has instead taken this short-sighted approach that panders to the far right-wing.

This news is more than troubling - it is downright sickening. While I can accept with suspicion the defining of marriage as between a man and a woman, this article suggests Nelson is calling for something far more extreme and, dare I say, sinister. There is a world of difference between preserving marriage as a relation between man & woman as opposed to "barring same-sex unions" completely (as the OWH wrote).

If this latter is not what Nelson is calling for, and he asks only for a general defining of marriage, the World-Herald has made a terrible error in reporting, not recognizing the delicacy of this very complex issue. However, if such is not the case and Nelson truly is targeting civil unions and partnership benefits for gay couples, then the mistake is all his own. The American people are too great and the American idea is too powerful to ever again succumb to such hateful policy.

I truly hope this report is wrong - that the culprit here is actually poor words being chosen to describe Nelson's positon. That I even have to question, though, whether Nelson would go to this shocking extreme demonstrates a lack of confidence in his basic humanity and leadership on my part that I had not previously realized. I should be able to read a report like this and know that ISN'T my senator...that ISN'T the man I voted for. Today, as much as I want to, I can't confidently say anything of the sort.

What does this mean? I don't know - I have been a fairly vocal defender of Nelson in the past and don't consider myself particularly susceptible to hot button hysterics. A candidate is always more than his or her position on any one issue. But this....this is not the action of a Democrat, at least not since the days when George Wallace made mockery of the label. Nelson's alleged position here is so devoid of compassion and understanding that I could not TODAY vote for him in good conscience.

Something needs to be done. I am not alone in being appalled when I read an article like this (where Chuck Hagel is the voice of reason). In a perfect world, I'd call on a Democrat of vision to run against Nelson in the primary, that the party might have a choice in its standard-bearer. But, in our desperate condition with so little to build from, that just isn't really an option. There are so many other fights that need fighting - for the good of the people - that I fear we just can't afford an honest battle over the very soul of our party. Not today. Not yet.

But be assured, one day soon, there will be a reckoning. We can do so much better than this, and we will.


Anonymous tls said...

So he finally became what we all suspected was possible: Nelson is really a Republican. This is no compromising, moderate line of thinking; this is vindictive bigotry. I have forever changed my mind on Senator E. Ben. I hope he knows there's one less campaign volunteer and one less voter for him out there.

Blogger Cornhead said...

So, Senator Nelson has resorted to discriminatory, hateful legislation in an attempt to appease the right-wing, Christian majority in Nebraska?

Sad but true: The alternative to Senator Ben Nelson, right now Don Stenberg (or any other Republican that dreadful Party might support), will be worse by leaps and bounds on all other legislation. We must not lose this seat to a Republican.

*sigh* To alter our sacred U.S. Constitution with this garbage is destructive and dangerous. Basic human rights are being violated and wiped out by Big Brother.

Careful what you do in your bedroom.........careful who you love........careful who you choose to spend your life with.........BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING.....

yuck and shame on Nelson

Blogger Abe said...

I agree this kind of thing doesn't belong in the US constitution or the Nebraska constitution. The problem is judges "enacting" laws that are contrary to the wishes/views of a large majority of citizens.

Constitutional amendments are a bad way to fix the problem. Appointing judges who will not stick to the law is the right way.


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