For those of you not “in the know” so to speak, the title of this post harkens back to comments made over a week ago by Paul Hackett, Senate Candidate for Ohio. Like Paul, I also made a committment to comment on the little dustup his comments created. I said I’d do a post on it, and I meant it.
Paul Hackett is becoming a force to be reckoned with in Ohio politics. He is a no-nonsense kind of guy who doesn’t apologize for things he says because he is very thoughtful about what he says and when he says it. To pu it another way, he thinks before speaking, which is something our current crop of elected leaders could do well to learn. Personally, I am sick and tired of the old back and forth that goes on amongst my own Democratic Party. For example, Senator A will make a comment about Congress for Democrats being like living on a plantation. Far be it for the talking heads to report on the meaning of what the aforementioned Senator said, they proceed to lambast said Senator ad infinitum because she made a comment “which could be taken the wrong way”. Senator A then proceeds to have to clarify her remarks on the subject and thus is now on the defensive as Democrats so often are these days.
Paul Hackett is not one of those kind of Democrats. Not. One. Little. Bit. He is a man who served in the United States Marine Corps, both on active duty and in the reserve component. Like most Marines, his language can be pretty salty at times, yet in the arena of politics, his words are always carefully calculated to “put lead on target”.
His most recent comments surround the debate around gay rights. He said this:
With succinct coherence, Hackett said: “I’m pro-choice, I’m pro-gay-rights, I’m pro-gun-rights. Call me nuts, but I think they’re all based on the same principle and that is we don’t need government dictating to us how we live our private lives.”
When asked to elaborate on being pro-gay rights, he had this to say:
Asked to define being pro-gay-rights, Hackett said anybody who tries to deny homosexuals the same rights, including marriage, as every other citizen is un-American. Are you saying, he was asked, that the 62 percent of Ohioans who voted in November 2004 to constitutionally deny same-sex marriages are un-American?
“If what they believe is that we’re going to have a scale on judging which Americans have equal rights, yeah, that’s un-American. They’ve got to accept that. It’s absolutely un-American.”
Now that is the way to frame this debate. It’s not about cheapening heterosexual or “traditional” marriage. It’s about rights. That’s all that it is, was, and ever will be about no matter how hard the James Dobson’s, Pat Robertson’s, or Fred Phelps’ yell, scream, or protest about it. Hackett goes even further when discussing the GOP candidate, Mike DeWine:
Hackett called DeWine a “professional politician” who “is all over the map on issues,” and who’s afraid to stand up to the “radical religious fundamentalists” controlling the GOP. At that point, Hackett’s candor went on steroids.
“The Republican Party has been hijacked by the religious fanatics that, in my opinion, aren’t a whole lot different than Osama bin Laden and a lot of the other religious nuts around the world,” he said. “The challenge is for the rest of us moderate Americans and citizens of the world to put down the fork and spoon, turn off the TV, and participate in the process and try to push back on these radical nuts – and they are nuts.”
Hackett is saying what a lot of people across the country believe whole-heartedly. I’ve heard from professed Republicans who admit that they don’t like the path today’s Republican Party is taking them down. As expected though, the GOP is trying like mad to spin his comments to their favor:
Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett said Hackett should apologize, saying his comments applied to any “people of faith” and, therefore, most Ohioans.
“These intolerant views have no place in the public debate, and I hope his fellow Democrats reject this divisive hate speech,” Bennett said, while calling on Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern to condemn the remarks.
What it all boils down to for Democrats is HOW WE FRAME THE DEBATE!!! For too long we have let ourselves be defined by our opposition. Paul Hackett is one of the few, literally and figuratively, who defines himself. He is a man of strong character, strong faith, and of strong belief that our country can do better. I highly suggest all of you check out his site Hackett For Ohio. Sign up saying you stand behind him as he fights to turn the Democratic Party around by hopefully winning the primary and taking on Mike DeWine.