This was submitted to (and appeared in) my local paper a few months ago. Since it has some bearing on current debates...I figured I’d stick it up here.
Shame on Marv Kaplan for so blatantly mischaracterizing my previous letter to the editor.
Mr. Kaplan says that I discourage people from talking to him. In a rhetoric class, this is the technique of restating your opponent’s argument in the strongest possible terms. Mr. Kaplan’s purpose is to make me seem extreme and unreasonable. What I actually wrote suggests that we on the right not allow Mr. Kaplan and others to define the terms of the debate.
Mr. Kaplan’s June 22nd letter to the editor is another case in point. In it, Mr. Kaplan rails against bigotry, hatred, and divisiveness; arguments that may seem familiar to those who watched the Measure 36 debate. That’s because they are the same arguments - it’s the same issue. SB 1073 (and HR 1000) is simply gay marriage by another name. For the record, Measure 36 passed, in liberal Oregon, by a strong majority that did not follow party lines, but instead cut across all demographics. These new bills before the legislature are cynical attempts to circumvent the clear wishes of Oregonian voters.
Instead of saying that Oregon voters were wrong and it’s the legislature’s job to intervene, protecting homosexuals from the ignorant and misinformed, Mr. Kaplan prefers to make us feel guilty for our beliefs. Instead of acknowledging and honestly supporting the discarding of Measure 36, he prefers to call us bigots and haters. Mr. Kaplan even goes so far as to liken those of us who voted for Measure 36 to Nazis. (Marv - haven’t you learned that comparing fellow Americans to Nazis is NEVER a good strategy?)
Instead of Mr. Kaplan’s vision of the discussion, here are the terms I am willing to debate: Is it appropriate for the legislature to openly work around Measure 36 when its language is so unambiguous and the majority vote was so strong? Should our local representatives, all of whom oppose these bills, be chastised as “unbalanced” when their views clearly reflect the majority opinion of the people they represent?
For the sake of fairness, allow me to point out a similar matter in which my side lost. I do not support physician-assisted suicide, but the initiative passed fair and square, following due process. Despite my deep disagreement with this law, I think it is totally inappropriate for the Justice Department to interfere and I’ve written to the President to say as much.
Mr. Kaplan, let us agree on this - like it or not Measure 36 is the law of the land. There are more honest, more legal, and more honorable ways to go about changing that law – win the support of the majority of voters. Don’t allow your admirable passion to sully your trust in democracy.