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Mitch Daniels' truce: The two camps are not equal (in more ways than one)

by Jeremy Hooper

Mitch-DanielsIndiana governor Mitch Daniels (R) continues to talk about why he thinks we need a "truce" on social issues -- a call that would be nothing but welcome from this site, if not for the one whopping false equivalency within.

This from a recent edition of Laura Ingraham's radio show:

INGRAHAM: For someone who's so pro-life -- and you get such great marks on the pro-life side of the ledger -- why a truce on social issues, given how that's the core of so much of what conservatism has been about since Ronald Reagan?

DANIELS: Yeah, Laura, I said this some time ago. It's still my point of view, and thank you for noticing. You know, ours has been without question the most pro-life administration in our state's history. We haven't just talked about it, we have advanced the right-to-life.

..... my outlook on these questions is the same as some of those who have questioned what I said. I guess two things.

One is that, first, those remarks were directed as much to the aggressors on the other side of these questions -- for instance, the proponents of gay marriage -- as much directed to them as anybody with whom I'm in agreement.

INGRAHAM: Do you think they've called a truce on these issues, governor?

DANIELS: No, obviously not. I said I was thinking of them as much as my own allies when I said it.

*SOURCE: The Hill's GOP 12 blog

So the Governor claims that same-sex marriage proponents (for one) bear the same "truce" burden as anti-LGBT activists? Hmm. Right. Okay. Well let's look no further than Iowa, a state that Daniels is certainly eyeing as he gears up for a possible presidential run. That state has marriage equality on the state level, thanks to a fair, unanimous ruling from the state's independent high court. Same-sex marriages have been happening in the state for almost two years now, with no negative incident on record.

Yet what did we see happen just yesterday in the Hawkeye State? Yes, that's right: The Republicans forced lawmakers to pause all progress on any other issue of importance so that the legislature could instead debate that crucial matter of -- stripping gay taxpayers of their civil equality. And then the Republicans voted unanimously as a caucus to move that legislation forward, a process that threatens to tie up the state's politics for at least two years before it culminates in what would surely be a highly divisive, very costly referendum battle. This after the past year's war on the Supreme Court justices themselves -- a war that continues with local Republicans' repeated calls for impeachment.

And of course that's just one state and one issue. On the federal level, we can look at Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal, a measure that has huge public support and passed in a bipartisan vote. Yet conservatives in the 112th Congress are vowing to halt/roll back this, a step forward that would do nothing more than allow citizens to fight and possibly die for their nation without the extra burden of having to hide their sexual orientations.

Or we can even move beyond politics and look at things like the "ex-gay" movement. This, the movement that conservatives frequently use to justify "love the sinner, hate the sin" motivations, doesn't have even a slight degree of support from even one credible body of science. Yet here in 2011, we still have state policy groups who are using this "research" to justify their work on these so-called social issues.

How can we on the pro-equality side issue a "truce" when we never declared any of these "culture wars"?! Look, we would love nothing more -- NOTHING MORE -- to get our deserved rights and eliminate contrived/offensive/dangerous/limiting/unconstitutional biases so that we could move on to dedicating our full brains to ACTUAL issues. But whereas a "truce" call, when applied to our opposition, does in fact involve an agreement to stop fighting against someone and something, for us a "truce" call means agreeing to accept a lesser-than status. A lesser-than status that only still exists here in 2011 America because our opposition has spent decades working to muddy rather than to elucidate. To spin rather than find stillness. To limit rather than embrace. To "war" rather than build peace.

A respite sounds great. We start by accurately pinpointing the fight.

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