Monday, October 01, 2007

Kennedy On New Day For Local GOP

Sheila Kennedy called herself a Republican for 35 because "Republicans were the 'live and let live' party she says. She says she left the party several years back "with many others after it was hijacked by moral scolds" and became obsessed with "imposing religion and making life miserable for gays and lesbians." But now she is starting to see something a little different--at least at the local level. "Is the tide beginning to turn?" she asks in a column in today's Star. She then goes on to describe the changes she's been seeing:

On the local level, however, there is an unmistakable -- and welcome -- change in the air. It began with Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi, who expanded his office's nondiscrimination policy to include discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and extended to Gov. Mitch Daniels, who has pointedly avoided anti-gay rhetoric. Indianapolis City-County Council member Scott Keller has championed equal rights for gays and lesbians.

At a recent fundraising dinner for Lambda Legal, a gay civil rights group, Republicans were well represented; among the 500 plus guests, I saw the GOP's county chairman, its candidate for mayor, a couple of ward chairs, and a number of others who have not previously attended.

And when Indiana Equality sent a questionnaire to all candidates in the upcoming election for City-County Council, the responses from a number of Republican candidates were a pleasant surprise.

One Republican respondent wrote, "The role of government is not to promote distinctions; rather, to recognize the challenges facing each community and adopt a course of action that ensures that the civil liberties and personal freedoms of each are protected . . . understanding works to eliminate prejudice driven by fear and ignorance. When you eliminate prejudice, you eliminate a threat and the community is safer."

Another said, "I respect everyone's right to live without prejudice or discrimination, whatever their race, beliefs or sexual orientation. I live my life that way and my wife and I raise our children that way."

And in a response that hearkened back to the "old" GOP, one candidate wrote "(My district) is a diverse mix of people -- straight/gay, rich/poor, black/white and every shade in between -- but we all have one thing in common. All of us are finding it more difficult to provide for our families. And I mean family in the broadest sense of the word -- however you choose to define it. I have no private or political agenda to further. I just want local government to get back to the basics."

I couldn't agree more.

A number of local Republicans were highly critical of Kennedy after she left the party. She had, after all, been the beneficiary of several jobs and appointments by Republican administrations. Others, like Chris Douglas and myself, would have preferred she remained within the party and fight out those differences rather than throwing in the towel to the religious right. It is refreshing that she now acknowledges the difference those who stayed behind to fight are now making in returning the party back to its roots as the party of Lincoln.


Anonymous said...

Each party has its share of wingnuts and heroes.

Brizzi's and Daniels's refreshing GLBT attitudes are welcome. Most of the rest of their ridiculous policies are not.

In the truncated manner of measuring political progress today, I guess we have to call this a limited success.

As I age, I find myself less willing to tolerate third-steps or quarter-steps. There is no earthly reason all the candidates for CCC couldn't have answered the IE questionaire, for instance. And there's no reason we can't have a compelte smoking ban. I could go on, but...

We're told to settle for less. I'm not sure that's setting a good example for the younger GLBT crowd. I'd like to hear their views on "settling." It'd be instructive to me.

Steve said...

There is a large and growing number of people who believe in limited government - specifically laissez-faire capitalism and individual liberty. That large and growing voting block is looking for a home. If the Republicans get their act together they could win the block away from the Libertarians.

Wilson46201 said...

Four years ago Log Cabin Republicans and others were swooning over the 100% LGBT-friendly answers GOP council candidate Ike Randolph gave on that questionnaire.

Better than any Democrat!!!

A new day!



Once he got narrowly elected to the Council, Randolph twice voted against the H.R.O. along with most of the other Republicans.

Oh well...

Anonymous said...

Wilson, you cant forget about Democrats Sherron Franklin, Mary M. Adams and for some unexplainable reason, Ron Gibson....they all voted against HRO.....they managed to keep Gibson sober long enough to vote on the second time around.

Anonymous said...

Not all Republicans agree with Ms. Suess, nor do all Democrats.