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INDEXES: The Texas Observer is indexed in Access: The Supplementary Index ro Periodicals: Texas Index and, for the years 1954 through 198 Ube Texas Obserrer Index. copyrighted. 1992. is published biweekly except for a three-week interval 477-0746. Second-class postage paid at Austin, Texas. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to THE TEXAS OBSERVER, 307 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. A Member of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies democratic dissent I read with great interest your issue on “Remaking The Democrats” believe I am a little more optimistic about the prospects of reviving the Democratic Party. I believe that Bill Clinton just may be the man who can lead the way. If he lacks the charisma of a John Kennedy or the political savvy of a Lyndon Johnson or the personal integrity of a Jimmy Carter, still he is the man we have, and I think he’ll do. I certainly hope he will be successful. My interest in doing so is that I am a life long Democrat \(except for a very brief period in the early sixties that I joined the UT Young Republicans under the notion at the time that democracy could function better in a two-party state. I consider my brief sojourn among the ‘publicans’ as one of have been a card-carrying Liberal and eager and willing to defend that position whenever called on to do so. As that label has become unfashionable, I have tried to style myself a “progressive” democrat, but am a little uncomfortable with some positions taken by others who currently use that title. The article by Dave Denison and the column by Allan Freedman articulated several positions that I hope Bill Clinton will alter sufficiently to make the Democratic party the party of the people once again. Let me outline three. the sixties \(attributed to a woman cab driver if men became pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament. Adoption of a so-called “prochoice” platform and the unseemingly vigorous applause which greeted all the references to a pro-abortion stand at the Democratic convention lead me to believe that many of my party have made abortion the secular equivalent of a sacrament, something which will bring them life and health now and forever. I was thrilled to see the “End abortion now” signs in the Minnesota delegation as they cast their nomination votes. Many democrats, loyal, lifelong, Yellow Dog Democrats like myself, simply believe that on this issue the party is wrong, simply dead wrong. Now mind you, there is no need to make abortion criminal behavior, and there are certainly some times when an abortion is a therapeutic necessity, and can be considered the lesser of evils, but abortion is never, under any circumstances, a positive good. It is always the taking of a human life, and when necessary, it should be done with reluctance and sorrow. The tacky cheers which some gave to abortion advocates made it seem like an instrument of social progress and its availability a sign of happy days come round again. Most people do not believe that. A democratic party can never win majority status by con sidering human death and the tragedy involved an occasion for raucous celebration. The second position is related. Mr. Denison spoke of those who favor “liberty from government intrusions but benefits from governmental activism.” Someone during the convention spoke or getting the government out of our bedrooms. I imagine this to be code language for an actively pro-gay stance for the democratic party. Once again there is no need for making an otherwise harmless behavior a criminal activity, and there is a case to be made for including sexual orientation in the list of civil rights groupings to be protected from undue harrassment. The issue however goes deeper, especially in these somber days of AIDS and other STD’s. We must uunderstand how freedom and responsibility are related. It cannot be stated strongly enough that AIDS is not a disease of homosexuality, AIDS is a disease of promiscuity. \(The freedom-responsibility paradigm is the connection to abortion as well.Were men and women sexually responsible, there would be time when we must always balance the value of personal individual freedom, with social and community values. It is all well and good for a person to say that she is a free individual and will sleep with whomever she wishes, but since she has contracted AIDS she has become indigent so society must pay for her medical care as long as she lives. Liberals and progressives have always urged compassionate treatment for the poor and sick the limits of compassion are strained when illness is 100 percent preventable but the individuals choose to engage in pathological behavior anyway. Some years ago, we made it mandatory for motorcycle riders to wear helmets, in part because the cost of treating closed head wounds from so many accidents was a heavy burden for the rest of society. What recourse do we have as a society for people who would engage in dangerous and destructive sexual behavior? As a loyal democrat, what I’d like to see is a people united in compassion for the sick and poor, but equally united in urging healthy, sensible lifestyles for all its citizens. Something like a pro-monogamous position \(for all men and women, regardless of sexual the very least, the party should not shout out the value of personal freedom without stressing also the cost of personal responsibility. Third, religion. It seems to be that Mr. Freedman betrayed his ideological bias in his clever little column “Almost Elvis.” He compared the democratic convention to a revival meeting, a reunion of the faithful. This is an appropriate metaphor, as far as it goes, but I thought I saw in it what has become a kneejerk rejection of organized religion that has Continued on pg. 5 DIALOGUE 2 AUGUST 21, 1992