Monday, June 13, 2005


Howard Dean and "Moral Values"

For some reason, when Howard Dean talks religion -- or even morality -- it falls somewhat short of having the ring of truth to it. Sunday's Washington Post ("Dean Urges Appeal to Moral Values") reports Dean, chair of the Democratic National Committee who during the presidential primaries famously misplaced the book of Job into the New Testament, as saying, "The truth is, we're Democrats because of our moral values. It's a moral value to make sure that kids don't go to bed hungry at night. . . . It is a moral value not to go out on golf trips paid for by lobbyists."

His first point is undeniably true: Poverty -- especially, in some ways, the poverty of children -- is clearly a moral value, and it ought to be talked about in moral terms. It's on the second point that things get a bit muddier. Dean uses the "moral values" discussion to take a potshot at Tom Delay and his bought-and-paid-for golf trips. It's hard not to read that statement for the partisan attack that it is -- regardless of whether he's right about those "golf trips" being moral issues.

The Post plays Dean's "appeal to moral values" with the usual cynicism (the article's subhead: "DNC Chairman Calls for Democrats to Adopt GOP's Language to Woo Voters"). And it's probably true that Dean's main motive is indeed to "woo voters." But recognizing that poverty is a moral issue -- as is race, war, the environment, and other social questions -- is more than just a political ploy. Frankly, it's the logical consequence of applying the age-old values of scripture to the issues of our day. That's the kind of moral values that we need to hear more about in the days ahead.

looks like these guys followed your advice
"But recognizing that poverty is a moral issue -- as is race, war, the environment, and other social questions -- is more than just a political ploy"

Absolutely. 'Moral values' as a political issue is a red herring. Everyone, Right or Left or in between, is concerned with issues that bear on morality. Playing 'holier than thou' politics only gets in the way of dealing with these real issues.
The moral value debate is very poignant to the political landscape of today. George W. Bush says he believes in a free Iraq, and is appalled by what was going on in Iraq, but he has completely side-stepped Sudan because the U.S. has no interests at stake in the region. This is a moral decision! On the other hand I hear John Kerry during the election say that he believes abortion to be wrong, but he cannot enforce his morality on others. Kerry further supports many socialist plans to feed and educate the underpriveleged. This is fine, but is he not forcing his morality on the American tax-payer! We elect our leaders to make moral decisions based on moral values. When we understand that, hopefully we can all place political allegiances aside to arrive at answers to some tough questions. It is my belief that we must strive to be people of principle, not simply people of issues. For an understanding of this try looking at the American revolution and the French Revolution. Then seek to understand which was based on values, and which was based on the issues of the day.
I heard Dean make this statement. My question to you is since when is honesty not a moral issue? Dean may use rather blunt language, but shouldn't Tom DeLay, given all his associations with questionable characters and money raising tactics be investigated? I believe honesty is, indeed, a moral issue.

To the blog of Jeremy, I say that John Kerry's support of "Socialist" issues is to some of us who are moral and Christian, more of a moral, rather than a Socialist mandate; i.e., feeding the poor and taking care of those less fortunate.
Regarding the "morality" of Tom DeLay: Yes, no question, honesty is a moral value. And of course the DeLay affair(s) involve lots of other moral issues. I was just saying that the way Dean threw it in felt like more of a partisan shot than, say, talking about the poverty of children. But your point's well taken.
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