Monday, January 26, 2009

Minnesota - A Pro Life Example

I spent about ten years in elected and appointed political office in New Jersey. I was a Councilman in a small country municipality. The majority of the citizens there considered themselves Republican yet elected several Democrats to office. My Federal congressional district was served by a pro abortion Republican who is still in office 20 years later. In the last few elections before moving to Minnesota neither party offered pro-life candidate in my district. However, in the last Congress (110th) the New Jersey delegation was almost totally polarized by party on on the abortion issue.

In the early 90s I dropped out of the Democratic Party in face of the deliberate exclusion of the traditional liberals from participation in the National Democratic Convention. These "shunned" liberals (as I labeled us in yesterday's post) have been deliberately alienated, a fact extensively documented in academic and investigative publications over the last two years. This exclusion came to a head and was symbolized by the removal of Pennsylvania's Governor Casey from the list of speakers for the convention. He had just too many liberal positions to be tolerate by the conservatives in control of the party, then lead by Bill Clinton. Among his(Casey's)liberal positions were pro-labor and pro-human rights, including pro-life and was openly religious.

On moving back to Minnesota, where I had first gotten involved in politics, I was pleased to find strong human rights supporters in both the Republican and Democratic (DFL) party. In the 110th congress Minnesota's delegation was 50% pro-life with 40% of Democrats and 66% of Republicans voting strongly pro-life. In the senate it was 50/50 along party lines. 50% of my new state's federal legislators were pro-life! The frosting on the cake is that my congressional district is served by a pro-life Democrat.

I have been making the case that the current major parties no longer reflect the traditional liberal-conservative model. The situation in Minnesota seems to confirm the resulting fragmentation of human rights supporters . The liberals were progressively alienated by the Democratic leadership in the seventies and eighties. Some of them moved, attracted by the former labor union president and pro-life Ronald Reagan, to the Republican roster were they are, at best, tolerated. Perhaps another half of the shunned liberals moved to the left of the Democratic establishment where we largely continue in "shunned" status.

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