Friday, June 30, 2006

Have I Become One of the Pod People?

One of this blog's regular readers put the obvious question to me in an interesting science fiction format: Why am I suddenly writing blog entries that advocate voting for Michael Arcuri? Have I become the victim of one of those mind-control pods featured in Invasion of the Body Snatchers?

The quick and easy answer: No.

Many people regard politics as something that candidates do, and that the only role that the rest of us have to play is to either support or oppose a particular candidate. These people have tried to pigeonhole this blog as a blog written for the sake of one specific campaign, but it's not like that. My interest in politics is for the sake of ideas, not politicians. When I write about politicians, I'm only doing so to the extent that those politicians promote or oppose the ideals that I care about. I'm writing about this campaign because it's an important battle over political ideals. I'm not part of any campaign, and don't want to be.

So, this blog is not pro-Arcuri. It's also not anti-Arcuri. It's pro-progressive.

It drives those Oneida County Democrats crazy when I say this, but Michael Arcuri often fails to promote progressive ideals, and sometimes opposes them. Arcuri's supporters want us all to believe that just by registering as a Democrat, Michael Arcui became a progressive. Only a simpleton would go along with that reasoning. Arcuri needs to work a lot harder earn the support of progressive Democrats.

However, there is another side of the story. There are some things that Michael Arcuri has done that are in accordance with progressive values. Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be writing about those things. There are also many things that Ray Meier, Arcuri's Republican opponent, has done to attack progressive ideals. I'll be writing about those too.

This does not mean that I've joined the crowd of unthinking Arcuri cheerleaders. Expect to see a lot of criticism of Arcuri between now and Election Day. However, over the last month or so, I think I've made it very plain why I think Mike Arcuri is a poor Democratic candidate. I'd have to be an imbecile to believe that Arcuri has no redeeming qualities, and it's now time for me to pay attention to those for awhile.

Politics is not simple these days, and I refuse to be a one-note simpleton. I'm nobody's pod person.

This brings me to reason number 3 to vote for Michael Arcuri. Arcuri has actually spoken out in opposition to the torture being committed by the Bush Administration in the name of the USA. Arcuri's position on torture is simple and strong: It's never the right thing to do.

Ray Meier has refused to take such a position. That's a gutless and amoral evasion of responsibility. As a member of the pro-torture Republican Party, Ray Meier has the duty to separate himself from the Bush Administration policies of torture. Instead, Meier is embracing Dick Cheney, who has been a strong advocate of torture.

That's an aberration from the American progressive tradition of respect for human rights and the rule of law. Torture is a disgusting practice, and anybody who fails to stand against it should be ashamed of themselves. Arcuri wins on this issue hands down.


Curious said...

I appreciate your doing this; it's more than Arcuri's website or Oneida's hapless blogs are doing. It would be useful if you'd cross-reference citations to Arcuri's positions; for example, this one on torture. I have not seen this information anywhere else. Thanks.

24 Independent said...

Thanks, Curious (though of course, Bob Hyde will probably continue to insist that you and I are the same person).

I'll do my best on the citations, though I don't have all my materials here in Michigan.

For torture, I can give the reference easily. I was present at a talk given by Michael Arcuri in Lansing before the official declaration of his campaign. He gave a categorical reject of torture then.

It would be helpful if Arcuri could give another strong statement like the one I heard then as an official part of his campaign - perhaps on his web site? Oh, I know... Arcuri and web site mix like oil and water.