Not Your Father’s Democratic Party

Yesterday I got an email from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee:

From: Democrats 2014
Date: February 7, 2014 at 6:54:28 PM CST
Subject: Sochi (SIGN ON)

John — 

What should be a celebration of humanity is being marred by ugly discrimination.

Today is the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Olympics in Russia. The Olympics are all about inclusion, unity, pride, and the power of the human spirit. But Russian leaders are dragging that tradition through the mud with hateful new laws that outlaw support for LGBT equality.

This is a dangerous time for the LGBT community in Russia and all who support them around the world. Make no mistake, many are risking life and limb to stand up for what they believe. So, let’s send them a message: WE ARE STANDING WITH YOU!

ADD YOUR NAME: Click here to denounce Russia’s inhumane anti-LGBT laws >>

This kind of discrimination has no place in the Olympics. In fact, the Olympic Charter couldn’t make that more clear:

”The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.”

John, stand up for the Olympic spirit. Fight Russia’s anti-LGBT laws!

Thank you for standing with us.

Democratic Headquarters

Two things about this communication stand out. First, if you follow the link, it goes to a page where you can contribute to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. No surprise there. But how does donating to the Democratic Party’s 2014 campaign coffers “fight Russia’s anti-LGBT laws?” How does giving money to Democratic candidates show Russian gays that “WE ARE STANDING WITH YOU?”
It’s not as though the Obama administration, or Democrats in Congress, were doing anything to better the condition of Russian homosexuals. This strikes me as an unusually cynical fundraising appeal, even for the DCCC.

Second, it tells us a lot about today’s Democratic Party. Russia is not—never has been—a free country. Freedom House ranks Russia “Not Free,” and gives it failing grades in both civil liberties and political rights. All Russians, not just homosexuals, suffer under Vladimir Putin’s semi-autocratic regime.

Here are a few instances, from the Freedom House report:

At least 19 journalists have been killed since Putin came to power, including three in 2009, and in no cases have the organizers of the murders been prosecuted.

At one time, murdering journalists would have been taken seriously by Democrats.

The arrest and prosecution of scientists and researchers on charges of treason, usually for discussing sensitive technology with foreigners, has effectively restricted international contacts in recent years.

Aren’t the Democrats still claiming to be “pro-science”?

And I’m old enough to remember when Democrats cared about labor unions (as opposed to caring about cashing their checks):

While trade union rights are legally protected, they are limited in practice. Strikes and worker protests have occurred in prominent industries, such as automobile manufacturing, but antiunion discrimination and reprisals for strikes are not uncommon, and employers often ignore collective-bargaining rights. The largest labor federation works in close cooperation with the Kremlin.

We could go on, but you get the point. All Russians’ rights are curtailed, and groups like journalists and labor unions are especially targeted. Yet, to raise money from its base, the Democrats focus exclusively on repression of homosexuals. I don’t doubt that they were right to do so; the DCCC knows its base, and believes that today’s Democrats care a lot more about gay rights than about free speech, honest elections and labor unions. Which is to say, not for the first time, that this isn’t your father’s Democratic Party.

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