"We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country.
The -- the reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than they are for those plagued by gang violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals.
I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in a hospital and to live lives free of discrimination.
You know, passions may fly on immigration, but I don't know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers.
But this, too, is part of America's promise, the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort."
Obama’s comment seemed to fit the narrative that was emerging in the 2008 presidential campaign. The narrative was that because Obama and Jon McCain are both loathe to bring up wedge issues such as abortion, gay marriage and other so called “family values” issues, we can actually have a presidential debate based on real issues like the economy, healthcare, national security, energy independence, etc. Everything seemed to follow the narrative and just a few weeks ago, Rick Warren the moderate pastor of Saddleback Church in California hosted a forum with both candidates. No one expected Obama and McCain to agree on the tough issues such as where life begins or not, but we all agreed the tone had changed, we could agree to disagree in a civil manner.
Then something happened. After Obama made what wall acknowledged as a great speech last Thursday night, McCain made his VP choice which everyone admits was a surprise pick. Sarah Palin appeals to the base of the Republican party that McCain has until now had problems wooing. It is her beliefs on social issues such as abortion, gay marriage and abstinence only programs that has endeared her to the Republican base. The Republican base has been resuscitated and along with that the return of wedge issues. It doesn’t matter whether Barack Obama or John McCain wins the presidency, America will remain divided for a long time to come.
John McCain may have solidified the Republican base with the Palin pick, he could even win the White House with this pick, but by choosing Sarah Palin and brining back all the social wedge issues that have divided America for the past decades, John McCain did not put America first, he put winning the White House first!
McCain and Obama Largely Avoid Abortion, Gay Marriage - US News & World Report, 8/24/08
Palin reignites culture wars - Politico.com, 9/2/08
McCain’s embrace of Palin reignites culture wars - Financial Times, 9/4/08