The Republican platform for 2004 not only renews GOP support for a Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage but also argues to make it federal law that no state be permitted to recognize civil union contracts between same-sex couples. Seems the GOP right-wingers (authors of this year's document) would go to extraordinary lengths to prevent queers from enjoying equality under the law, even undermining their own professed favor for state-level control over federal control. I wanted to read the exact wording, but in searching for the platform document on-line, Google and I had a hard time finding it. But we found these interesting items instead.The New York times has an article today headlined "Conservatives Wield Influence on Platform." The article quotes Kerry spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter on the GOP's platform: "It reflects the divisiveness and extreme policies of the last four years, while the public speakers paint a very different picture.'' The conservative, far-right agenda of the platform is at odds with the moderate, "compassionate" face they've chosen to present at their convention. Duplicity is the real theme of the week at Madison Square Garden.The GOP Web site that I finally found that contained the wording of what I thought was the platform document delivered a surprising concluding paragraph under the heading "What Is At Stake": "The rule of law, the very foundation for a free society, has been under assault, not only by criminals from the ground up, but also from the top down.????An administration that lives by evasion, coverup, stonewalling, and duplicity has given us a totally discredited Department of Justice.????The credibility of those who now manage the nation???s top law enforcement agency is tragically eroded.????We are fortunate to have its dedicated career workforce, especially its criminal prosecutors, who have faced the unprecedented politicization of decisions regarding both personnel and investigations." I thought it exceedingly odd that the GOPers would be so frank about the Ashcroft Justice Dept. Then I noticed, however, that the document referred to Gov. Bush, not Pres. Bush. Turns out I was looking at the platform document from 2000, even though the copyright date at the bottom of the page was 2004. Still, it made for interesting reading.Finally, a site titled "The Republican Platform 2004," offered these words outlining Republican positions: 1. Jesus loves you and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton. … 4. A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body but the government has no place interfering with the right of multinational corporations to make decisions affecting all mankind. … 8. If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex. … 12. Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk science but creationism should be taught in schools. … For the complete list of prank planks, check out Rense.com. This list was popular enough to appear on many other Web sites, including StudentsforWar.com, a scary site for war-mongering youth.My search for the platform document led me to one other scary site, DefendtheFamily.com. At that point, I decided to give up the search. I figure if I try to imagine the worst, that's probably what's in the Republican platform.
Jim Rinnert is the art director at In These Times.