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Mike Gravel on Civil Rights

Libertarian for President; Former Democratic Senator (AK)


Bushís overblown War on Terror is modern McCarthyism

McCarthyism [1950s anti-Communist purges] was one example of a recurring nightmare in American history: a legitimate problem is deliberately overblown to aggrandize the accuserís political power; fear is amplified so the populace willingly forfeits civil rights in exchange for security. If Arthur Miller were to update The Crucible, in which he compared the religious intolerance of New England Puritans with McCarthy, he would have to include comparisons to George W. Bushís War on Terror.
Source: A Political Odyssey, by Mike Gravel, p.106 May 2, 2008

Established first in-state high school for native Alaskans

Under the previous system run by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, high school-age native Alaskans were forcibly separated from their families to be sent to schools on reservations as far away as Oregon or Oklahoma. I put an end to that and the native communities loved me for it. It taught me a big lesson in politics: when you want to accomplish something, look for a wrong to correct. Donít be a phony. If you solve problems you prove your worth and can run on your record.
Source: A Political Odyssey, by Mike Gravel, p.146-147 May 2, 2008

Discontinue public college & government affirmative action

Q: Should the federal government consider race and gender in government contracting decisions?

A: No.

Q: Do you support affirmative action in public college admissions?

A: No.

Q: Should the federal government continue affirmative action programs?

A: No.

Source: Presidential Election 2008 Political Courage Test Apr 22, 2008

Alaskan gay supporters in Harvey Milk Club

Q: You are from Alaska.

A: I live in Virginia now, but my heart is still in Alaska.

Q: Are there many gay people up in Alaska ?

A: My coterie of support within the Harvey Milk Club [a San Francisco-based GLBT support group] is the Alaskans that are in that club. Theyíre in the audience right today.

Source: 2007 HRC/LOGO debate on gay issues Aug 9, 2007

Marriage preceded religion; itís not a religious term

Stop and think. What is marriage? I resent religion saying that itís a religious term. Itís not. Marriage preceded all forms of religion in civilization. Marriage is a commitment between two human beings in love. And understand me; Iím saying two human beings. They can be heterosexual. They can be two lesbians. They can be transgender. They can be two gays. What it is, itís a commitment of human beings in love. And if thereís anything we need in this world, itís more love.
Source: 2007 HRC/LOGO debate on gay issues Aug 9, 2007

Mainstream politicians play it safe on gay marriage

Q: Why do you think Obama and Edwards and Clinton do not support full same-sex marriage rights?

A: Well, itís because theyíre playing it safe. Theyíre not going to lose any votes over not being for marriage, whatever their excuses are. Theyíre going to win. This is costing votes for us. I donít care. I donít want those votes. So you want to know the difference? A good politician can tell you to go to hell and make you look forward to the trip. We see a lot of that.

Source: 2007 HRC/LOGO debate on gay issues Aug 9, 2007

First accomplishment: creating AK Human Rights Commission

Q: Prior to this campaign, what is the thing that you have done to advance GLBT rights that you are most proud of?

A: My first piece of legislation in the State Legislature was the creation of the Human Rights Commission of Alaska. I fought hard, I used political capital. And what I learned is that when you use political capital, more capital comes to you. The Human Rights Commission dealt with gays and dealt with the black community. That was my first accomplishment, and I felt it deeply.

Source: 2007 HRC/LOGO debate on gay issues Aug 9, 2007

Straight older men are dead wrong to oppose gay marriage

Q: You are unusual for your generation of straight white men, because you actually support same-sex marriage. How do you speak to men of your generation? And how do you speak just to men of your generation?

A: About my generation, most of them are wrong. Theyíre dead wrong. Theyíre dead wrong. You know, when I was a kid there was a lot of homophobia around. I can recall when the gay issue was, what, 55% opposed, 40% for. And lo and behold, now if youíre talking about the gay issue in general, itís probably 59% for, and the rest are in the dustbin of history. The same thingís going to happen with the marriage issue. Iíll make you a promise. Five years from now the marriage issue will be a non-issue in the next presidential campaign. Just that simple.

Q: If you think itís changing so much, you could put gay marriage up to a popular vote and it would win?

A: I think so. I think that the American people are basically got really an underlying sense of values of fairness.

Source: 2007 HRC/LOGO debate on gay issues Aug 9, 2007

By next election, gay marriage could win a popular vote

Q: What about gay marriage?

A: The marriage issue will be a non-issue in the next presidential campaign.

Q: If you think attitudes are changing so much, you could put gay marriage up to a popular vote and it would win?

A: I think so. I think that the American people are basically got really an underlying sense of values of fairness.

Q: Things have changed that much?

A: What happens is we had the leadership that demagogues the issue to a fare-thee-well, whether itís presidential candidates who canít quite get their arms around the marriage issue and, of course, will give you an argument. And it could be a real argument that itís their morality that doesnít permit it or itís a political argument. When people like myself or Dennis Kucinich move the ball down the court a little bit, that benefits the gay community. And itís sort of ironic that we see the gay community supporting people like Hillary, Obama, Edwards, who, for some reason, canít get their arms around marriage.

Source: 2007 HRC/LOGO debate on gay issues Aug 9, 2007

Civil union establish second-class citizenship for gays

Q: Did we go for marriage too soon? Should the GLBT community have stuck with civil unions?

A: I know that Rep. Barney Frank initially said that they should have not gone for it. I disagree. But now heís changed his position. He feels that you draw a line in the sand by telling people that you canít use the word marriage, which, of course, has been misappropriated by religion. Go to the City Hall next time and look for where you go get your license. Does it say Gay Same Sex Union or does it say Marriage License Bureau? It says Marriage License. What you have to recognize is that when people are telling you that you canít be married, what theyíre telling you is thereís something wrong with you, youíre second-class citizens, and thatís not so. Youíre not second-class citizens, and the sooner our nation matures to that level [the better]. Leadership is the task of bringing us forward to civic maturity, and we donít have enough of that leadership at the presidential level.

Source: 2007 HRC/LOGO debate on gay issues Aug 9, 2007

We must assert our rights; nobody will give them to you

For me, [GLBT issues are about] justice; itís human rights. Itís not whether youíre gay. Iíve advocated many times for gays -- come out of the closet, please. Some people canít pay the price at a given point in time. But thereís one thing that counts: Youíve got to assert your rights. Nobody is going to give you anything from on high. It just does not happen that way in a system of representative government. And so you have to step forward, and Iíll be happy to step forward with you, as I have all of my life. And I can promise you one thing, you stand up for me -- and I need your support; I need your support and want it and beg it because Iíll do more for your cause than any other human being that walks the Earth as your president.
Source: 2007 HRC/LOGO debate on gay issues Aug 9, 2007

Dems love blacks during elections, but nothing has improved

Iím not much of a cheerleader either for the Democratic Party or for this organization [the NAACP]. I look out there [in the audience] and I see the prosperous part of the African-American community. But take a drive through Detroit and youíll see anothe part of the African-American community and Iíd like you to go back to the people you represent and ask them, ďHave things changed in the last 25 years? Have they changed, whether itís been Democrat or Republican?Ē The Republicans have been a disaster. Th Democrats have been a hair better. We love you in the primary, but we donít find you after weíre elected. And thatís got to change. As a candidate, Iím not up here to gain some popularity contest, tell you what you want to hear. Iím going to tell you what you need to know. Thatís what counts. And weíll start with drugs. Weíll start with our international foreign policy. Weíll start with a whole host of these things, get the questions you have and weíll deal with them properly and straightforwardly.
Source: 2007 NAACP Presidential Primary Forum Jul 12, 2007

Electoral-industrial complex steals African-American votes

Q: In light of the recent anti-integration Supreme Court decision, please tell us what would you do to promote an equal opportunity and integration in American public schools and how would you ensure that the courts would hand down more balanced opinions

A: Obviously, the answer to that is to appoint the proper judges and I think, by and large, that everybody on this stage will appoint the proper judges. But the heart of the matter really is civil rights. And you know whatís the most important thing in civil rights? Itís voting. And so what you want to do is recognize that in Florida, the African-American community was wiped out in the ability to vote & we lost the election. They stole it. The same thing happened in Ohio. And what has the Congress done? Put up $3 billion for a ďHelp America Vote ActĒ to create an electoral industrial complex with machines that donít permit you to find out how you voted. Thatís what theyíve done and that needs to change.

Source: 2007 NAACP Presidential Primary Forum Jul 12, 2007

Racism still with us in the 21st century

Q: Is race still the most intractable issue in America?

A: Racism was here with us at the beginning of this country. It was here in the last century, and itís going to be with us in the 21st century. And one of the areas that touches me the most and enrages me the most is our war on drugs that this country has been putting forth for the last generation. We have 2.3 million people in jail, and 70 percent are African-Americans [because of criminalization of drugs].

Source: 2007 Democratic Primary Debate at Howard University Jun 28, 2007

Donít ask donít tell should have gone 20 years ago

Donít ask donít tell should have been gotten rid of 20 years ago.
Source: 2007 Dem. debate at Saint Anselm College Jun 3, 2007

Unequivocally supports same-sex marriage

Source: Wikipedia.org article on Mike Gravel campaign Feb 26, 2007

Politicians use fear to manipulate us all

We have become a nation ruled by fear. Since the end of the Second World War, various political leaders have fostered fear in the American people--fear of Communism, fear of terrorism, fear of immigrants, fear of people based on race and religion, fear of Gays and Lesbian in love who just want to get married, and fear of people who are somehow different. It is fear that allows political leaders to manipulate us all and distort our national priorities.
Source: Speech to Winter Meeting, Democratic National Committee Feb 3, 2007

Calling critics or doubters un-American is anti-patriotic

What is the essence of this country that we are being patriotic about? A real love of America -- an authentic patriotism -- must be based on more than a moralizing grumph, a smug assertion, a bumper-sticker slogan. Weíve all heard the phrase, ďmy country right or wrong.Ē I think we can all agree, this leaves something to be desired. No, I think a true patriotism -- a truly MacArthuresque love of country -- can leave some room for loving the sinner, but hating the sin. The American who calls a critic or doubter to task as un-American is -- himself -- in that instant, the true anti-patriot. It is the American who defends the right to disagree, and who hears and sees and embraces the voices of diversity, who is the truest and greatest lover of America.
Source: The Gravel Report, ďReal patriotism for AmericansĒ Aug 15, 2006

Other candidates on Civil Rights: Mike Gravel on other issues:
Nominees:
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden

Third Parties:
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader
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Page last updated: Feb 08, 2010