Informal Poll: On what basis do we “move on” from a “losing issue”?

Posted by: ST on April 2, 2013 at 10:34 am

With the headway proponents of same-sex marriage have made over the last several years, and in particular the last year, and considering the inevitability of our SCOTUS ruling in favor of it later this year, the loud chorus I’m hearing from a majority of conservatives is that we have “lost” on this issue and that it is “time to move on” to issues where we can win.

Granted, my “evidence” of what I see as a “widespread sharing” of this opinion is purely anecdotal, but for purposes of discussion I’d like to find out what readers of this blog think of the idea of “moving on” from issues that are not just uphill battles, but ones we appear to be losing. This isn’t just confined to alternative forms of marriage, but ANY issue. Popular opinion appears to be against us on this issue, but what if it happened to also be against us on abortion? ObamaCare? Illegal immigration? Gun control? And consider this: I’ve read polling that suggests a majority of the American people think “the rich” should pay more in taxes than the rest of us. Is this a reason to give up and “move on”? I’ve always found this line of thinking as weak (unintentionally so) and fatalistic, a mindset that puts us on the path to essentially ceding so much ground to the left (something we’re already on the road to doing) on “losing issues” that the differences in the two major parties eventually becomes minute. After all, a quick perusing of pop culture shows a pretty significant tilt to the left, which makes any number of issues that much more difficult for us to win (like, for example, on student loans and mortgage lending).

Once upon a time, the polling was strongly against us on abortion. The tide has turned on that (thankfully) because pro-life forces did not give up – in fact, giving up was never even a serious option. And the pro-life movement is alive and well and fighting for the rights of the unborn to this day. The movement hasn’t completely “won” on the issue, but we’re winning.

But is there ever a time when the battles are so bruising, when the hill seems too high to climb, where we should just say “enough” and move forward to another issue in which we feel we have more solid ground? I suspect you can read between the lines as to my opinion on this, but I’m curious as to yours. I’m sincerely interested in where readers feel lines – if any – should be drawn on whether or not to continue to go forward on an issue or to just abandon it for “safer” ground.


RSS feed for comments on this post.

25 Responses to “Informal Poll: On what basis do we “move on” from a “losing issue”?”


  1. Carlos says:

    Personally, I never see an issue as one of being on the “popular” side as opposed to being on the “minority” side.

    If this was a logical way of doing business, our Founding Fathers could have and would have saved a lot of time and effort crafting a Constitution with sound protections embodied in said Constitution by noting that all issues would be resolved with a vote by the eligible people (those being eligible determined by popular vote). If I’m not mistaken, that’s called “democracy.”

    Fortunately, they were smarter than our elitist “leaders” today, and saw the folly of popularity and the tyranny of “majority rules.”

    It’s too bad our side can’t have the same vision, and recognize that “right” (correct, moral, ethical) is not a fluid term to be determined by polling numbers.

  2. Leslie Bialler says:

    Ah. An interesting question indeed. There is flight or fight, of course, and then there is wait. It does seem to me that some cultural issues–gay marriage, for example (which I personally favor), are no longer worth fighting about if you oppose it. It’s time to concede, for example, that on this issue time is not on your side, and that the river flowing has carved out a new channel. On abortion, however (and as you say people are coming around to the pro-life point of view), obviously there is no reason to flee, and indeed with the odds turning in your favor it is perhaps time to make compromise on certain issues.

    Now: why is this happening? In the former case, as LGBTs have become more acceptable to the mainstream, which sees they pose less and less of a “threat” (if they ever posed one at all), it was inevitable that objections to their living as couples would diminish. And similarly, with the rise of ultrasound (I recently was shown the ultrasound of the lovely woman who lives in my apt. bldg. at eight months and who is now due any day, and I never saw so thrilling a thing) it was inevitable opinions would change. I think what’s happening there is that people all over are thinking, “well, yah–that’s a life; that shouldn’t be killed unless absolutely necessary.” But, well yah, once in a while it is necessary, so let’s stop trying to eliminate abortion clinics. Please.

    Now, on issues of the economy, foreign policy, and things like the election laws. Well, those non-cultural issues should always continue to be fought. I say this: “mess with the free market, and the free market gonna be messin’ wit you.” I also raise a banner that says TANSTAAFL. And if you don’t know what that means, read your Heinlein. As for foreign policy, partisanship should end, as Harry Truman used to say, at the water’s edge. And I wish it would. (And we could sure use an LBJ as the Senate leader again!)

    Full disclosure: I am a straight single white male. I have a lesbian sister who has been in a relationship with her partner for almost 30 years. I frequently think about the other sibling I should have had that never got to be, and I was never told why.

  3. Patrick Heavey says:

    Issues like abortion and illegal immigration have serious implications, i.e., killing babies in the womb and sovereignty, jobs, entitlements, etc. What serious implications are there to gays getting “married”? Churches won’t be forced to marry them; our existing religious liberty rights won’t be infringed. The institution of “marriage” is already shattered in any universal sense – some adhere to the traditional views (no pre-marital sex, “till death do us part”, etc.), but most don’t. Pushing against SSM doesn’t gain anything, and if SSM became the law we wouldn’t realistically lose anything. All that happens is that conservatives and Republicans get painted with a broad brush as being intolerant and hateful.

  4. Ed DeLoach says:

    this issue is just like the Confederate flag issue a few years back. Nothing will really be changed if gays can marry and use the word “marriage”. I will still love my wife the same, as will everyone else. At the very worst, gays will find out what hell is really like now that they get the specter of “divorce” and all it brings with it into their relationships. And its a free way for states to get more revenue without raising taxes.

    I really don’t care about the issue personally. But if we are going to live up to the ideals of “personal responsibility” then let them have this little win, it wont change society at all and they as a community will be responsible for what this win brings to their community… I anticipate it wont be all peaches and cream like the gays seem to think it will.

  5. Jack Adams says:

    Just because injustice is popular, that does not make it just. There is a moral obligation to oppose unjust law (see Thomas Aquinas)

  6. Xrlq says:

    Politics is the art of the possible. Abortion will always be legal, but principled opposition may dissuade some from aborting. I don’t see any good coming from continued opposition to SSM.

  7. Kate says:

    Well, the idea that we move on here is of the political ilk. Conceeding the point that the majority will have it’s way as a point of democratic process, but I still believe a majority of people do not hold to these new fangled standards.

    Knocking down DOMA and allowing same sex marriages is a problematic for society as a whole. We open up a Pandora’s Box of issues…and regulation. DOMA was trying to step away from even having to deal with it on a federal level, leaving it up to the states I believe.

    Abortion is downright wrong…no matter how they dress it up, statistically it is for the pure convenience of the woman. This shouldn’t happen in the day of so many contraceptive choices.

    I feel we should continue to speak out and not to knuckle under to a minority of our population that would foist their moral agenda on us. It is their own “god” of self that they worship…what is right in their eyes is what counts. I will not bow down to that.

  8. “Move on from a losing issue” is another way of saying, “Concde the point, STFU, and deal with what matters.” Just because someone has been silenced does not mean you have changed their mind. Besides, it is a safe bet at this stage that many people are genuinely more concerned with North Korea than the “south end” of a sodomite.

  9. Lorica says:

    What serious implications are there to gays getting “married”? Churches won’t be forced to marry them; our existing religious liberty rights won’t be infringed.

    I don’t believe that churches won’t be forced to do this. Just like pharmacists could object to selling the day after pill…. that has been challenged over and over. I personally think they will be told that if they do not perform SSMs they will be told that their tax exemption status will be in jeopardy.

    I have to wonder why no one is bringing up the real problem in this DOMA case. Why in the world after a person dies, that their estate owes 1 thin dime to the frickin’ government let alone over 300K. What did the gov. do to deserve this money?? Where is the outrage?? Those are the real questions.

    I don’t see any good coming from continued opposition to SSM.

    *wonders if that is the same thought that the Greeks and Romans had as they descended further and further down this road. It is one of the 10 reasons nations die. – Lorica

  10. Phineas says:

    This was spurred by Kurt Schlichter’s article, wasn’t it? :)

    I can certainly see a case for pulling resources from an area where you’re not effective and concentrating them where you are.You at least win something and have a chance to build momentum that can be applied to other areas. And you don’t totally give up in those areas you’re losing: you can still make your case, but recognize that you’re not likely to make progress any time soon, and that your resources are likely better spent elsewhere. The worse thing is probably trying to fight everything at the same time. That way seems a guaranteed way to lose more often than win.

    For the record, while I recognize that culture is “upstream of politics,” I also support some sort of same-sex civil union. (In fact, the State should get out of marriage altogether and should create a general “civil union” contract law, and leave the sacrament of marriage to religions.) Hence this isn’t a big battle for me, though, as a federalist, I’ll hate it if it’s declared a “right” and imposed by the courts.

    I agree with Schlichter that this isn’t a good battle to be fighting at a high intensity, anymore. The national consensus seems to be moving strongly toward allowing it. You may win the culture battle over same-sex marriage eventually, just as we’re winning the abortion issue, but that’s long term. Right now, we have far more pressing matters to deal with.

    (Though, as I said, this does not mean you surrender your own personal opposition, nor should you stop trying to make your case.)

  11. ST says:

    Phineas, haven’t seen Kurt’s article, but I’ll check it out.

  12. Kevin Helmick says:

    A host of polls, commentators, and Facebook comments have decided that this issue is lost, but I’ve yet to see a state ballot initiative for gay marriage pass. Has there been one I’ve missed? I’m honestly not aware of it if so.

    I don’t think there is a valid reason to deny civil union types of access to property, pensions, benefits and the like to whomever one desires to grant those items. As such, my libertarian side says that civil unions are for each state to decide. Actually, with all vice and morality issues, I see no reason nor ability in our US constitution to decree an over-arching law to the states and local government.

    Along with that though, my version of good government would have no issues where marital status is a determinant of any kind. With a federal government as described in Article 1 Section 8, the need for marriage or civil unions to be recognized legally is non-existent.

    The founders envisioned the most powerful / responsible level of government as that of municipalities, and the Federal the least and focused almost exclusively on issues outside our borders. Since that is now completely corrupted, we get an array of issues that we never should have had at the federal level.

  13. Carlos says:

    Ah, I see the rotting corruption of being on the minority side in our society today has taken its toll.

    Spend time fighting for what’s right, even when one knows it’s a waste of time and resources? How silly of one to think that reminding others of a different moral imperative is not a waste of time.

    Trust me, folks. Pretty soon there will be challenges to polygamy laws (and, by extension, polyandry), then to laws banning adult-child relationships, and then to all sorts of other sexual-relationship things now “frowned” upon by “normal society,” and pretty soon “normal” is whatever a person decides it is for him/herself and society can go take a flying leap.

    Unless, of course, one expresses a dislike or disdain for such “normality” as one thinks is either distasteful or immoral, and then watch the jackboot of “inclusiveness” come down murderously.

  14. Matthew says:

    We are going to lose because nobody arguing for Prop 8 to Judge Walker asked him to recuse himself because he was in a same-sex relationship, living in California and therefore could not be impartial.

    We are going to lose because nobody arguing for Prop 8 has cited the bias that was shown in Walker’s nearly 200-page decision.

    It’s just that simple.

  15. Jen says:

    Who says we are on the losing side of an issue? The media? Talk radio? I will not ever accept that two gay men or women are in a relationship that is to be considered normal and therefore are “married”. They cannot ever reproduce and one cannot assume the opposite sex no matter how they dress, talk, walk, or visit with a plastic surgeon.

    My government, through a legal system that has decisions made affecting 300 million people by decree by 9 people in black robes, declares that they are doesn’t make it so. I do not ever have to accept it and until the right of free speech is lost, I will never have to shut up about it either.

    We are becoming tired of hearing about it because of the daily carpetbombing of gay this and that from the leftist media. Wishing it away via giving up won’t make it go away. Once it becomes law, then it will be continously broadcast, portrayed, and victory danced everywhere. It’s become it’s own industry, just as the race baiting industry still thrives. Ever wonder why so many “kids” are coming out of the closet in high school today? Because they are being brainwashed from kindergarten on that being gay is special and deserves victimization, attention, privileges. Straight isn’t cool, there isn’t enough victimization in that. What teenager doesn’t want to feel special, doesn’t feel somehow victimized by their life?
    So once gays can marry, then what? Who wants to lose their victimization status, so next will be the need for all of us to pay for their in vitro fertilization, their adoptions, all the reparations for all they have suffered over the years. IT WONT END with GAY’s getting a piece of paper from city hall and an extra exemption on their 1040.

  16. Mike says:

    Patrick Heavy said, “Churches won’t be forced to marry them; our existing religious liberty rights won’t be infringed.” I am not a believer of that statement one bit. The first clergy person refusing to marry a same sex couple on the basis of personal or religious moral conviction will be made an example of by the gay/lesbian lobby as a bigot and discriminating against them because they are gay and they will have the law to back them up. The gay community, for the most part, may not be aiming this fight as a religious fight, but it will end up directly on the battlefield for religious rights vs. living a lifestyle as a “married” couple which is in direct contrast to most christian sects doctrines and principles. I believe same sex couples should be protected from discrimination that all couples should enjoy. Employment, beneficiary, death benefits, housing, etc.

    In my mind, marriage is not a constitutional right. It is a religious principle that some how state and local gov’ts have gotten their hands on. Now it seems the fed too.

    If marriage is broken, why go after a broken institution? It makes sense to me the fight can then be focused on taking down religious institutions. So I will not give up the fight to protect and preserve marriage as between a man and a woman. But could support same sex civil unions.

  17. @Mike–Good point! We have all witnessed how the government has gone after the Catholic church over birth control. Like I have posted here previously, the Catholic church is under attack. Which one is next?

  18. Michael Quinney says:

    Conservatives talk about smaller government/keeping government out of our lives. Time to walk the walk. SSM doesn’t hurt anyone. ALL Legal americans deserve the same rights. We talk about freedom of speech and freedom of religion. That means they have just as much right as social conservatives do.

    For some time now, I have been moving left because of this issue and a couple of others. We are losing people because of social issues. Principles are wonderful things, but if you are not in control, you cant forward your agenda.

  19. Carlos says:

    And unprincipled power, Michael, is what got us to this point in the first place, and that’s exactly what you are advocating.

    I don’t buy it, and, if I’m fortunate enough to live a few more years, plan on spending my last days in some “re-education” camp because even though my “leaders” keep telling me my principles are old-fashioned and need to change, I like getting up in the morning and being able to look at myself in the mirror.

  20. Lorica says:

    I find it odd with all this disdain for “social issues”…. Isn’t being pro gay marriage a “social issue”?? So it is fine for our political opponents to push for social issues, but our side it is flat out wrong…. Then we wonder why we lose these arguments. Popular oppinion is not a good basis to form a political agenda, if you want an example you don’t have to look to far in human history.

    If you redefine the word marriage, at what point in time does that stop?? A man and his dog, a woman and her goldfish?? Mulitple people all getting married. Solomon had 300 wives and 600 concubines, is that what we want in America?? Well maybe Bill Clinton would like that, but to me it makes no sense, and talk about women becoming chattel again. Argue if you want, but has man become so much more “enlightened” than history past. I think not. Currently too much of our government is being used for social engineering and too many are being deluded and following that agenda. – Lorica

  21. Charlotte says:

    We should never, ever, ever give up the fight.

    I don’t believe you can say that allowing gays to marry hurts no one. Children will be hurt, both emotionally and psychologically, if not physically.

    Children want to grow up in a household where there is a mother and father. You know, that’s why God made men and women differently. (hello?)

    We can put lipstick on the pig, but the biggie is the children being raised in a gay household are generally subjected to less than optimal family life. However, gays don’t care about the foundation of civilized society being gutted to make them feel “normal”.

    Whenever gays sue for the right to adopt, please note that there is never evidence stating that the children are as well off, or better, than in a traditional mother/father home. They can only argue from the equal rights status, but not because it’s better for the child.

    Deciding that the definition of the word marriage should be changed after 2000 years by decree of law (and not by even a majority, but by judges?) Go right ahead. But forcing it down people’s throats won’t make people accept it.

  22. Drew the Infidel says:

    From the social issue of sodomite marriage comes social diseases. However, it is a consoling thought that they cannot reproduce.

    AIDS = A*s Injected Death Sentence.

  23. LindaF says:

    Sorry, I’m with Winston Churchill – we will NEVER give up, we will NEVER surrender.

    So, most of the country thinks we’re old fuddy-duddies.


    I was not put on this Earth to be popular.

    We may not win. But our refusal to give in to pressure will serve as an example for those who follow us.

  24. Lorica says:

    Drew that is the whole point of the SSM agenda. It gives some sort of acceptance to people who have chosen an alternative lifestyle, it will be the foundation of just how people are reproduced into this lifestyle in greater numbers.

    It is a fools game to believe that making SSM socially acceptable will validate the lifestyle. Same sex couples know they are on the fringe of what is natural, and in their hearts they know that this will not be the validation they so badly desire.

    Once SSM is the “law of the land” there will still be this longing for something more, but where are you left to go is the true question. – Lorica

  25. It is safe to assume more people than not would prefer the question of SSM, “civil unions”, or whatever other term is used to redefine marriage, be left to the individual voters in each state. This is preferable to having an unpopular decision by nine legislating jurists crammed down our throats.

    Making sociological (as opposed to religious) comparisons of homosexual marriage to heterosexual marriage based on the individual merits of each is not necessarily possible since SSM is a relatively new phenomenon while “straight” marriage has been around since time immemorial.