I’ve been trying very hard to stay out of the political discussions between my friends on facebook. Mostly because I live in East Texas, and the majority (but not all) of my friends are conservative republicans, at least that’s how they vote. Most will tell you that they are “open minded” or that they are “socially liberal” to some degree and that they wish that I could get the same financial and social protections with my partner that a married person gets. The one’s that are honest will add, “But I don’t think it should be called marriage” to the end of their statements as if somehow that shouldn’t offend me.
Well, whether it offends me or not, really isn’t important. It’s their personal view on a issue that involves their personal belief systems, and so how their belief effects me or my sensitivities really has no bearing on the matter. It’s how the actions that they take in order to inflict their beliefs on me that matter. To me, it matters a lot.
When I was younger, I really hated single issue voters. It made me crazy to hear someone say that they were voting Democrat or Republican, instead of saying they were voting FOR a candidate him or herself because that candidate represented the best hope for improving the world we live in in some way that the other candidate didn’t.
Then, I grew up. I am, unequivocally, a single issue voter. I am the person who steps into the voting booth and votes Democrat straight down the line. For the most part, I don’t even look at the names of candidates anymore because for me, they don’t matter. You see, I don’t really vote “For” anyone, I vote “Against” something.
I have to admit that I disagree with a lot of the ideas in the Democratic platform. You see I’m a product of my raising and my environment just like everyone else. If you don’t live in an area where illegal aliens impact your life on a daily basis, then chances are you don’t have the same strong feelings about immigration enforcement that many of the people who live where I live have. If you don’t work in an environment where you see the incredible abuse that goes on daily to the medicaid and welfare systems, then you may not have the same feeling of urgency that I do to see that these programs get completely overhauled to demand able bodied Americans who are capable of working do so, and that they take responsibility for their own actions and decisions. If you are selling your food stamps to buy meth, I hate it for you but you deserve to be hungry. If you have decided to make having babies your career path and to live off the welfare system, then I hate it for you (and your children), but you deserve to have your benefits limited and your children deserve the opportunity to grow up in an environment that teaches them to reach higher and to expect more of themselves.
Sounds a lot like what a Republican would say doesn’t it? Well, that’s probably because for most of my life, that’s what I was. Then I met someone that I loved, and being able to protect and provide for them became THE most important thing in my life. So, it isn’t Democratic ideas that I vote for, it’s Republican insistence on marrying their idea of religion to government and law that I vote against.
I wish there was a viable third party. One that would represent those of us who are fiscally conservative and want social reform, but also want conservative religious organizations to understand that while they have a right to their views, they do not have the right to inflict them on others. I wish that the Republican party would back away from this dance they are doing with the religious right, which more and more is becoming like some kind of hot Latin salsa where you can’t tell where one entity stops and the other starts.
There have been some Independents that I really liked, and would have voted for eagerly against both of the dominate party candidates. Unfortunately, in a election that is likely to impact my personal life in so many ways as a gay person in the United States of America, it would be a wasted vote with little impact except to take away my vote AGAINST the Republican party.
I am gay. The Republican party, as a part of it’s platform, discriminates against me and seeks to exclude me from equal protection under the law. So, until the Republican party decides to stop courting the Religious Right, and to recognize that not every American is Christian or even religious, but still deserves the same basic human rights that they enjoy, I will continue to vote a straight ticket. I just wish the box said “Not the Republicans”, because that’s what I’m really voting for every time.