The only childhood memory I have of politics is sitting around the television with my family, waiting to find out if Reagan had been reelected.
And, boy, how I wanted him to win.
Because, my mom did, so, of course.
I was eight and had yet to discover the concept of free thinking. And, I was pretty sure it was illegal to think differently than your parents.
It wasn’t until I began approaching the legal voting age, that I realized I could have my own opinions on all of the things.
The freedom to think for myself was so….freeing.
As I began to understand political parties, and all they represent, it dawned on me that I wasn’t a die-hard Republican, like most of my family. In fact, my bleeding heart and desire to save the world, placed me on the exact opposite end of the political spectrum of bullshit.
I remember the day I came out to my mom. We were standing on opposite sides of an Abercrombie and Fitch t-shirt display, and I shouted over the blaring music, “I DIDN’T VOTE FOR BUSH!”
At first, I think my mom thought I’d inhaled too much Abercrombie cologne, but I said it again, and louder this time, with less of a catch in my voice.
I didn’t vote for Bush!
By her reaction, you would have thought I’d just proclaimed my dream to be the first American female suicide bomber.
From then on, my mom and I have had more heated political disputes than I can count. One even ended with me crying tears of world peace, onto my bacon, at a local breakfast diner.
The women in my family are of the dramatic variety, a gene which I definitely inherited.
I also inherited stubbornness, a loud mouth, and way too much passion over things, and people, that I don’t have the power to change.
Now, when it comes to fiscal shit, I don’t dig in too deep. Like I’ve said before, math and numbers make me itchy and nervous and nauseous. I usually only go so far as to say that I think both sides need to bend more and give a little (insert sex joke here). You know, if we could possibly cut spending and raise taxes, maybe we’d all be better off.
But, who the fuck cares about moderation anymore, right? As long as their team is winning.
My true passion lies with social issues.
In a nutshell…
I believe that every child deserves the same education and healthcare that my child is privileged enough to have.
I believe that the poorest of the poor deserve the same access to healthcare that I’m lucky enough to have.
I believe that everyone deserves equal rights when it comes to who they choose to marry.
And, I believe that no one has the right to tell me what to do with my body….my lady-bits in particular.
Contrary to how that last part may sound, I’m far from what you’d call a feminist.
Open the door for me? Help me carry this heavy box? Pay for my dinner? Earn all the money and let me stay home and fuck around online? SIGN ME UP! Just don’t tell me what to do with my vagina.
Seriously, though, these are things I’m inflexible on; and things I’d be happy to pay extra taxes for, because I know that the situation we’re all born into is merely a big, fucking, crap-shoot. Some of us are members of the lucky sperm club, but so many are not. I could have just as easily been born into nothing…and have nothing….but, I’m one of the lucky ones, the privileged, as they say.
And, it’s because of my strong beliefs on these issues, that I could never bring myself to cast a vote for a Republican. Well, at least not the latest breed of them, anyway.
This is where things get tricky for me. Trying to reconcile my strong “to each his own” philosophy with my “how the fuck can you think that way” heart-speak, is a tough row to hoe.
I pride myself on being open-minded and respectful to the beliefs of others. And, although I may not understand or agree with it, it’s hard to argue when someone doesn’t want to pay higher taxes, to help those who have less. It’s their money and their prerogative, like it or not.
But, this maturity of mine goes to shit the moment I hear someone say they’re opposed to gay marriage. I turn into a know-it-all and a martyr, and the ranting begins.
Sadly, this nation’s political climate has become so divisive that it’s become difficult to see people as individuals. Everyone is lumped together on one side or the other…with the Ron Paul’ers somewhere on their own planet.
I shamefully admit to judging someone when I see Republican or I love Jesus on their Facebook profile. I automatically assume they’re against equal rights, or healthcare, or letting women make decisions for themselves.
I also sometimes assume they shout things like, Barack HUSSEIN Obama, and SHOW ME YOUR BIRTH CERTIFICATE YOU DAMN KENYAN! (This is the shit I have no problem judging because, come on, really? Really? Give me an intelligent argument and then we can talk.)
Anyway, I recently had a conversation with a friend, one who considers herself to be more right than left. But, in this current climate, she feels alienated by the extremists and, in turn, has become politically apathetic.
“I just don’t vote at all anymore, because I can’t handle the gay marriage debate. I DON’T CARE WHO SOMEONE ELSE MARRIES!”
This is where I get really confused. Because, based on my understanding of the Republican Party, my assumption would be that every conservative would think this way. Because, hello, less government. But, sadly, it seems much of the party, or maybe just the loud ones, have instead gone the way of: less government *gays-and-women-do-not-apply.
I always fail to read the god damn fine print.
Every time I browse the headlines, I see hateful rhetoric coming from the opposing team. Sadly, I’ve been brainwashed over time, much like those that spew this hate, into thinking that all Republicans feel this way.
But, after having a few conversations with conservative friends and family, who aren’t against gay marriage (my mom included), I realized I was being an ass by measuring someone up solely by which party they identify with.
Which is the same as people assuming that I love all things Democrat. Because, if they bothered to ask, they’d discover I’m the wife of someone who works in the Finance and Energy Industry, and that I was less than keen on the whole Occupy Wall Street movement.
I always shout that people need to think for themselves, yet I was failing to do the same.
So, rather than holding onto my assumptions, and standing with my arms crossed in my we are the world except for you asshole corner, I decided it would be more productive, and adult(ish), to actually engage the others, and ask them questions.
And BOY how they answered.
And, then my head exploded from the confusion, and my heart burst from the relief.
Because, it turns out? Not all Republicans are dicks about equal rights…
“I’m on the republican/libertarian border and am NOT against gay marriage.”
“Weighing in late, but I lean republican, as does most of my family, and we all support gay marriage. Old and young. Unfortunately, it’s the vocal minority that gets all the attention. And the other 95% of us get a bad rap because of it.”
“My parents are DIEHARD republicans & very catholic. And they are NOT against gay marriage. My Dem in-laws? Are against it.”
“Most – if not all – of the Republicans I know support gay marriage. They are all 40 or under. I think that’s the key fact.”
“Is this the same as Catholics being OK with gay marriage? Like not everything applies?”
“If I have to choose one of the two parties, I’m a republican. I’m completely FOR gay marriage. I’m also pro-choice. My parents and hubby feel the same way too — all registered Republicans.”
“I’m a libertarian, but I’m conservative and can’t love gay marriage more.”
“Um, me. But people say that makes me NOT a “true” Republican. (whatever that means)”
“I’m repub and support gay marriage ”
“I’m libertarian (but vote republican BC I don’t want to waste my vote) and I’m for gay marriage!”
“I’m all for two hot chicks filing a joint tax return.”
“I’m republican and I fully support gay marriage. Heterosexual marriage, not so much.”
“I’m for love… And whom ever shares it. LGBT.”
“I’m republican, live in Massachusetts and don’t really care who gets married.”
“I’m pretty republican. And I’m just fine with gay marriage. I think conservative political views and conservative religious views typically go hand in hand in the media. Republican is a political affiliation, conservative is a way of thinking. I am in no way a conservative religious person but my fiscal and political views are more conservative than not.”
“I’m an independent and absolutely for gay marriage. I’m convinced that in 50 years we’ll look back on this time as we now do interracial marriage when it was banned. I’ve yet to see an argument against gay marriage that’s not based in religion, and that really crisps my cookies. Religion has no place in our government, and I don’t think gay marriage should even be up for a vote: it’s a civil rights issue.”
“Fiscal conservative, social libertarian – love and let love, baby. The fringes on both sides fill the airwaves, but I’m guessing most Americans really don’t care.”
“I was a republican, but I lost faith in both parties. I am fiscally conservative, socially liberal. 100% support gay marriage. I don’t even understand why it’s a question. And my name is Gary VanDerMolen. I have no problem standing with the LGBT community for equal rights.”
“I’m a conservative not against gay marriage. My take – how can we force our beliefs on those who don’t believe the same? I should also add that I am an evangelical Christian that really doesn’t understand the church’s stance on this topic. -) my thought is that IF being gay is a sin, it’s still not a belief that can be forced on those who don’t believe that way.”
Sidenote: I took things a step further, like I usually do, asking…
And, not surprisingly, the only thing I received in return was…
Either because no one had an answer that wasn’t based on religion, or because they knew there was a good chance I’d kick them in the balls.
And, while I’m absolutely thrilled by the overwhelming number of answers I received from pro-equal rights Republicans, I’m still left wondering one thing.
How can one cast a vote for a person that doesn’t believe in something as important as equal rights for all?
Why aren’t the thousands of good guys not speaking up and shouting that this hateful rhetoric and discrimination is unacceptable?
If it’s true that people really do have the power to make a difference, then why aren’t more of them standing in unison against the loud minorities, and yelling, “YOU DO NOT REPRESENT US!”
Because that would be the kind of right I could get behind.