Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I Don't Vote for Bullies

First off, I'd like to apologize for my week-long hiatus.  I just finished all my mid-terms/papers and Chris and I adopted a 13-week old puppy this weekend.  'Nuff said.  But I'm back and ready to talk about what's on everybody's mind: The Election.

I intentionally try to avoid politics on this blog.  I think it's fairly obvious I'm a bleeding-heart, pinko liberal, but I don't bash or praise specific politicians so as not to alienate others and imply that in order to be trans and/or godless you need to vote for a certain person or party.  I consider myself an independent for several reasons:

1)  Even the Democrats aren't liberal enough for me.  Not to mention they don't have the balls to get half the shit done they wish they could.  I'm all for "reaching across the aisle" and all that, but if the folks across the aisle won't even talk to you then you've got to move forward and start working on your own if needed.

2)  While I am super liberal about nearly all social issues, I do support the second amendment on the principle that I support the rest of the Constitution just as fiercely.  I think the second amendment is in place so that we the people have the means to overthrow the government if we believe it has become corrupt.  That's what the founding fathers just did when they wrote the damn thing and they wanted to be sure we could do the same.  I personally would never own a gun, but I will defend your right to own one.

3)  "Socialism" is not a dirty word to me.  There are plenty of "socialist" programs in our country that no one has a problem with.  Like the military, or the police department, or fire fighters, or the coast guard.  Should everything be run by the government?  Hell no!  Should things essential to life be protected and overseen by the government?  That's what it's there for!  To "establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty".  Oh, and for the record, socialism is not communism and it's not fascism.  If you're going to attempt to insult me at least get your basic terminology right.

4)  Neither major party is financially conservative.  They both spend a lot of money, but on different things.  The Republicans need to quit pretending they spend less than the Democrats, because the GOP spends our taxes on giving tax cuts to the rich and creating government projects for their corporate buddies like Blackwater and Halliburton.  Both of the parties spend way more money than they should.  That being said, I'd rather my taxes go toward helping the most citizens who need it the most, so I tend to side with the Democrats more often.

All of that being said, if the right Republican candidate comes along, I vote for him.  It's never happened in a National election for me, Presidential or Congressional, but it has happened locally.  Often in local politics the party is just a brand name with no ideology attached to it, so I vote for the best qualified who matches my values the closest.  No one is ever a perfect match, but I shoot for the best fit.  However, there is one issue I will not budge on -- Bullies.

Not only was I the victim of bullying in my younger years, but I work with LGBT youth, who are disproportionately targeted by bullies.  Any politician who tries to defend gay-bashing or bullying will forever be black-listed for me.  We can talk all day about what defines a marriage or a family, but the abuse of children and young adults should be a non-partisan issue.  Even if you believe that same-sex marriage is somehow offending to other-sex marriage, we should all agree that no one deserves to be assaulted or killed because of who they are.  At least, I wish we could.  Some politicians are trying to spin the LGBTQA community as the bullies against other people's religious freedoms.  But here's the thing.  You can believe anything you want until that belief violates someone else.  As soon as your belief crosses that line it is no longer protected.  I could believe death is a liberation from this life into a better one, but that doesn't give me the right to kill others.  A religious belief that homosexuality is wrong does not give anyone the right to bully.  Some politicians try to frame LGBTQA issues as "special rights" and "playing favorites", claiming that we all have the same right...to marry someone of the other sex.  This is the same argument that was used during the civil rights movement and I won't even dignify it by arguing against it.  Asking for the same rights as everyone else isn't "special", it's just fair.

Even these moronic arguments I could almost see as political grandstanding.  I mean, if I squint my eyes and try really hard.  But some politicians have gone beyond defending bullies and actually are or have been bullies.  When I read the story of Mitt Romney and his high school buddies tackling a fellow student to the ground as Romney forcibly cut his hair to an "acceptable" length, hot angry tears came to my eyes.  I've experienced that kind of helplessness, I've held teenagers who have experienced it as well and tried to tell them there is life after high school.  It's something no one should ever go through.  Ever.  As furious as this story made me, I like to think I could have accepted an apology from Mitt Romney.  I know we all do stupid things when we're teenagers that we wish could do differently as adults.  If Romney could honestly look back on that day and feel sickening shame about the animal he allowed himself to be, I would try to forgive him.  But Romney claimed he didn't even remember the incident.  Let me repeat that.  He didn't even remember pinning a young man to the ground, taunting him, humiliating him, brandishing a sharp instrument at him, and hacking away at his hair.  What kind of human being does something like that and doesn't even remember it?  I'll tell you what kind, the kind that will never get my vote.  Not even if he agrees with me on every other issue, I will not support him.  There are some stains that don't come off.

I don't agree with any politician on everything.  I have a big problem with Obama's immigration policies, but his support of the LGBTQA community has been the best we've ever received from a president.  I didn't agree with Bush about nearly everything, but the words he said to his transgender classmate at their college reunion, "You came back as you," were truly touching and sincere.  Clinton is still my favorite president within my lifetime, but I can't forget he's the reason we had DADT and still have DOMA.  Nobody's perfect.  I get that.  But some things are unforgivable.  I wouldn't even say the act of bullying is unforgivable if the person sees the error in their ways and because I like to think most people are good, I think most former bullies regret what they've done.  But to not even acknowledge it, to not even attempt to put yourself in someone else's shoes and try to understand what you've put them through shows a coldness I wish weren't possible.  I can't understand how you can laugh at another person's suffering.  And anyone who can do that and still feel okay with themselves is not someone I want representing me and the people and country that I love.

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