An Open Letter To The Entire GOP From A Gay Republican Who Voted For Gary Johnson Because I Am A Gay Republican
When I was a teenager, I was a leftist who was very strident about my ill-formed beliefs. Then, I watched in horror as 9/11 happened. As a gay Jew who can only trace my paternal ancestry back four generations because of the Holocaust, when I learned in horror that Muslim terrorists carried this out as a direct attack on everything America stands for, I looked to President Bush for leadership. Unlike his successor, he was willing to call them out for what they are. However, their bigotry against gays in the name of Allah has a parallel to anti-gay bigots in the West who claim to speak for Jesus Christ, and it has cost the GOP dearly. The only difference is the tactics they use; their arguments and end goals are the same: a world without gay people. If they are allowed to have any more influence over the party’s direction, then we can kiss the next generation goodbye. If four states legalized marriage rights for same-sex couples via the popular vote in one election, then the rest will come around sooner rather than later. Where everyone else sees defeat, I see an opportunity to turn this into an advantage.
I became old enough to vote in 2001, but I registered as a Democrat because my parents were Democrats. The more I considered the fact that I didn’t know about the issues to justify my positions, the more I started to consider exactly what I hated about Republicans. It was the fact that I perceived them to be prejudiced against minorities, especially gays and Jews. It’s what my left-of-center parents and their left-of-center friends had told me all my life. I never saw any real world examples to the contrary. All I knew about economics was the same claptrap I learned in school and from popular culture about a pseudo-Manichean struggle between the evil rich needing to be regulated for the good of the noble poor. When I realized the truth was more complex than that, I started to see the benefits of libertarianism. However, libertarian anti-war sentiments ignored the reality of radical Islam and the goals of groups like Al-Qaeda, so I became a Republican despite my intense distaste for the increasing attacks on marriage equality.
I never met any Republicans who openly hated blacks, Jews, or even gays, but I found little sympathy for my nascent libertarianism from other gays—or other Jews, including my family—until I met other gay Republicans. In hindsight, I can see why gays who were rejected by conservative Christian parents wouldn’t be sympathetic to Republican beliefs about free markets. Especially when Republicans have betrayed those beliefs repeatedly to save their political careers. That opposition to gay equality has tainted everything else we believe by association. Now, I’m focused on saving your careers and our party.
I believe Obama is a Mussolini-style corporatist whose ideas take the worst parts of socialism and polishes them until they resemble American-style capitalism as the left envisions it to be. When he implements them, he will make it harder for people to achieve the level of upwardly mobility they desire. I know this because we have seen it happen in increments since the Progressive Era. I also refuse to accept the notion that government can do anything better than the private sector, even the things the constitution authorizes it to do. But why would any educated voter who follows the newspapers believe Romney would stop ObamaCare when he basically implemented the exact thing as governor of Massachusetts? He only got the nomination because he ran against Rick Santorum, Michelle Bachmann and Newt Gingrich, three people who would be as welcome in a gay neighborhood as the Wicked Witch of the West was in Munchkinland. The candidates who should have been part of the primaries, but were not, were the ones whose ideals most matched what I think a Republican should be: Ron Paul, Fred Karger and Gary Johnson. None of whom supported any anti-gay legislation, and Karger said he would make gay marriage “the law of the land.” Even Obama has not gone that far. But after voting for Bush in 2004 and McCain in 2008 out of fear of what the Democrat would do if elected, it was Gary Johnson who got my vote for President this year, and I have no regrets. I voted on principle, not out of fear. I believed Mitt Romney deserved to lose for his opposition to marriage equality, but not to the likes of Obama. That Obama won re-election in spite of everything reflects badly on the GOP.
Unfortunately for us, as of November 6, Democrats have the upper hand. Obama gained way more than 270 electoral votes. You can’t win national elections without large cities, which are overwhelmingly Democratic, especially the ones with large gay communities. Gays on the left made the case for gay equality to their heterosexual ideological brethren, but how can gays on the right do the same when the party’s actions have fueled both the anti-gay Religious Right and the anti-Republican gay left? In order to do this, the party’s positions on gays must change.
Do not be tempted to blame Gary Johnson for Romney’s loss. He only received 1,136,377 votes, while Romney lost by 2,650,383 votes. The Libertarian Party has been around for 40 years and still can’t attract more voters than it did in 1980 because it lacks organization. Thus, it is no threat to the GOP, but it will be unless we change our strategy. Think of how many votes Johnson could have gotten as the GOP candidate, and how well he would have done against Obama in all the debates. He could also question why this supposedly pro-gay President felt the need to run against marriage equality in the first place, thus calling attention to the main problem with this administration: Obama’s lack of character.
The culture war Pat Buchanan declared at the 1992 Republican National Convention would never been declared had the GOP not welcomed religious fundamentalists into the fold. Remember, they became a bloc to help Jimmy Carter get elected. Their principles revolve around who will do a better job of enforcing their particular view of Christianity. I will not begrudge any American the right to worship as he or she pleases, but we cannot make personal distaste a basis for the formation of laws. No convincing case can be made for denying marriage rights to same-sex couples any longer, and even if it could be made, the public is not buying it anymore. History will already judge Obama positively for being the first president to claim to support same-sex marriage rights, despite his lack of character or tact in doing so the day after North Carolina voted to ban it, then telling MTV he would not make it a priority in his second term. Thus, we should make it a priority, because if the GOP is to have a future, it must be a pro-gay future. We cannot look to the past any longer for answers because history doesn’t repeat itself in mathematical patterns. Even if the worst fears about Obama’s economic plans do come true, as I believe they will, it’s a moot point because the strategy of trying to find another Reagan didn’t work. It’s not 1980. At that time, there wasn’t a whole new generation of voters raised on ideas that the American way of life was fundamentally flawed.
We have the heartland, but we lost the coastal states and states like Illinois with large urban centers, as if we felt losing the most populous states in the union was somehow a badge of honor. I live in California, and I see 10 “for sale” signs for every “help wanted” sign. Even McDonald’s has more applications than jobs. Inland voters are more conservative, but it is LA, San Francisco and San Diego that influence how the state goes in presidential elections. When Reagan was governor, the Religious Right had not yet begun to wreak havoc on the political scene. Even when it had already become part of Reagan’s “Big Tent,” the still won the state in 1980 and 1984. But the “Big Tent” has a hole in it, and the social conservatives tore that hole with their actions. Marriage equality will come with or without the GOP’s support, and I’d prefer the party that gave us The Great Emancipator and The Great Communicator be a part of it. But we must communicate better in order to emancipate the nation.
I know many people will oppose these ideas on principle because of their religious beliefs, which I expected. And the press will spin any actions, whether for or against gay equality, to Obama’s advantage because many gays hold jobs in media, as it is one of the few industries where we are accepted. The GOP won the house by promising a focus on economic issues, a repeal of Obamacare and a pledge to make social issues into non-issues. But Democrats ran on social issues and won; every anti-Romney story that went viral on Facebook or Twitter was related to his opposition to marriage equality, especially after signing a pledge by the bigoted, criminal National Organization “for” Marriage to amend the Constitution to redefine marriage. As for the First Amendment objections, several states have pledged to fight the Citizens United decision with a constitutional amendment that would essentially open the door to federal censorship. Right now, no one’s objection to marriage equality should take precedence over inhibiting Obama’s agenda as much as possible until we have the opportunity to take back the Senate and strengthen control of the House in 2014.
We cannot afford foreign aid to any nation on Earth. We cannot afford any more wars after we deal with Iran. We cannot maintain a nation by taking from the productive to give to the unproductive, whether or not they support the use of their tax money in the ways the government uses it. Obama will act the same way in his second term as he did in his first because behavior that is rewarded will be repeated. The only way the GOP can save face is to support full equality for gay and lesbian citizens. We still control the house, so why not use that to our advantage by admitting that pursuing a proactive, bipartisan strategy for gay equality? This could include a proposal to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to add sexual orientation as a protected class, but it must also include a repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. Even if the Supreme Court rules it constitutional, it is an increasingly toxic legislation whose author, Bob Barr, has renounced it. We can no longer blame Bill Clinton for signing it, when it was us who proposed it.
This election proved the gay vote is a force to be reckoned with, and will be for the foreseeable future. Continue alienating us, and you might as well just hand the Democrats everything they want, because they will take it. I say this because I am a Republican and I want to see viable opposition to the encroaching economic tyranny in this country. The case against planned economies is all around us, but we need to have as many gays and other minorities on our side if we expect to stop Obama. If he will not listen to us and actively ensure the gay equality he claims to support, even after we offer an olive branch to him, we can use this against him in 2014, when we will need every vote we can get.