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30 June 2015 @ 11:18 am
In which I talk a bit about politics  
I don't talk about politics much. This is, at least in part, because I am both conservative and Christian. But here for awhile now, I have felt the need to append that statement thusly: I am fiscally conservative, and a Christian. By and large, the most vocal presence online tends to be very liberal, and many of them are people who I consider friends. And often, they will post links to GOP members saying horrible things. For a long time, I have always just thought to myself: "Well these people being quoted are clearly the extremists of conservative thought. They don't represent the entire conservative viewpoint."

The problem is, no one else who is also conservative and Christian seems to say anything (or if they do, they don't get quoted and linked to and passed around social media much). So I don't have anyone who sounds, well, sane to link to and say "This!". If I say anything that even remotely seems to support a conservative viewpoint, the discussion devolves. Someone inevitably has to post to my feed how I am a moron to believe in a higher power, because science! Uh...I don't see religion and science as mutually exclusive. To my way of thinking, God is happy if we educate ourselves. I don't want to digress here.

So here is the thing.

Being Christian should be about love, not hate. 

Being conservative should not mean clinging to old ways of social and party thinking until you are a bigoted asshole.

I look at the current candidates from the Republican party for the 2016 Presidential race, and I seriously want to cry. I wouldn't vote for a single one of them! When the SCOTUS decision on gay marriage came down, I was shocked and disappointed when every single conservative candidate either spoke out against it, or said something vague, trying to ride the fence. Many of them used religion as their excuse. (Hey, newsflash! Being Christian means being loving, not being a bigoted asshole! Also, the Bible does not say what you think it does about having a same-sex sexual preference, or marriage.) Yesterday and again this morning, I got into a conversation with a conservative friend I know in real life, who basically posted that this decision opens a door for pedophiles - yes, pedophiles! - to get their "rights" recognized. I was shocked. I tried very rationally to explain to this person that love has nothing to do with a child predator. He responded that it is the same since it is a "sexual preference" and that in some countries (not the US) it is considered normal and acceptable behavior, and that it might not be socially acceptable here yet, but this gay marriage decision opens the door for them to try. I responded and said, no, you are comparing apples to, like, something not even edible. Those with a same-sex preference are consenting adults, gay marriage gives them to right to marry who they love. Pedophilia is about predators who target and hurt children. 

I ended up having to walk away from the conversation. I felt nauseous, near tears of frustration, and shaky. I am a survivor of sexual abuse. My grandfather on my father's side of the family molested me from the time I was three years old, until my Mom caught him when I was seven or eight. It is an experience that left its mark on me for my entire life. I don't know how I am going to see this person again in real life and have a regular conversation with him. How can anyone seriously compare the right for people who love each other to marry, to pedophiles being legally allowed to molest children?

Fastforward to an hour later. I went for a walk this morning, and driving home from it, two radio hosts on a conservative talk show were quoting from an article, that basically calls the GOP out for refusing to change with the times, and that this is literally destroying the future of conservative politics. The conservative radio hosts did not disagree. They talked about how social issues have moved forward in the last few decades, but how the party has not moved with them. How no candidates spoke out in favor of the SCOTUS decision, or in favor of removing the confederate flag, or how none of them spoke up about the Charleston church shooting and how awful it was. They talked about all of these as missed opportunities to show how the party has changed, and to appeal to the younger generation of Republicans, who by and large are far more socially progessive, but remain fiscally conservative.

I just sat there in amazement, listening to this talk show say all of things I have been thinking! I guess at 41 years old, I am a "young Republican". Because I support gay marriage. I support trans* rights. I believe that, sadly, racism is still alive and well in this country. So is inequality for women. I believe in a woman's right to choose, but I don't believe it should be used as a form of birth control, nor do I believe in late-term abortions. I also believe in our right to bear arms and defend ourselves. I don't believe in wasteful government spending. I think taxes should be something like a flat 10% across the board, with no loopholes that only the super wealthy (of both parties) get to exploit. No using tax money for crap like CEO buyouts, while education, police, and fire departments struggle to get by. I believe the government should stick to spending tax dollars to benefit the whole country, and stay out of people's personal lives. Republicans like to use that last as a reason why the recent SCOTUS decision is so terrible. "But the government is telling us what we can and can't do!" NO. No, they just gave one group of people the same rights the rest of us enjoy. That is not the same thing as telling us what to do. They aren't telling you that you personally have to support the right of gay and lesbian people to marry, but they are saying that those people DO have the right to marry. 

Anyway, the idea that there are many young Republicans out there who are "socially progressive and fiscally conservative" fills me with hope for the future. Now, if we could just get rid of both the assholes who refuse to change their bigoted social beliefs, and the cowards who actually don't share those bigoted beliefs, but choose to parrot as if they do because they (misguidedly) believe the voting public will never support them otherwise...maybe the Republicans would have a political future, after all. Until then, I have no fucking idea how I will be voting in the next election.

Cross-posted from Dreamwidth - there are comment count unavailable comments there. Comments welcome on either post.
Current Mood: frustratedfrustrated
quiescent: AVG - mariatielan on July 1st, 2015 09:24 am (UTC)
The two-party major system is very limited in scope, particularly these days when people may support fiscal conservatism, but not social conservatism.

As a friend says, politics is the art of compromise - and there's not too much of that around anymore.
L.A.frenchroast on July 1st, 2015 02:24 pm (UTC)
*hugs* I'm totally with you on the ridiculousness of people who think God and science are incompatible. Trust me, you get it flung at you even more if you're a liberal *and* a Christian.

The current crop of Republican candidates are mostly horrifying to me--not because I'm a liberal, but because of EXACTLY the things you mention here. Too often, they just seem hateful and hypocritical, and I can't get on board with that.

The way the two-party system is set up, if you're fiscally conservative and socially progressive, you basically have to choose which is more important to you, and go with the party that claims it. It is not a great system right now, when no one will compromise on anything. Not moving forward with social issues is going to have longterm harmful effects on the Republican party, because they're losing the younger voters who care more about the social issues than they do the fiscal ones.

I'm okay with compromise; I'm not a huge fan of fiscal conservatism, but I could possibly get behind a socially progressive republican candidate (simply because they might not get automatic pushback from their party, and thus might actually be able to do things). So could a lot of people I know who currently vote with the Democrats. There just don't seem to be any of those. I've voted for Republicans in the past (kind of hard not to in the South), but the ones that seem to be in charge of the party right now are damaging it. It makes me really glad to hear that this is starting to be talked about though, because it would be nice to feel like there are decent choices again, and not so much voting for who I think the lesser evil will be.
KayJayUUkayjayuu on July 2nd, 2015 03:05 am (UTC)
You aren't alone. (You also sound like a small "l" libertarian.)
Tinny: __information wants to be freetinnny on July 5th, 2015 07:31 pm (UTC)
Well said.

Renewal is hard for established political parties. Now, part of the problem is that your political system isn't friendly to new parties emerging, so basically people who want a modern conservative choice can't really get far enough to scare the Republicans into modernizing themselves. It remains to see how long it will take the Republicans to get their stuff together and integrate a new generation's views on their own.