Note: Brief adult language.
When I was an undergrad, I interned for several GOP campaigns – federal, state and local. I kept rather quiet in my political science classes due to my conservative views, but I was passionate about the cause; literally, a card-carrying member of the Republican Party.
I thought that I would spend my life devoted to conservative politics. Campaigns, issues, legislation. It fueled my fire and I couldn’t get enough of it.
That’s all changed in the past five years. Yes, my views have become more centric. In fact, you might be able to pin me at center-left on the spectrum; but I’m definitely a moderate. I’m saddened by how disenfranchised I have become with the GOP I once loved.
There appears to be no room for a moderate in today’s GOP. My once beloved party is moving so far to the right that it terrifies me at times. I’ll point out just a few of the issues that trouble me the most.
There are calls to get rid of Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides health services to many women. Planned Parenthood provides cancer screenings and gynecological exams to low-income women who would not otherwise have access to these important services. The GOP wants to deny women access to the good that Planned Parenthood provides, simply because it also conducts a small percentage of abortions.
Social conservatives rally for an amendment banning gay marriage. It stuns me that people want to impose their religious beliefs on every citizen in the nation. The United States of America was built upon the foundations of freedom for all – not freedom only if you subscribe to the Christian faith. One of the things I love most about this country is its religious and political freedoms.
Then there’s all this talk about the 47% of Americans that seek government assistance. You know what? I was one of those 47%. When I became pregnant with C, I became so ill that I had to withdraw from graduate school and lost my graduate assistantship. I was too ill to work, and had no source of income. Hubster was also a graduate assistant, and health care was not offered as part of his position. We had to seek private insurance, and we could not afford it. Very few people in our lives know that we lived below the federal poverty level during those two years of grad school. We were eligible for state insurance due to our low income. We utilized the services that were available to us. I am forever thankful for that assistance that was there when we needed it. If it hadn’t been there, we would have been bankrupted from my prenatal care and emergency cesarean.
I refuse to cast a vote for someone who dismisses me. I refuse to cast a vote for someone who wants to take away the services that are there as a safety net when people need it. Sure, there are abuses in the system. No one would deny that! But that’s what we should crack down on. We can’t take away the safety net. I believe that’s what we pay taxes for. And now that we are out of poverty and have the ability to pay, I’m more than happy to pay those taxes. It’s my duty and privilege to do so.
And then there’s the passionately polarizing attitude of many conservatives. The if-you’re-not-with-us-then-you’re-a-fucking-moron attitude. If you question us, you’re against us. If you don’t shout conservatism from the rooftops (i.e. Fox News), then you’re out to get us (i.e. the “liberal media”). I’m a fiscal conservative, too, but I’m dismissed because I don’t agree with other parts of the conservative platform. Why is your candidate a god and “the other” candidate is an evil idiot?
The truth is that any candidate – President, Vice President, Governor, Senator, what have you – has gotten to where they are because they are somewhat intelligent. If you can’t acknowledge that, then you’re so far in the throes of party politics that reason is no longer your friend.
I was a swing voter in this election, stuck between my fiscal conservatism and my beliefs on social issues. But the past month has made things very clear to me. I’m sick of the partisan bullshit. Let’s get this election over with and move on.