Dear Republican Party

Dear Republicans,

Let’s talk. See, most days I’d rather be forced to watch my fingers being methodically cut off with a butter knife or a Ron Popeil infomercial than Fox News. Most days Fox is the speedbump between TBS and Animal Planet, and that’s saying something. Its misogynistic, homophobic, fact-free playland of Jerome Corsi’s and Dick Morris’s bedtime naughty thoughts is less appealing to me than rednecks wrestling gators. As those are your voters and its viewers, I suppose I understand from a business and political point of view. But let’s get down to brass tacks, i.e. why I’ve never voted for you and don’t intend to anytime soon.

See Republicans, it’s not because I’ve been indoctrinated in college. I was taught to think critically at my liberal arts college, “liberal arts” meaning encompassing all the arts, assessing them with a modicum of skepticism and sifting through the detritus of human cultural history to judge personally what’s worth keeping and affirming and what’s not. That goes for politics as well, you might surmise. I’ve been educated to make judgment calls for myself based on things like evidence and according to things like reason and logic. Crazy, I know, but if a scientist who’s spent her entire career studying this one thing tells me that A is happening and can present a plethora of evidence to bolster her case with which 980,000/1,000,000 of her colleagues concur, chances are I’m going to listen to her. 

Not that the above has anything to do with climate change — of course not. This isn’t a partisan letter. But listen to me GOP. I’m the kind of guy you want to count in your voter column. First of all, I’m white. I’m really really white, like turns pink after 20 minutes in the sun white. Also I’m a dude. Dude. I like sports too. Really like sports. I know more about the Bulls, Cubs and Packers than any member of your conference. Paul Ryan could walk on the House floor in foamish cheese, but I guarantee he couldn’t name the receiver of Brett Favre’s first game-winning touchdown pass (Kitrick Taylor and no I didn’t need to Google that). I work out. I graduated summa cum laude from an Ivy League school and live in the Midwest. I care about fiscal responsibility and the structural deficit, I’m anti-war, but staunchly support the fearless women and men who serve under our flag and banners. I’m theoretically your boy.

Yet I don’t and won’t vote for you. I could get into why I worked my ass off for John Kerry in 2004 and worked and donated to the President’s (like it or not, he is the President of the United States, wasn’t born in Kenya, isn’t a secret Muslim and even if he were, why would it matter?) 2008 and 2012 campaigns. You can check the records; I didn’t have much to give, but I gave what I could. Here’s why I won’t vote Republican. Number one, your party refuses to recognize me as a human being. I might do all the things that white Republicans do, but I’m a gay man. I dig fit, sort-of-nerdy, intelligent, funny boys in the area of my 27 years. I don’t like being told by family or friends or just random people that there’s something wrong with me or that I should change who I am to fit a political profile. I have friends and family as well, mind you, who don’t stand for discrimination against me for whom I love and won’t vote for a party that stands for the institutionalization of such discrimination. You feel me? If you want to win more voters, stop hating on LGBTQIA people and please don’t propose or stand in the way of any legislation that expands LGBTQIA rights. They are that, dear Republicans, rights.

Furthermore — because this is an important point — you are a secular party in a secular nation. We are not an evangelical Christian nation, nor are we a Christian nation whatsoever. And before you demonize me as a heathen GOP/Fox, let me just say that I know my Bible and read it frequently. I also know my Qu’ran and Torah and Bhagavad Gita and Buddhist Scriptures and Kabbalah and Sufi texts, because I don’t believe faith exists in one tradition only, and that the path to the divine consists of more forks than there are stars in the sky. All of which is to say that the version of faith your party presents as the one true path to what you believe is yours and your only conception of “God” is complete rubbish. You have to embrace multiple faiths if you ever want to win an election again.

Beyond even that, Republicans. There are people in the United States who aren’t white. Shocking, I know, but even among my 20-something friends, I know and love just as many people who came from the Philippines, Mexico, Vietnam, China, Japan, Yemen, Niger, as those from Indiana, Oklahoma, Idaho and Maine. We’re a nation of many many faces, many backgrounds, many stories — denying the validity of those stories cheapens this country and makes a laughingstock out of your purported politics.

Dear GOP, you need to grow. It’s 2013, not 1913. We’re a nation of many. We bless diversity, we celebrate it. What do you stand for? If it’s exclusion of gender equality, history is not on your side. If it’s exclusion of racial minorities, you’re just plain wrong. You can do this. Embrace the new world we live in (where I’m treated as a person) and relish the 21st century. 

~ by Benji on January 27, 2013.

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