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A Sane Man’s Dilemma

A rather heated discussion erupted over on my Facebook Wall when I posted about a woman in South Carolina’s dog whistle statement about “Putting Juan Williams in his place.”  What came out of that was one Republican’s intense discomfort with the field with which he is presented, and reacting to the blanket statements that to vote Republican was to somehow prove you were a racist, bigot, etc.

I know when we hear select crowds at Republican debates cheering for executions, and booing a gay soldier, and cheering at the prospect of someone dying from lack of health care, and giving Gingrich a standing ovation when he makes thinly disguised racial comments, and cheering torture, we as Democrats and liberals want to react and say that this is the face of the Republican party.  It is certainly one face, but there are at least 20 million people in this country who identify as Republican, and not all of them are represented by those crowds at the debates.  My old law professor is a Republican, and I honor and respect him.  I also know he is deeply uncomfortable with where his party has moved.

There are many Republicans who are science fiction readers, and know that evolution is valid, and that teaching “intelligent design” in biology class would be like adding a section on comparative religion to a hard science class.

People who work with gay people or have gay family members, and know that a gay couple’s relationship is no threat to theirs.

Who understand that criminalizing abortion even in the case of rape and incest goes too far.  Who likes birth control and would like to keep using it.

Who know that using torture destroys the moral fabric of our nation.

Who aren’t racists.

But what are you going to do in November?  Are you going to vote for the Republican nominee?  Everyone of the remaining men in this race have said they are going to attempt to deny civil rights to gay and lesbian citizens.  They are going to force a victim of rape of incest to bear her abuser’s baby.  They are going to elevate myth and fantasy and place it in science classrooms.  All of them, save Ron Paul, endorse torture.  And claiming that, “well that will never happen” is a cop out.  That’s what they stand for.  Are you going to validate those positions by giving them your precious vote?

I hope not.  If those thinking Republicans can’t bring themselves to vote for a Democrat, or are unwilling to simply stay home (a course I do not recommend.  People have fought and died to secure and protect our right to vote), may I make another suggestion.  Consider Gary Johnson and the Libertarian ticket or the Greens though I suspect that would be more uncomfortable than voting for a Democrat.

My point is that if the Republican party is ever going to return as a viable counterweight to the Democratic party all the silent and uncomfortable conservatives need to make your voices heard.  Your party has been highjacked by people who claim to want small government, but will intrude in the most private arenas.  Who will give corporations carte blanche to ignore safety standards.  Who will endanger our troops and any other American who falls into enemy hands by supporting torture.

Don’t be part of that.  There is something to the old adage that you are judged by the company you keep.

4 Responses to A Sane Man’s Dilemma

  • Shelley Belsky says:

    Most sane Muslims repudiate the actions of the violent, soft target seeking killers who act in the name of a twisted version of their fate. They may not agree with them (some strongly) yet they will not bring them forward for justice. Pretty much the same with any group or religion.
    These actions transcend ideology. They go right to the defense of the brand (although there still hasn’t been a shooting war between Mac and PC users).

  • Steve Halter says:

    Well said Melinda. If moderate Republicans are truly unhappy with the direction their party has gone, then speaking up seems fairly mandatory.

  • Stephen Smoogen says:

    I spent a lot of time in the early 2000’s talking and speaking out that we had fallen off the path of moderate spending/taxation that we had a long time ago. But in the end, I had to leave because I was tired of being called a Republican In Name Only by people who had no idea what being a Republican years ago was about.

    In the end I fall back on what Lucas had Yoda say in about the only good line from the Phantom Menace. “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

    Most of the people yelling, booing etc are deep down afraid but can’t admit it or break out of the cycle because at some point they feel safer in it than outside of it. So as a former “moderate” (now considered left wing liberal) I will vote for the one that tells us how we can turn our budget around so that we can have a 800 billion dollar surplus per year to pay of most of our debt. I will vote for the one that doesn’t put others down to get ahead…

    Sigh I will probably vote for Gary Johnson.

  • Melindas says:

    To borrow a phrase from Bill Clinton — I feel your pain Stephen. It used to be I had numerous friends who were Republicans. Now the divide has become a chasm, and there’s no communication across it. I’m socially extremely liberal, but I’m a business woman — I manage a natural gas and oil company for crap sake. I understand the need to cut the debt. But not in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, and not on the backs of the poor and the middle class. We can make cuts to defense. We can look at means testing Social Security, we can close corporate loopholes and people can pay their fair share of taxes. Also, if we can get the economy growing and people working tax revenue will go up, and the debt will go down.

    And I completely agree that what is driving this hateful rhetoric is fear. I saw it in the faces of those older people at Tea Party rallies. I hear it from evangelicals. Yes, the world is changing, and nothing they do will stop that.

    The sad thing is that the actions of those crowds at the debates doing those horrible things makes me even less likely to interact with Republicans. I try to counter that by accepting opposing points of view here and on my wall so long as those opposing points are backed up with some actual facts. And the actions of so called Christians or Christianists as Andrew Sullivan calls them has me clenching my teeth, and seeing red when people say god bless me, or talk about their faith because they’ve all been tainted with the ugly brand of Christianity that attacks gays, and preaches the wealth doctrine. I am a secularist, but I’m a live and let live secularist. Anybody can believe any damn crazy thing they want as long as they don’t force it on me, or make laws based on their damn crazy beliefs.

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