Obviously, I’m a liberal. Sure, I understand the Republican and Libertarian impulse to let people stand on their own, to allow everyone to be the captain of his or her own ship: it’s a nice sentiment, one that acknowledges free will and encourages independence.
Only problem is, most of the Republicans and Libertarians I know are white folks who were born with a leg up. They may not be terrifically well educated, and they may not live in the fanciest neighborhoods, but they’re very happy with what they have, and they’ll go to great lengths to protect it.
Many of the Democrats I know are also white folks who are happy with what they have. The difference is, they’re typically willing to share. No, things don’t always play out that way in practice — the political machines of both major parties have their own, convoluted agendas. However, underlying the Democratic ethos is the notion of helping others. And that, to me, is everything.
I’m not saying that people should be able to sit back and relax and let the government pay for bonbons and hookah parlors. But not everyone is cut out to care for him or herself. Some need a gentle push, some need help coordinating a game plan, and some need daily assistance. The Calvinist work ethic is fine — it’s been drilled into me all my life — but I know for a fact that some people can’t handle that much responsibility.
On the other hand…I don’t like the fact that my voting patterns are predetermined by political affiliation. It would be nice to be able to vote for a Republican, if the situation arose. Unfortunately, the GOP social agenda makes that impossible — and I’m not just talking about their opposition to equal rights for LGBT citizens, even though that’s the part that affects me most directly. Until the party moves beyond that Religious Right crap — which has only been adopted into the platform to appeal to the god-fearing base — they can count me out.
Given the current crop of leaders, progress doesn’t seem possible. But there may be hope down the line. Here’s a bit from John McCain’s daughter, Meghan, speaking about former Miss California and current anti-gay activist, Carrie Prejean. Prejean’s eight recently unearthed sex tapes are causing quite a stir in the media, but not among Republicans who want to make her their pretty posterchild:
The problem I have with my fellow Republicans is why gay marriage is the trump card in any situation. It seems that as long as you are against gay marriage, any scandal in your life can be overlooked or overcome. When you are in favor of it, however—and I have been very vocal about my support—that position defines you. [Towleroad]
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Why can’t the Republicans read the tea leaves and tout McCain as the face of the GOP’s future instead of the far-less-interesting, far-less-thoughtful, backwards-looking Prejean? Oh, wait: I think I just answered my own question.