I live in a swing state. Enough said really, but I will go on.
I am also in the minority among my boyfriend, our assorted friends, his family, and many in my family. For the past few months, whenever political conversations arise, the elephant (or donkey) in the room meanders in . . . . yes, I am a Democrat.
In non-election years, revealing such personal facts can be skillfully avoided, but it is nearly impossible these days. It seems every conversation in a swing state turns into an opportunity for a political jab or commentary. What has been most difficult for me, is constantly being on the defensive, with no one to tag team into the debate when you are tired of fighting. Heck, I found it easier to live in a red state surrounded by people I didn’t agree with, because no one argued . . . they just assumed you were on their bandwagon too. What frustrates me endlessly, is that I get into these heated conversations with “the opposition,” and my emotions take over. I get angry, but want to avoid conflict and pissing off people that I care about . . . so I turn passive aggressive or silent. The formulation of my views is then framed with this anger/passive aggression filled emotion and doesn’t take on logic. So this musing is dedicated to describing why I identify as a Democrat as of today, and why I am voting for Barack Obama again in 2012. Here goes . . .
- I am not a Democrat because I hate capitalism. I like capitalism, but I also understand that capitalism is built to have winners and losers. I also believe that some people, such as myself, my brothers, my friends, and on a grander scale, Mitt Romney already had a leg up in the battle simply because of who we were born to (i.e. married, college educated individuals). For those that are the losers in the capitalism game, I believe government is there to give them a leg up and help them when they are down or need a jump start. This leads me to my next point . . .
- I am not a Democrat because I think people are entitled to a free ride. I do believe that people are entitled to equal opportunities, respect dignity, food, shelter, and health care. I am not saying that the entitlement programs in this country are perfect and functioning as intended. However, I do think they have value, and they are worthy continuing with reforms to encourage people to fight for themselves. Being treated like a person and having your basic needs met are not a privilege.
- I am not a Democrat because I hate business and money, yet love taxes and regulations. News flash . . . I am in the business world. I work for “the man.” Business creates opportunities and jobs. Everything is a business really, and it is a fascinating world. However, you can’t let business just go do their own thing. People are inherently greedy, and try to circumvent the system for personal gain. Businesses do take advantage of their employees and every little loophole they can find to help the bottom line. You can’t really blame them. Regulations are there for protection in general. Again . . . not saying all regulations are perfect, or necessary . . . but in general I do think capitalistic enterprises need to be kept in check. Maybe that’s why I am an auditor. Finally . . . taxes . . . am I the only one that understands you need to pay taxes to keep your country going? Businesses would sure be pissed if the infrastructure under them crumbled or quality public universities stopped providing them with quality employees (I am sure they would much appreciate a flood of University of Phoenix graduates!). I feel like paying taxes is part of my civic duty . . . I do feel I owe the government a certain amount for the constant protection from foreign and domestic enemies, the quality education I was afforded, the public emergency services that are at my finger tips, the well preserved national parks, and the infrastructure that has afforded me to explore the great country. Privatize all that for me Republicans. When you do that, these institutions of life stop serving the people, and start serving themselves and shareholders who just want profits!
- I am not a Democrat because I hate babies. While I have often uttered the phrase, “I hate babies,” this is not a full truth. I say this because I am personally terrified of having a baby. Mostly because I am afraid I would screw it up. What I do believe, is actually very conservative here . . . less government . . . i.e. no government making decisions in my or my fellow ladies’ wombs. I have always found it quite ironic that people who advocate for less government in their businesses, have no problem expanding it to be in my lady parts. Crazy isn’t it? I also find it funny, that these people want to protect all lives; however, they do NOT want to support the social programs that would be necessary if you made a woman keep a child she could not support or did not want to support. A life is precious, until it needs government support apparently. Also, to be quite radical, I am sure instituting a ban on abortions would not only increase costs for social programs . . . it would likely increase crime (as theorized in a little book called Freakonomics), therefore increasing the costs of housing more criminals. PLUS, factor in the likely unplanned children of these unplanned children. This is my appeal to fiscal conservatives to join the pro-choice bandwagon, but I know for many it is a religious thing. That’s cool. If you have a problem with it, don’t do it . . . but please don’t apply your moral truth to everyone out there . . . remember, they are allowed to have their laws free of your personal religious beliefs because we have a separation clause. On a final note, we could avoid this all by more actively promoting prevention in the form of education and birth control. We are humans, and that is science. Humans get pleasure from sex, so people won’t stop doing it . . . no matter what their preacher tells them on Sunday.
- I am not a Democrat because I hate traditional marriage. I want to have a traditional marriage someday, but I am not really sure how letting two guys or two girls get married would impact the sanctity of my marriage . . . oh that’s because IT WOULD NOT. There are two types of marriage in this world (1) the religious ceremony of marriage and (2) the legal document and ceremony of marriage. You have never been required to have a religious heterosexual marriage ceremony to obtain the legal document of marriage, so why do you insist that our legal rules must follow that the “rules” (although I have a strong objection to that term as a Christian) of the Bible to get a legal marriage? The way I see it, keep church and state separate. The church can object to marrying a gay couple if they want, but in the eyes of the government, this liberty should be afforded to anyone who wants to make that commitment to another person. Why is this such a big deal in 2012 . . . why are people so closed minded? To me this is basic civil rights, and if we don’t have equality in our marriage laws, this is just as bad as segregating our buses, restaurants, or schools. Also, our civil rights bill should be amended to include sexual orientation and gender identity as a protected classes . . . seriously . . . when will people figure out we are all human beings and deserve equal treatment under the law? This seems pretty easy considering everyone knows the Golden Rule, “treat others how you would like to be treated.” That’s a pretty ancient philosophy, and it’s time we act on it.
- I am not a Democrat because I have no morals and hate rich people. See points above. I think they are all relevant. I would love to be a rich person someday, and I think I have pretty solid morals. That description of a Democrat doesn’t fly for me.
- I am not a Democrat because I love to just spend, spend, spend . . . the more wasteful the better. I am actually relatively cheap, but both in my personal life and in my political ideology, I do think prudent spending is wise and necessary. I am in no way saying Democrats are always good at this, but I don’t think Republicans can claim to be great at this either. We are just reflecting our consumption economy. There are definitely things that could be done more efficiently in the public sector, and I think Republicans are a great help at finding these. I am all for acting on fixing these efficiencies when they don’t take away from serving the people of the country . . . i.e. Obamacare is not on my chopping block, because I think affordable health care is a benefit that all should have access too. I do not see this as wasteful government spending.
- I am not a Democrat because it’s hip, young, and because all my friends are. In fact, it is quite opposite. I have thought about my positions long and hard, and I have had to stand firm in my convictions all by myself a lot lately. I have felt demonized, diminished, and judged more than not. I can hardly say that is the easy “hip” thing to do.
After all this reflection, I am standing by my choice to support Barack Obama for a second term. He most closely aligns with my ideals and that’s what it is about for me. The world won’t end if Mitt is elected (especially since he is probably more moderate than he would like to admit), and I will respect him as my President if the day comes. However, I won’t stop fighting for my core beliefs even if it is an uphill battle.