I generally try not to define things in the negative; if you’re just “not” something, how do you ever know what you “are?” But, in this case, I think the Republicans have given me a pretty clear idea of what I am not, and that is (huge surprise to anyone who knows me) a Republican. (And yes, that is sarcasm. Come on people, I went to Wellesley – our mascot is the color blue. Literally.)
But, anyhow. I have shocked myself with my own political disinterest this election cycle. In 2008 I worked on the Obama campaign and went to the inauguration in DC, but this year, I couldn’t even bring myself to watch the Presidential Debates. Frankly, I have found myself to be a product of my generation – indifferent. Hopelessly, pointedly, actively, indifferent. Barack and his supporters email me at least five times per day, and I routinely delete anything from Jim Messina. But, one of these emails caught my eye this morning, and reminded me of why I chose this ignorance: that’s right. Because I cannot stand the face of the Republican party.
Bill and my Wellesley sister Hilary at the 2009 inauguration
Don’t get me wrong; I sincerely try to look past political affiliations when it comes to individuals, but there’s something about the last few years of politics that has made me completely loose respect for the Republican Party. Do I think that Barack Obama is the best President ever? No. Am I sick and tired of the partisanship and mudslinging that has defined American politics in my memory? Absolutely. Do I think that the Republican Party has a lot to offer? Yes. (Let’s be honest – our economy under Clinton was the best it’s been in ages. And yes, I am implying that Clinton had some serious Republican leanings, at least economically.)
Now, I could make a list of all the outrageously idiotic quotes from this campaign’s frontmen, but honestly, I say a lot of stupid stuff that could be twisted to make me sound like a bimbo, and I’d rather give these guys the benefit of the doubt. Maybe Romney had a serious point that got totally twisted by some vicious reporter when he said that he can’t make people take responsibility and care for their lives (doubtful), but there are some deeper issues at play that really offend me.
First and foremost: women’s rights. The Republican Party has always been an old (white) boys’ club, but the sheer idiocy in the debate about women’s rights is what truly offends me. I will very, VERY, begrudgingly understand if men support Republicans in this cycle, but I will automatically lose respect for any educated woman who votes red this year. Women are advancing, making huge strides in every sector, but somehow, old white dudes still think they have the right to tell us what, and what not, we can do with our bodies. I’m sorry, but would I ever tell a man that he has to take 75% of a year out of his life, put everything on hold, go through a horrific, unwanted, life-and-body-changing, and potentially life-threatening process (ie, pregnancy), when he had the option not to? And then, once we take away the option of abortion, we’re also going to take away birth control. Essentially what the Republican party is telling me is that I have no say in whether I get pregnant or not, and then, no say in if I keep the baby. This tells me that the men of the Republican party are so threatened by women actually getting to career-age and earning an education that they will do literally anything to keep them in the home with the children. Am I pro-abortion? Hells no. I pray to whatever is in the sky that no one I know ever has to have an abortion, but I will fight tooth and nail (literally, I would probably claw Paul Ryan’s face off) to defend my, and all of women’s, right to make that choice. Men have, and still do, controlled women’s rights for far too long. Men will probably never understand this, especially white men, but please, minorities, and women – how is this just? How could you ever believe in someone who refuses to grant you basic rights, or even think that it’s his responsibility to care for you? How is this even a 21st century debate? It’s nothing short of barbaric.
No birth control + no abortions + abstinence-only education results in one thing: lots of unwanted, uneducated, poor babies. And what happens to unwanted, uneducated babies? They become criminals, who land in our very, very overcrowded jails, muck up and slow down the judicial system, and ultimately create a huge cost for our federal and state governments. Read Freakonomics; abortions save the world from the unpredictable future of criminals-to-be.
My second point: Mitt Romney is not, and never will be, the face that I want to represent my country. Where was Ann Romney this summer? Watching her horses at the London Olympics. Yeah, her HORSES. This is not me, and this is not my generation. America is in turmoil, some of our biggest trading partners are heading for a huge economic crisis, and we’re looking to a couple of blue-bloods to save the day? I’m sorry, but these people haven’t fought for anything in their lives. Mitt Romney is from Mexico? What kind of stupid campaign bullshit is this? They symbolize the America of years past, maybe, but they will never, EVER, symbolize what my generation has, is, and will go through in our lifetimes.
I could go on, but frankly, I’ve done more political reading and thinking in the last three hours than the last three months, combined, and my coffee has gotten cold. America needs to change. Our political system needs to change. We need to drop the racial, socio-economic, and gender-based caste system that has developed and that will only crystalize if Republicans come to power. It’s time to move beyond our fears of socialism and use the government to help people within our country rather than continue our policies of enemy-making neo-imperialism that drain our resources and destroy our future.
Let’s work together, learn from one another, and respect each other, and create a new face for our country and our politics.