I'm friends with a number of conservatives. Of course, the conservatives I'm friends with are of my generation, which is a different kind of conservative than our parents. Still batshit crazy on economic issues, but progressive on issues like choice and LGBT equality. So hey, they might want to decimate Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, but by God they think women should have the right to choose and gay people should be able to get married.
Now, as an LGBT person and as somebody to whom reproductive freedom is very important even though I'll never have to have an abortion, this is the kind of conservative I'd rather face if given the choice. But obviously, the Republican Party isn't there. Nor do I think it will be there in the very near future. The man running on the Republican ticket is staunchly anti-choice, thinks Roe v. Wade should be overturned, supports enshrining anti-gay bigotry in the United States freaking Constitution, and doesn't even support basic civil unions or (unless he has flip-flopped behind the scenes) federal-level employment protections for LGBT people. On the "social issues" (I hate that term) supposedly important to these young conservatives, the Romney-Ryan ticket is so extreme it's not even funny.
But who do you think my conservative friends are planning to vote for? You guessed it. Follow me below the fold.
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I've had conversations with my conservative friends about this. How can they reconcile their pro-equality beliefs with voting for a man so staunchly anti-equality and anti-woman? I have gotten a few different answers. It's the economy. It's the budget. Romney wants to slash domestic spending and "balance the budget" (LOL). And anyway, it's not like Romney is going to actually do anything to hurt women or LGBT people, right? He probably doesn't even believe what he says. A female conservative friend of mine who is voting for Romney said Roe v. Wade is important to her, but it's never going to be overturned (seriously).
Here's the reality. First of all, Roe v. Wade is hanging by a thread. That's not fearmongering, that's just how it fucking is. A couple of Supreme Court justices nominated by the anti-Roe Romney administration, and it's cooked. It's back to pre-1973 when it comes to abortion. Any other reading of the situation is seeping with denial and delusion.
The reality is that Mitt Romney, according to his own spokesperson, does not support federal-level hospital visitation rights for gay and lesbian couples. Hell, he thinks of them as "benefits," not rights. You know, the same hospital visitation rights President Obama extended. I mean, this is basic shit. Sarah freaking Palin even voiced support for allowing gays and lesbians to visit their partners in the hospital. Now that I'm in a committed relationship, I can start to comprehend the horror a little more clearly--I can't fathom something happening to the guy I love and then being barred from even seeing him as he possibly lay dying in a hospital room. That's the sickest kind of cruel. But that's Mitt Romney's position. It's a state issue. With the stroke of a pen, a President Mitt Romney can and will rescind those basic rights for gay and lesbian couples.
Compare all of that with a President who will appoint justices to the Supreme Court who will uphold and protect the right to privacy and actually believes women should be treated equally. With a President who has not only extended hospital visitation rights for gay and lesbian couples, but also signed into law an LGBT-inclusive hate crimes bill, repealed DADT, declined to defend DOMA in court, and made history by coming out in favor of marriage equality. With a President who yesterday came out very publicly in support of marriage equality in four states. On "social issues" these conservatives supposedly hold dear, the choice could not possibly be starker.
I suppose I can understand not being able to vote for President Obama if you're a conservative. Not that I can understand how one can be conservative on economic issues and want to slash social programs while increasing the military budget, but I get that these people do not support the President's policies. I'm not even asking them to vote for President Obama. But what I can't wrap my head around is that these "socially liberal" conservatives will throw their LGBT friends and family members, the women in their lives, and possibly themselves under the bus and vote for Mitt Romney. And why? Because their twisted view of what the economy should look like is "more important." Tax policy and the budget are "more important" than people being able to enjoy the same rights and benefits as everybody else. "More important" than having the right to a safe abortion. "More important" than being afforded the basic dignity that comes with being able to see your partner in the hospital.
These are civil rights. This is basic equality we're talking about. Even if you support all of the other awful things Romney wants to do to this country, how can you justify voting against your friends, your family members, yourself?
Things I'll never understand. Things I don't particularly want to understand.
It's going to be quite awkward in some of my social circles after Election Day.