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I've spent a lot of time today, both on here and on Facebook, complaining about how it took his own son coming out for Senator Rob Portman of Ohio to support marriage equality. The severely localized nature of conservative empathy annoys the hell out of me. But I realized something just now. Come with me below the Orange Squiggle of Understanding...

This is going to be a short diary...probably it "isn't a diary" or at least will be called that. But it's something that I feel has to be said.

When the 200-odd Republican FORMER (with the exception of two Congresspersons from Republican but relatively liberal districts) officials (elected or appointed) submitted their brief to the SCOTUS advocating marriage equality (or at least the overturn of DOMA), I ranted about how they didn't have the nerve to do so while they were still active in politics, instead supporting the Republican party's official stance against the issue. What cowards! What moral midgets! Why couldn't they care more about other people than their own sycophantic careers?!

And now Rob Portman has come out as supporting marriage equality and I spend hours today thinking down at him because he didn't come to the realization until his own son came out as gay. Now, Republican localization of empathy is a problem, I'm not letting go of that belief. It leads to the vast majority of political problems we're having today. And that was my focus on this news item for most of the day today.

However, I realized...Senator Portman is actually DOING what I was wishing the Republicans who sent the brief to the SCOTUS had done. He's taking this risk WHILE HE'S STILL CAPABLE OF BEING HURT by it, professionally. He's actually putting his mouth where the smart money isn't, on the gamble that the GOP will be generally more liberal on this issue by the time he has to face his next primary. That's pretty courageous, especially for a relatively young senator. He could easily keep his mouth shut and glide on into another several decades in high political office. But his love for his son and his son's equality made him speak up.

For that, I'm not going to grumble about Republican localization of empathy (at least on the subject of Portman's "conversion" on this issue) and instead simply say, "Thank you, Senator."

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The last time the Republicans were this radical, they were working to elect former slaves to Congress. What a difference a century and a half makes!

    by jayjaybear on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 02:05:36 PM PDT

  •  Yeah...but... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    He's known about his son for two years.  Back when he thought he might be Romney's GOP nominee, he kept his mouth shut.  If he'd said something THEN, your argument about him doing the right thing despite his party would have more weight.

    "Local empathy" is just another word for narcissism.  That's what the Ayn Rand "philosophy" is all about, and it's what modern Republicanism is all about.  If he loses the next primary, he'll just get a mega-dollar job in some right-wing organization, or in industry.

    It's still all about narcissism.

    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Arthur C. Clarke

    by mathGuyNTulsa on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 02:31:30 PM PDT

  •  He evolved,now on to the next one.Watch his votes. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jayjaybear, bill warnick

    If we don't allow for bigots to repent, what is the point in them even trying? Surely he isn't the only Republican with gay family and friends. Hopefully this will allow others to evolve.

    "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

    by sebastianguy99 on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 02:39:19 PM PDT

  •  A Lot Less Pussyish than Obama on this one (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Both guys I imagined have supported gay marriage for a long time, middle aged people don't suddenly change their views on anything like that ever.  Good for Portman for doing a decent thing though.

    Always remember, people suck.

    by skidrow on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 03:10:26 PM PDT

  •  I've been predicting this (0+ / 0-)

    A number of republicans with national ambitions are going to moderate on social issues as they see it as a way to neutralize democratic advantages in swing states.  All the while, they will goosestep rightward on economic and environmental policy.  Hopefully progressive-leaning but low-engagement voter types don't fall for the shtick.  

    Political compass: -8.75 / -4.72

    by Mark Mywurtz on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 02:09:10 AM PDT

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