Warning: Political rant ahead! Skip if you’re not in the mood.
I keep getting e-mails from people in which they apologize for being Republicans, like they expect me to shun them or something. Do I give off some sort of intolerant vibe? Really, folks, you’re perfectly entitled to your opinion. I won’t bite your head off. I have no problem with people who think differently from me… as long as they can back up those beliefs. You have to have done your homework. You have to support your position. If you support Bush because your family has always been Republican, or because he’s got a Southern accent, or because he constantly invokes God, then I’m sorry but I think you’re an idiot. If you’ve got a concrete reason – like you run a corporation, or you’re a gun lobbyist, or you’re a homophobic religious fundamentalist – then I guess I can understand it. But for the average American trying to get by on the average American wage, I just don’t get it. What has he done that was actually good for you? Jobs are being lost, freedoms are being restricted, and soldiers are dying. Who could possibly think these are good things? I’m honestly asking here. I’ll even play along myself. Here are my complaints about Dubya:- Attacks on women’s reproductive rights. I support a woman’s right to end a pregnancy. It’s a hard choice and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but I think it should be available. (Full disclosure: I helped a friend procure an abortion in the UK. She made a stupid mistake and it would have ruined her life. I don’t regret it for a second and I’m profoundly thankful that it happened in a country where she had access to the procedure.) Not only is he trying to appease the religious wackos by limiting our rights in the US, but he’s exporting those beliefs to other countries. The fact that he withdrew funding for international women’s clinics because they provide abortion information is repugnant. There is an AIDS epidemic in Africa. They don’t need a white guy on the other side of the country telling them that his God doesn’t want them to have sex; they need cheap access to condoms and medical help.
– The whole Iraq fiasco. Yeah, Saddam Hussein sucked and he needed to be removed. No one disputes that. However, there never was any link between Saddam and what happened on 9/11. He had nothing to do with it. He might have cackled evilly over his morning tea when he read about it, but that’s it. The fact that a majority of Americans still think there was some sort of link astonishes me. Bush and cronies completely manipulated the 9/11 tragedy to advance a pet grudge. They ignored the UN and then later had the gall to ask them for help when the situation turned ugly. They completely overstated the case for weapons of mass destruction and are now desperately trying to backpedal (even engaging in character assassination on the few occasions someone’s broken ranks to speak publicly). Over 600 US soldiers have died (and thousands of Iraqis), yet the administration refuses to let the coffins be photographed for fear the public will suddenly realize that it’s not just a number. He completely squandered all the good will we had after the 9/11 tragedy (I’ve been overseas the whole time; I saw it happen with my own eyes) and set us up as the swaggering egotistical cowboy asshat of the world. We are less safe than we were a year ago.
– Restrictions on stem cell research. Remember when America was on the cutting-edge of science and technology? Now we’re the laughingstock of the world. We have the means and the opportunity to completely eradicate many diseases and change the lives of thousands of affected people, but our researchers are hamstrung by Bush’s religious convictions about a lump of undifferentiated cells. Reminds me of those deliberate know-nothings in Kansas who tried to outlaw the teaching of evolution.
– The economy. Yes, the economy is cyclical. Yes, Bush can’t be held personally responsible for the entire economic slowdown post 9/11. That still doesn’t mean he’s been doing a good job. He gave $300 tax rebates as a meaningless feel-good gesture that we can’t afford. He promised job growth but has not delivered. He got us involved in a costly war overseas that shows every sign of devolving into a big ol’ mess. His administration has been extremely lax in prosecuting corporate fat cats like Ken Lay of Enron (who Bush initially denied knowing, despite having called him a friend on previous occasions). The rich love Bush; they’re getting richer every day. The poor are worse off than they’ve ever been. Those in the middle aspire to be the rich and disdain the poor, so they ignore the unemployment rate and plummeting dollar as long as there’s somebody worse off than them. Bush vacations at the “ranch” and plays like he’s one of the good ol’ boys to disguise the fact that he’s an uppity East Coast silver-spoon rich kid who never worked a day in his life.
– The proposed Constitutional “Hetero Marriage” Amendment. This makes me so mad I could spit. Whether you like gays or think they’re all going to hell, America is founded on the principle that all people are created equal. It doesn’t matter what your religion says. I’m an atheist with no plans to have children, yet I could fly to Vegas tomorrow and get married. Meanwhile a Unitarian gay couple that want only to be accepted and start a family are not. It’s discrimination, pure and simple. If some people are allowed to shack up and get special legal status, everybody else should be able to as well. Personally, I’d be happiest if they completely removed the legal status of marriages and introduced civil unions for everybody. Want a big church wedding? Go right ahead. You won’t get the legal benefits unless you do the civil thing too. This is the big issue for me, to be honest. I have a hard time understanding why any intelligent person would argue against letting gays marry. It sounds as stupid to me as arguing against interracial marriage.
I could go on and on. Note: I’ve never said that John Kerry is absolutely perfect either. In fact, he agrees with Bush on a disturbing number of issues. But the fact remains that he’s the only alternative, and he is definitely the lesser of two evils.
Republicans and Bush supporters are welcome to defend their guy in the comments below, but I reserve the right to mock you if you can’t make a reasoned (and legible) argument.