the trouble with politics

I’ve been trying my best to stay away from politics lately – surprisingly because I feel like it’s really starting to affect how I view the people around me who continue to support the other party these days.

I consider myself to be a democrat, and although I certainly think that President Obama has made his share of blunders throughout the last four years, there’s simply no way that I could ever vote for Mitt Romney because frankly, he scares the living hell out of me.  He kind of reminds me of that rich, old man from Monopoly, if the Monopoly guy was also an arrogantly oblivious prick, anyways.  Everything is about money in his world and people need to fend for themselves, even though he was born into money himself and has never had to want a day in his life.  I don’t understand how anyone who doesn’t have millions in the bank thinks that he’s out for their best interests, and I’d honestly rather go back to President Bush than try to imagine four years of a Romney presidency.

Bush may have started two wars that we couldn’t afford, but at least he wasn’t at war with the idea of spending money on our own people here at home, too.

But I think what bothers me the most about how politics have divided our populace over the last few years is that the more I hear Romney & Ryan talk about their own policies should they get elected, I feel bad about it … but it’s actually driving me to start to look down upon my own friends and family for continuing to support a ticket that’s just so blatantly and fundamentally against the things that I personally believe in myself.  I certainly don’t want it to be that way, but when I hear that somebody is a Romney supporter these days, what that translates to me is somebody who…

  • doesn’t believe that a woman has the right to choose for her own body
  • doesn’t believe that gay people deserve the same rights as straight people
  • doesn’t believe that people should be able to go to the doctor when they get sick without worrying about whether they can afford it
  • thinks that everyone who takes advantage of social programs like unemployment and food stamps is a bunch of freeloaders who just don’t want to work
  • believes that private business can do just about anything better than the government can

I’ve heard people say, “It’s just politics – don’t take it personally…” but how can I not take it personally to know that some of my loved ones honestly believe that their own religious beliefs should trump the personal choice of millions of women throughout the country when it comes to decisions made about their own bodies?

How am I supposed to hold respect for someone who doesn’t believe that everyone should have equal access to something as fundamentally important as healthcare because damn it, “If they just worked harder like the rest of us have, then maybe they could have better things for themselves, too … and besides, the ER is still there if they need it.”  In the five years that my wife and I have been married, we’ve had several ER visits that have resulted in thousands of dollars in hospital bills that have been huge setbacks to us, and we have insurance, so I couldn’t even begin to imagine trying to care for your family without.

How can I, in good conscience, chat with an old friend who so openly and passionately believes that gay people are an abomination and most definitely do not deserve something as inalienable as equal rights in this day and age?  I mean, today we look back with regret and embarrassment at those days when other ethnicities and members of the opposite sex were marginalized and cruelly treated as second-class citizens, and yet there are still those who harbor with an ugly vengeance those very same types of beliefs against a subset of the population whose only difference is that they were born with an attraction to the same sex.

The truth of the matter is that politics today are more personal than ever and like it or not, who we vote for really is a statement of our character to the rest of the world that holds ramifications long after a winner has officially been declared.  People need to understand that the decisions they make in the voting booth based on their own personal beliefs do have direct consequences for other Americans, and whether you want to acknowledge it or not, denying people their rights and being apathetic towards the sick and the poor have just never been admirable traits to boast.

Now how I’m supposed to just overlook these traits that have made themselves present in some of my closest of family and friends who are ready and eager to vote for the candidate who proudly shares all of these views next month, well, I guess I’m not quite sure how that one works yet…

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