This post has been a very long time coming. You see, I used to be a Republican.
Growing up, I felt like I should have been born a girl. But, there was no way I could solve that problem. So, I decided that I had to be the best “guy” I could be. This was the 80’s. I’m a child of the Reagan years. Conservatives were strong an confident. Reagan and Thatcher were fighting those evil communists on the other side of the world.
I was determined to be the best Republican I could be. Alex Keaton was my favorite tv show character. I remember being upset when my mom wouldn’t buy me Slippers with Ronald and Nancy Reagan heads on them. I saw myself going into business or running for office. I studied the campaigns of my favorite politicians. I had it bad.
But, as I got older, the anxiety related to my gender dysphoria grew. So much so, that I couldn’t attend high school classes. I often times found myself listening to Rush Limbaugh in my car. After I graduated, I was paralyzed by the anxiety and couldn’t attend college classes. I joined the Navy to get out of my small hometown and try to prove that I was really a man.
At the same time I was struggling, the Republicans started getting invaded by the religious right. Everything I had seen in politics before the early 90’s had shown that religion was a very personal thing. But, there in front of me on TV were people like Ralph Reed encouraging Christians of all faiths to actively involve themselves in politics.
I’ve never understood religion. I don’t dislike religious people. I just don’t get it. I could tolerate religious people in my party just fine if they hadn’t been so anti-gay. By the time I was in the Navy for a couple of years, I had a couple of gay friends. They talked about it not being a choice for them. And I knew that it wasn’t a choice for me to be this way.
I was so disenchanted by politics in 2008, that I didn’t vote. I was disgusted by both sides. I was also torn. I couldn’t even say the word Democrat without cringing. Even though by then it was more than clear that they were the side to vote for if you favor LGBT rights. But, I still clung to my non-social conservative views on fiscal and defense policies.
Over the last four years, I’ve taken some time to look back at the last 12 years. I voted for Bush 43 twice. And yet, I hated his fiscal policies. And the Republicans in Congress never met a spending bill they didn’t like.
When this campaign started, I didn’t know much about Mitt Romney. Like a lot of people, he seemed like a moderate. He was at least partly responsible for RomneyCare in Massachusetts. I knew he was in charge the Salt Lake City Olympics. And I knew he was a Mormon. I must confess my attention wasn’t always on him during the primaries. I was busy trying to make sure the candidate wouldn’t be right wing wacko Rick Santorum. But, as soon as the primaries were over and the conventions began, I started seeing who Mitt Romney truly was. I could go on and on showing links to stories showing how much Romney has changed his position here and there. But, by now that would be like beating a dead horse. We all know the issues. I just can’t fathom electing a man to the highest office in our land who can’t give us a straight answer. Now come on. I know we’re talking about politicians here. They all lie at least a little bit. But, Mitt Romney has changed his opinion on so many core beliefs, I don’t really know if he isn’t a psychopath. I’m not a religious person. But, if there is a soul, does he even have one?
The other aspect of my decision making recently has been how the Republicans have demonized Obama. The Senate Leader, Mitch McConnell once said that it was his job to make sure none of Obama’s policies passed his chamber. And sure enough, that has almost clearly been the case over the last two to three years. There is so much vitriol on the tongues of some on the right, that I can’t help but wonder if they are racists.
Everything I’ve seen from President Obama over the last four years shows me that he does have convictions. I believe he is a good man. He’s a little too liberal for me on fiscal policies. But, he’s no where near as scary as the right would have you believe. I will admit seeing throngs of people at campaign rallies in 2008 cheering “Yes we can” being a big turn off for me. They looked like throngs of zombies ready to jump to their deaths if they were told too. What can I say? I’m not a joiner. I like to have the facts.
So, I’m not entirely enthused with voting for Obama. But, I will be voting for him this Tuesday. At this point in my life, I have to say that by doing so, I am doing it as a protest vote against the social conservatives who want to take us back to a time of pretending LGBT people don’t exist. I don’t want our country to go back there. We’ve made huge strides recently. We can’t go back. We won’t go back.
I have a friend who is very similar to me in our political beliefs. We sit very close on the political spectrum. She’s just a little left of me. Enough to call herself a Democrat. I don’t know where I’ll be in another four years. Will I be a registered Democrat? The more I think about politics, the easier that idea is too swallow. It’s up to the people in the Republican Party. If you want my vote back, stop listening to the social conservatives. The ball is in your court, you old white guys.