I imagine everyone is tired of this election. It’s been longer than usual, and seems even longer. I think itt’s also been particularly malicious.
If you follow me on Facebook, or read my posts, you know of my interest in politics. (I once worked in a Presidential campaign.) I advocate for numerous matters important to me, and write often about the unhealthy alliance of right-wing politics and Fundamental Christianity.
Picking a candidate, especially for the highest office, is complex. Each of us probably have things we see as important. We might have a few things we think are essential.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the Values Voter Summit that challenges citizens to vote their core values. Of course, if you follow this annual event as I do, it’s clear those who organize the conference would define “values” solely in the restrictive terms of being politically “conservative” and (Fundamentalist) Christian. And if attendees were unsure what those values were, one of opening speakers made it clear: abortion, marriage, public acknowledgment of religion, judicial nominations and support for Israel. According to him, these are God's priorities.
(Obviously, those with other values are not...valued.)
From (so, so man) discussions about politics, I also know that some have ONE issue that’s crucial to them—their litmus test for voting. Basically, the idea is “I will not vote for any candidate who doesn’t support and/or advocate about this single issue.” (e.g., their Party, defense, guns, an expressed Christian faith, abortion)
I’ve actually had folks accuse me of supporting a candidate solely out of Party Affiliation or simply because of (as one person put it) “the gay thing.”
In other words, I’ve been accused of being a “single-issue voter.”
And you know what?
I am a one-issue voter.
But while I am a Democrat, and I am gay, neither are the primary (pardon the pun) criterion. It's much broader.
For me, that one, over-riding single issue is...Human Rights!
I find it difficult to discuss any of the serious, pressing problems in our country without viewing it through this lens. All the values I take with me when I vote are connected, even those informed by my deep, longtime Christian faith. Education, employment, living wage, marriage, housing, food, racial justice, death penalty, healthcare, gun control, peace, equal pay.
These are all Human Rights.
And I’ll take it one step farther.
It’s this single issue, which encompasses my core values and my faith, that prevents me from voting for anyone in the Republican Party. When I see their legislation, when I listen to their rhetoric and particularly when I read their 2016 Party Platform, they are abysmal when it comes to Human Rights.
They claim to be the Party of “family values” but obviously only certain families. Those families outside their norm are demonized and ostracized.
They stress the First Amendment’s freedom of religion, as long as it’s defined as their freedom to impose their religion. They are committed to codifying their beliefs to allow discrimination of those who don’t share those beliefs.
They brag about their Christian faith, while advocating policies the One they claim to follow would never condone, and ignoring (oppressing, harming) the very people He said were most important.
They scream about “right to life,” but obviously “Life” doesn’t include programs that help actually ensure that people live: food, healthcare, housing, employment. The “right to life” seems to exclude anyone who’s gay, black, Transgender, Muslim or killed by an assault weapon.
They want “small government” when it comes to helping the most vulnerable, but insist it has to be BIG enough to monitor and regulate the “sins,” religious practices, or behaviors of those they dislike, distrust or despise.
They talk about “fiscal responsibility” while refusing to be responsibility for those most in need of financial assistance—the poor, the hungry, the homeless, veterans...the “less than.” They object to spending for social programs, but will allocate exorbitant amounts of money on the military and war, with a nationalistic authoritarian stance that borders on totalitarianism. If they don't get their way, their high-minded sense of "fiscal responsibility" will shut down the government, causing great harm to the national economy and hurting many people.
When it comes to education, they’ve turned their back on science in matters ranging from Climate Change to Biology to History to Psychology. They want textbooks to present the religious concept of a literal, six-day, divine “Creation.” They reject any idea of sexual orientation beyond heterosexuality and promote the discredited, dangerous practices of Conversion or Reparative Therapy. They deny the reality of Gender identity, except (it seems) when it comes to a “boys will be boys” mentality of masculinity.
They talk of women’s bodies as if they’d been instructed by male cave dwellers, saying the most ludicrous, asinine, outdated and offensive things about such personal matters as reproduction, birth control, the right to choose or sexual assault.
Even in the midst of multiple mass shootings, including children, they have sided with the powerful gun lobby rather than consider sensible gun control laws.
For me, these are violations of Human Rights!
Moreover, I see their Presidential Nominee as the malevolent embodiment of the worst aspects of this once-great Party. He promises to "make America great," but he doesn’t include all Americans. He demeans women, blacks, Muslims, people with disabilities, the military, Veterans/Heroes, overweight people and anyone who disagrees with him.
History has shown us his temperament.
He is arrogant, hyper-sensitive, crude and petulant, lashing out at anyone who annoys him with tirades of insults, innuendos, outright lies and threats of retaliation. He is an arrogant demagogue who likes to brag, but he is not a leader.
Certainly he is not qualified to not be President.
He should not be President!
Yes, I do see myself as a “values voter.”
I have values, and they influence my vote.
Am I a one-issue voter?
I always vote for Human Rights.