Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Advice to the GOP

I don't call myself a Democrat.  I call myself a liberal Independent.  I never voted for Bill Clinton.  I sat out the 1996 election, through a combination of avoiding the complicated absentee voter system and not liking either candidate.

And yet, since I started voting in 2000, I have yet to see a Republican candidate at the Federal level that I would vote for.  I clearly remember seeing one or two Republicans that I thought were the best choice at the state or local levels, but not federally.

Really, it comes down to three major things:

1) The GOP's disrespect for women.  Women's Issues Were a Problem for the GOP.

Women, like me, who have been pregnant:

Obamacare, which forces insurance companies to cover "pre-existing conditions" like Down Syndrome, Pregnancy, rape, and domestic violence.

Women, like me, who are the breadwinners for their family.  In whose stable, two-parent home and heterosexual marriage, it made more sense for my husband to stay home with the baby, and typically cook dinner.
Senate GOP Blocks Equal Pay Act for Women

I actually wrote to my Republican Senator asking him to support this bill.  He wrote me back with a letter that (paraphrased, since I'm not sure where it is right now) said that he was voting against Equal Pay because it would harm businesses.  Sorry, I'm not buying that.

'Binders,' cooking and equal pay: Did Romney undo gains with women voters?

As I posted on Facebook:
Stop telling me that I don't deserve to make as much money as the man in the next cube, even if I work just as hard and produce better results.  (Note that this is a conflation of events.)
Stop assuming that *I'M* the one who needs flexibility for my family. In my family, that's
 predominantly been Brian's role.
Stop saying *IF* there are going to be women in the workforce. I am the breadwinner for my family, and I need the Republicans to acknowledge my reality.

Republican Joe Walsh: abortions to save mother's life never necessary
I've been working on the post(s) to tell that story, but it's on FB and on Twitter.  7 years and 8 days ago, I had an abortion to save my life.  I was 10 weeks pregnant.

It happened "accidentally-on-purpose," with my husband.  And then I forgot about the possibility as we went through the Texas Tournament, the Hurricane Rita evacuation, and preparing for our trip to Korea.  Until I started thinking through symptoms, and took a test, and it was so.  And I decided it was a good thing, and I planned to keep my child.

Until I ended up in the ER, and saw the ultrasound that looked like a pre-menstrual Uterus - all lined up with nothing to support.  The blastocyst had implanted in my fallopian tube, an ectopic pregnancy, even though I had none of the usual risk factors.  The pregnancy grew through the tube, rupturing it so that I was bleeding internally.  The salpingectomy that I had (surgery to remove the ruptured tube) is, oddly enough, the only abortion that the Catholic Church accepts, as "incidental" to treatment of my life-threatening condition.

10 weeks is not enough time for viability.

And then, on top of those comments, were these messes:

Indiana GOP Senate hopeful Richard Mourdock says God ‘intended’ rape pregnancies

The roots of Akin's 'legitimate' rape remarks

2) The GOP's disrespect for social and education services that allowed me to become the productive tax-paying citizen that I am today.

I've already written about being on the free lunch program as a junior in high school.  I was also on WIC as an infant.  My mother and youngest brothers went on WIC again when they were born.  In truth, all 8 of us ended up eating the cereal, milk, cheese, peanut butter, and such that we got from WIC vouchers.  Apparently, my mom thought it important that I know how to get that assistance.

I'm still at the college part of my narrative, but I will say that my experiences with poverty in the last years of high school and through college have been a strong motivating factor in my productivity at work.  I do NOT want to go back to the fear, the anxiety, the hunger, the uncertainty of (my parents) changing jobs every six months to two years.  I'd rather provide MY family with stability.

I take strong exception to being called lazy.  I also take exception to income being compared with the grades one receives in school.  While more studying can raise grades, more work does NOT necessarily lead to more income.  The wages matter at least as much, usually more, than the hours do.

And stop demeaning the poor, and those on public assistance. Just because I ate government cheese at my grandparents, and WIC cheese when I/my youngest brothers were little, does not make me lazy. If anything, it's made me work that much harder to make sure that I and MY family don't require that help.

Stop cutting support for education at all levels. How can kids POSSIBLY prepare for college if their preschools, elementary, middle, and secondary schools don't prepare them to learn and be productive in society. And stop cutting student loans, Pell grants, etc. College would have been easier if I had not had to work my way through it.

3) The GOP's misunderstanding and disrespect for science.

The start of this goes back to my comments on women's health and medical needs.

But it's also the GOP opposition to climate change, the biggest threat to  American society in the 21st century.  As I experiences with Hurricane Rita and assisting in the cleanup after Hurricane Katrina, hurricanes take a toll.  Climate change causes bigger and stronger storms.  On top of that, rising sea levels mean storm surges go higher and farther inland.

By all means, we could be working a deal with companies to help them transition to cleaner infrastructure.  We could be working on ways to save energy and water, so that more people have access to it.  We COULD be working together on this, if the GOP would quit sticking their heads in the sand and acknowledge that a problem exists.

And then there's the science that shows homosexuality is not a choice, people are born that way.  It's just part of the diversity of being human.

In addition to those three big ones, there are also some smaller issues.

What I like about the Republican Party?

- Most Republicans I know are good, honest, caring people. It's the politicians I take issue with.
- The devotion to & support for families. I just wish their definition of "good family" was not so narrow.  I stand as an Ally in support of GLBTQIA rights.
- The talk of fiscal responsibility, and the fact that many Republicans actually walk that talk.  I do believe in fiscal responsibility, just as I believe in social justice. (Too bad about the Bush administration, squandering the surplus they had. Perhaps another slate of candidates could make me believe again.)
- I do believe in the importance of faith in my life. I wish the Republican Party would recognize and acknowledge the faith of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. Sometimes I hear too much of a "Christianity is the only way" message in Republican leaders' speech-making.

If the Republican party, or even my candidates, would acknowledge these realities, then I would most certainly consider sending votes their way.  Until then...