Friday, October 05, 2007

Republican Love

An acquaintance has said that anyone who refuses to date members of a particular political party is being intolerant. This point has otherwise been raised, and on the surface it seems reasonable. Scratch a little deeper and it provokes what is in reality a more important question. What should we tolerate?

"Intolerance" is one of those words that depends much on context. My friends, family, and lovers have pretty well covered the world of colors, religions, nationalities, sexual orientations, genders, ages, shapes and sizes. (Granted, friends and family cover a wider range than lovers, especially on the last half of that list.) With firm belief in Dr. King's famous dream, I do indeed judge people not by any of those factors, but by the measure of their character.

Still, the bedroom is no place to be PC. We accept without question that it is quite all right to be sexually attracted only to certain physical types, even – if expressed respectfully – men or women only of a particular color, and we expect people generally to favor their own age group. And would our "tolerant" friend criticize specifying character traits? And what says more about a person's character than his politics?

The Republican Party has so exploited homophobia in its recent campaigns that when someone tells me that he doesn't support that, but votes for them for other reasons, it sounds too much like, "Please understand, Mr. Rabinowitz, I'm not anti-Semitic. I just support the National Socialists because they represent the best hope for Germany's future." And what are these other reasons? Despite their talk of fiscal prudence, from Nixon on, the Republicans have consistently erased government surpluses and/or plunged our country deeper and deeper into debt. When they talk about "getting government off your back," they are clearly only talking to the industrialists while workers, consumers, and our environment suffer from de-regulation, but the GOP scrambles to erode basic civil rights, further criminalize recreational drugs, and to stigmatize queers. As much as they rail against "bloated government bureaucracy" they continue to build ludicrously inefficient bureaucracies in the security sector while starving essential services like schools and hospitals.

Even if one accepts the military policies of our government, the Pentagon is obscenely wasteful and top heavy. And the machisto posturing of the Republican chickenhawks in the White House adds insult to injury while our youngsters are being sent to die for Carlyle, Halliburton, and Bechtel in Iraq.

Despite the fact that Nazi David Duke was a Republican candidate for Governor of Louisiana, and Prescott Bush was a big supporter of Hitler, it is true that generally comparing Republicans to Nazis confuses all proportion and perspective. So I'm not really comparing them when I say "Would it be ˜intolerant" to refuse to kiss a Nazi? I'm just saying you have to draw the line somewhere. Sure the Republican Party is better than the Nazis, but "better than the Nazis" is a mighty low standard, not nearly good enough. The GOP has done such damage that, while I am willing to discuss politics and argue points with people from nearly any political perspective, I don't feel ethically required to get snuggly with people who are collusive in destroying our civil liberties, environment, and economy.

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