The sparring between Republicans and Democrats have made this political season a particularly contentious one. What the squabbling has shown us, though, is that people are more passionate than ever when it comes to ensuring that their party’s presidential candidate either makes it to or remains in the White House. While the fervor comes in both Democratic and Republican form, it seems that a majority of the most heated fervor is coming from the right. It’s understandable: they have everything to lose. And really, that’s been their self-ideology since Obama took office, which is why their malevolence towards Democrats has escalated so rapidly since 2008. For them, this election isn’t necessarily about which candidate would make a better President; it’s about winning and reclaiming their place as the monarchs of Washington. This, in part, explains the party’s transition into one that espouses über-conservatism, ripping away the rights and privileges of millions of Americans along the way.
Specifically for the LGBT community, this shift towards obdurate conservatism is enormously troublesome. On the issue of marriage equality, I understand their supposed moral objections that are steeped in their religious beliefs, though my understanding shouldn’t be seen as an acceptance of this ignorance. After all, a marriage license is nothing more than a legal contract, which is all gay couples are asking for in the name of equality, not to be religiously affiliated. However, I do not understand the Right’s objections to equal legal protections of LGBT persons when it concerns things like job discrimination or hate crimes legislation.
It’s no secret that the Obama administration is on the side of equality for LGBT Americans. Because of Obama, the community as a whole has made progressive and mountainous strides towards full equality under the law. There are a lot of things we’re unsure of when it comes to the prospect of a Romney presidency, given his apparent penchant for haziness when asked to answer basic questions, but what is absolutely certain is that the headway the LGBT community has made will be nullified under a Romney presidency. The Romney of the 90s may have been an advocate for LGBT equality, but present-day Romney is unrecognizable next to his past self, vowing to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act that the Obama administration has stopped defending in federal court (saving taxpayers money) and asked the Supreme Court to overturn.
Of course the issue of the economy is ever-lingering at the forefront of a majority of Americans’ minds. Generally the issues of the economy and marriage equality aren’t thought of as intertwined, but in fact, every state and district that’s legalized gay marriage has seen a fiscal boost. Naturally, this fact seems to evade the minds of those on the right, a blatant ignorance to facts that the modern-day Republican Party has seemingly become synonymous with.
The reality is that most Americans don’t see LGBT equality as an issue that affects them personally, especially given that we are in such a delicate place as a nation. Fiscal issues take precedence over social issues, even though, as aforementioned, social issues often beget fiscal issues. Even when completely ignoring the issue of LGBT equality, Obama seems to have a much more sound understanding of how to more effectively repair the American economy. The problem is that America is a land of quick-fixes, which is part of the reason so many Americans are disillusioned with Obama at this point. What is not emphasized or realized enough is that Obama understands that there are no quick-fixes to help solve our current economic problems, which Obama took into consideration when implementing his programs designed to help the economy. These programs are designed to play out over a span of time. That sort of plan sounds shoddy to a lot of people because we do have a need for immediacy, until you comprehend that neither Romney nor Obama’s proposed budgets would remedy and balance the national budget over the next four years, though Romney has vowed to have the budget balanced by the end of his hypothetical second term as President. The reality is that Romney’s proposed budget wouldn’t come close to balancing the budget until at least 2038.
Obviously, you can’t mention the federal deficit without mentioning defense spending. It’s a uniquely American idea that we are somehow supposed to police the rest of the world, and in doing so we’re spending astronomical amounts of money. The U.S. spends more on defense than the next 14 top-spending countries combined ($670 billion in fiscal year 2012), the bulk of which are American allies. We have military presence in more than 100 countries throughout the world, not based on necessity, mind you, but rather just to patrol these countries. The need for a strong military is evident, but there’s a difference between being militarily sound and just wasteful. Romney actually wants to increase base defense spending, which is an absolutely mind-blowing concept, but not at all a surprising notion, considering more than 70 percent of Romney’s defense team is made up of former Bush foreign policy advisers. To make up for the significant increase in defense spending, Romney has suggested cutting funds to things like Obamacare, Social Security, Planned Parenthood, and, most infamously, PBS. The issue is that even if Romney did make significant cuts to all of those programs, it still wouldn’t even scratch the surface. The math just doesn’t work.
Just as the math around Romney’s economics doesn’t work, neither do most of his stances. Not only has Romney morphed into a virtually unrecognizable candidate compared to the Romney of the 90s, but he can’t even keep his stances coherent from one day to the next. What Republicans hated about John Kerry during the 2004 presidential election (“flip-flopping”), they’ve come to embrace in Romney as an ideological progression, though I’d venture to call it “pandering” rather than “progression.”
The reality is that in every presidential election, you’re essentially choosing the lesser of two evils, which is undoubtedly the case now. What you have to ask yourself when voting is whether you’d like to continue to advance as Americans, or if you’d like to return to a Bush-era downslide by reinstating the policies that brought us to the place we’re in and so feverishly trying to get out of. If you’re in favor of American advancement, the choice should be clear.