Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My Last Word on the Election

     My last word on the election, because I'm going to blow a gasket if I remain in this conversation.

     There are three branches of the United States government: legislative, executive, and judicial. The separation of powers was intended to offer checks and balances to ensure the rights of citizens would be protected. Balance, something lacking in our politics today. I love Rachel Maddow’s quote, “But here's the thing about rights – they're not actually supposed to be voted on. That's why they're called rights.” Yet, here I am at fifty-one-years-old basing my entire voting ballot on my civil rights, the ones I’m not supposed to have to vote on.
     Yes, I’m worried about the economy, but we’re better off than we were when the Republicans left the mess, a fact some people seem to overlook, and despite the fact that the Republicans have stonewalled that progress with the goal of getting Obama out. I’m one of the people, a sole proprietor, who is happy about having affordable insurance. I also run a business and have taken advantage of the tax breaks offered. (No offshore accounts to dodge taxes, though. No horse to write off either.) I once was on food stamps and AFDC, until the state could collect my child support, while I was going to school and raising a child. I had one $1800 student loan in seven years of college, undergrad and graduate school. I did use the Pell Grant and work-study system, but most of it was scholarship money. I have always been in favor of a hand up, not a hand out. I took advantage of the system and have been a working citizen since age 14. You’re right about one thing, Mitt, this member of the 47% will never vote for you.
     I brought up the branches of government, because it’s important to realize that every vote counts. The legislative branch has proven to be the stumbling block to many issues that concern me. No matter who the President is, this branch carries the most weight. They can, and have blocked legislation simply for political reasons, sticking to the party line, without care for the real people they hurt, again with the stated goal, “Get Obama out.” They also have the power to block Supreme Court nominations, and that my friends is very important, as the current judges age into retirement. Do you want Paul Ryan, (I’m dismissing the puppet Mitt. They’ll throw him under the bus,) deciding who will defend the Constitution? Hasn’t the Republican Party said enough about what they will do when they are in charge to frighten you? Let’s see, women will have no rights, the LGBT community will lose every step it has gained, and the rich will get richer.
     The President nominates Supreme Court Justices. If for no other reason, Obama has to remain in office. This is what is driving my vote. I may be concerned about other things, but the main issue for me in this election is my civil rights. I got into with my parents over this election. Nothing I say will change their Fox News watching minds, not even the fact their daughter has fewer recognized rights than their son. I say recognized, because I agree with Ms. Maddow. I have the rights. There are merely narrow-minded legislators, both state and federal, standing in the way. I want them out.
     I’ve been with the same woman, owning joint property, for twenty-five years. We’re rewriting our wills. The hoops we have to jump through are ridiculous and completely unnecessary. Recognize her as my wife and half that paperwork disappears. She has insurance at work. I have to have my own individual policy. That’s an expense that would be far less, if I was allowed on her policy. Our house and car insurance would be less, if we were a married couple. I wouldn’t have to carry papers to the hospital, giving us medical power of attorney for each other, if we were married. Those are just a few of the issues we deal with, but the one that hurts the most is she can’t put a picture of her family on her desk at work. You’d think that would be a small thing, but to the LGBT community, there are no small things. 
     I hear people say, “Just live your life and shut up about it,” “Why do you have to throw it in our faces?” My all time favorite is, “Can’t you be happy with a civil ceremony?” My reply: Hell yes, I can be happy with a civil ceremony, that is what I want, but with all the rights associated with heterosexual marriage. I don’t want to get married in your church, if you don’t want me. I’m not encroaching on your religious beliefs, but you sure as hell are encroaching on mine. My higher power doesn’t discriminate because of sexuality, but that’s neither here nor there. The point is SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. Sorry, to yell, but you seem to have missed that part of the Constitution.
     So, my rights are what I’m voting for. I can’t see us making any progress with a conservative Supreme Court. If the Republicans get control of all three branches of government, DOMA stands, DADT comes back, and any gains the LGBT community has made go right down the toilet. Not to mention a woman’s right to make health decisions with a medical professional whose hands are not tied by government regulation. My rights, your rights, are in jeopardy. My wife and I will be voting in a state that is sure to go RED, Oklahoma. (Side note: I’m still laughing over our Governor, Mary Fallin, at the Republican convention, stating Oklahoma was created out of nothing by pioneers who needed no help from the government. She seems to have forgotten they were all homesteaders, buying cheap land from a government that cleared the land of indigenous people, then took most of the tribal reservations to accommodate those self-made pioneers. She’s a piece of work.) If you care about your future, you’ll vote too.
     I implore everyone to vote. I don’t care how red your county or state is, every vote counts. Make the time, go to the polls, read the whole ballot, and VOTE. I will end with what I said to my parents. "Yes, it is personal to me. It does matter to me that you would put people in office that treat me as a second-class citizen, for being a woman and a lesbian, a double whammy. I can’t believe that people who supported the civil rights movement can’t see that I am being denied my rights as a citizen of this country. And last but not least, I cannot for the life of me understand why two educated, lifetime democrats have turned into Fox News, tea-party, birther, “he’s a muslim” shouting, fact denying, and I’m sorry, but racist bigots, which I find most surprising of all. I certainly wasn't raised that way. Honor thy father and mother may be one of the commandments, but it does not include agreeing with your ignorant tea-bagger politics."
     If you stand there with your mouth open, believing that no way is anyone buying all the lies and misrepresentation being spouted by the extreme right wing, think again. Time to vote folks. Time to make some noise. Time to tell the world that at least part of the US has a heart and soul.

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