Monday, September 6, 2004

Why I'm supporting Kerry


Gay Republicans, those sad, deluded studies in futility, contend that gay Democrats are "one issue voters." In reality, they are the one issue voters--their one issue is whether the candidate’s name is followed by an "R" or a "D". Gay Republicans are willing--perhaps eager--to disregard their candidate’s stand on gay issues. They are also willing--perhaps desperate--to paper over the vast inconsistencies in their party’s own ideology, particularly the profligate spending habits of their current leader, George Walker Bush. Those spending habits are putting America’s fiscal house out of order and jeopardizing not only our economic future, but our standing and credibility in the world. As is well known, the outsourcing of American jobs to China has hurt countless American workers. Less publicized, and perhaps more ominous, is the fact that Chinese banks are financing much of our federal government’s deficit. Now, I have nothing against the people of China, but shouldn’t America’s future be in our hands?

Mr. Bush likes to state that he’s making America stronger. But a nation’s strength this not measured by how many countries we invade, how many weapons systems the government buys, or how much money we funnel into the military-industrial complex.

A nation’s strength rests on a firm foundation, rooted in fiscal responsibility. Today, the stability of that foundation is in grave danger. Mr. Bush has been telling the supporters who attend his campaign’s rigorously screened events that America’s economy is "turning the corner" on prosperity, which sounds disturbingly like Herbert Hoover’s "prosperity is just around the corner" uttered during the depths of the Great Depression. America’s economy may well turn the corner into prosperity in 2005, but only if new leadership is elected to the White House. But if George W. Bush is handed another term in office, our economy will continue on the same start-and-stall cycle we’ve had for the last four years--and that will only benefit America’s enemies.

Let us review some recent history: On September 10, 2001, George W. Bush was an unpopular president, not accepted as legitimate by a sizeable percentage of the American public. With the exception of his tax cuts, his domestic agenda was stalled in the Congress--and most pundits had already pegged him as a one term president.

The events of September 11 changed all that. As in past times when our country was threatened from the outside, Americans rallied behind their president.

On September 12, the civilized world stood in solidarity with America. But instead of using that opportunity to build a safer, more secure world, Mr. Bush squandered it. The Bush Administration left the job unfinished in Afghanistan--leaving the Taliban in control of much of the Afghan countryside, and Osama bin Laden uncaptured. Indeed, fewer American troops were committed to the Afghanistan conflict than the number of police in Manhattan. On one occasion, Mr. Bush said he didn’t particularly care where the man responsible for the deaths of 3,000 Americans was, or whether he was even alive. Already, Mr. Bush’s thoughts were elsewhere.

From the day he was inaugurated--indeed, before--Mr. Bush and his cronies were hell-bent on an armed incursion into Iraq. Even after it was conclusively proved that Saddam Hussein was not involved in 9/11, Mr. Bush continued to bang the drums of war, reverting to the argument that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction--chemical, biological, maybe even nuclear. The WMD argument has not produced any evidence, even a year and a half into the American occupation of Iraq. Indeed, during the course of Mr. Bush’s Iraq war, Saddam’s "elite" military was unable to get one plane into the air, or to launch one scud missile. Now, Mr. Bush says the invasion of Iraq was a war of liberation. Let no one doubt that Saddam Hussein is an evil man. The question is whether his removal was worth the cost paid in American blood--more American soldiers killed in action than at any time since Richard Nixon was in office.

The world is full of evil dictatorships which oppress innocent people, from North Korea, to Iran, to Sudan. Given Mr. Bush’s justification for the Iraq war, we are compelled to ask: Where do we invade next?

In reality, Mr. Bush is in possession of weapons of mass destruction--ordinary American’s call them LIES.

Lies are nothing new to the Bush political dynasty--neither is mudslinging. His family has been using these tactics to keep opponents from power since Mr. Bush’s grandfather was in the United States Senate. They are well documented elsewhere.

Mr. Bush likes to deride Senator Kerry as a flip-flopper. But his own actions in office do not jibe with his 2000 campaign pledge to be a "Compassionate Conservative."

What is compassionate about refusing to raise the minimum wage?

What is conservative about deficits spiraling out of control?

What is compassionate about an economy stuck in the ditch?

What is conservative about unprecedented government intrusion into our lives?

What is compassionate about gutting overtime pay?

What is conservative about the rape of America’s environment?

What is compassionate about 44 million Americans lacking health insurance?

Finally, what is compassionate or conservative about recklessly sending our troops into harm’s way?

Since I am a gay American, I should spend a moment on gay issues. Mr. Bush has been spending some time on gay issues--in opposition to them. Since he has no record of accomplishment to run on, he needs to find a scapegoat. He can’t scapegoat the Democrats, since Republicans hold power in the White House, both houses of Congress, and the majority of Governorships. So, he has been portraying gay Americans as a threat to America’s families. One would be hard pressed to find a President with a record more hostile to gay Americans. As Governor of Texas, Mr. Bush opposed every hate crimes law that came his way, opposed an end to employment discrimination against gay Texans, and defended his state’s Sodomy law. He has continued that trend as President. Even the conservative’s icon Ronald Reagan opposed the homophobic Briggs Initiative in the 1970s, and voiced his opposition to it before then President Jimmy Carter. President Reagan’s later discomfort with gay issues can at least be understood--if not condoned--when one recalls the fact that he was born in 1911. But Mr. Bush’s antipathy to the gay community is unforgivable in a man of the post World War II generation, who came of age in the ‘60s, and whose immediate subordinate has a daughter who is a lesbian.

In 1988, I cast my first vote for Mike Dukakis, partly because he had signed Massachusetts’ non-discrimination law into effect--only the second such statewide law in the nation. I was also appalled by the whispering campaign aimed at Governor Dukakis, questioning his mental health and even accusing his wife of burning an American flag in protest. But that’s the kind of campaign the Bushes run.

In 1992, I supported Bill Clinton because of his early embracing of the gay community--and also to revive an economy which had gone into recession under the elder George Bush. And in 1996, despite some disappointments in his handling of gay issues, I again supported President Clinton because his policies had restored America’s economy, reduced the federal deficit, and improved our relations with the world.

Thus, it was logical in 2000 that this American wanted to stay the course with Al Gore. So did the plurality of America’s voters, but the Electoral College--and five members of the Supreme Court--thought otherwise.

In 2004, I am voting for Senator John Kerry for President. But as can be gathered from what I’ve written, his stand on gay issues (which I mostly applaud) is the LEAST of many reasons I’m supporting him.

It is no exxageration to state that this is the most important election this nation has faced since 1940. We stand at the edge of a precipice: between financial responsibility or a descent into insolvency, between international cooperation or looming isolationism, between liberty or oppression. The "rendezvous with destiny" Franklin Roosevelt prohesied is fast approaching. The time has come for decision. Vote for John Kerry.