Friday, February 9, 2007

The other closet

Right now, I am not as closeted politically. I am pretty open about the fact that I am almost passionate about economic liberty (low taxes, free trade, deregulation, etc.) and that the private sector can almost always do a job better than government. But when asked, I almost never admit to voting for Republicans--I usually claim libertarian. This is largely for social expediency, something those of us in the closet do almost instinctively.

I do lament the fact that the religious right has come to dominate my party in recent years, and perhaps I am more closely aligned with libertarians than Republicans. However, I am enough of a realist to understand that the United States has a two party system, and that Republicans are, at least in rhetoric, far closer to my own political beliefs than are the Democrats. I do admire the tolerance rhetoric from the party of JFK, but even more so I fear the socialist dystopia that the likes of Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton will undoubtedly take us towards if given the opportunity.

The Log Cabin Republicans are precisely my kind of group, but unfortunately they are pariah amongst the very socially conservative members of the party and those who pander to them. To illustrate, the Summer Arnold Schwarzenegger ran for governor, I was interning in DC and attended a conference that was primarily about fiscal issues (which are my primary issues). Of course, some of the conversations turned to Arnold, and I heard several people say, "If you read about Arnold, he's pro-choice and pro-gay. He's not a Republican." At the time, I had not fully come out to myself (something that has happened only in about the last 6 months), but I naturally suspected, or rather feared, I might not be 100% straight. So such comments deeply affected me. I am fairly politically active, and the thought of constantly having to defend my Republican credentials distresses me.

On the bright side, there are a few openly gay Republicans who served in Congress (or were able to stay in Congress once they came out): Jim Kolbe represented Arizona's 8th District from 1985 until 2007 and came out in 1996, and David Dreier has represented California's 28th District since 1981 and was publicly outed in 2004, although his orientation had been an open secret in Washington and his home district for years. This gives me some hope should I want to run for office some day.

Aside: I am torn over the Mark Foley scandal. On the one hand, even if consensual, his conversations with a page were clearly inappropriate and an abuse of his position of power. On the other hand, the reaction from both sides bothered me (Republicans: "Oh no, He's gay!" Democrats: "Gay Republicans are such hypocrites").

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