Recently a friend asked me a question that I think is a ripe topic for this blog: do I find myself becoming less republican as I become more gay.
My answer at the time was to say I find myself becoming less conservative and more libertarian. I then went on to reassure him that I do not approve of the current dominance of the Theocrats in the GOP. Both points are certainly still true, but I thought I would elaborate a little more on the topic.
I will NOT be an apologist for the Republican Party in its current form. I have a lot to criticize both on social and economic issues. However, as I have alluded to before, for most of my political life I have focused almost exclusively on economic issues. I am a free marketer almost to the point of fanaticism. I occasionally described my political orientation as "capitalist" to imply that I was indifferent to social issues. I joined the Republicans for their focuses on low taxes, limited spending, deregulation and free trade (I miss that Republican Party; where did it go?). I accepted the social conservatism of the party as basically the transaction cost of my economic agenda. My focus on economic issues, I admit, was at least in part due to my repression of my sexuality.
As I started the process of coming out, I realized that I could no longer ignore social issues. In fact I was ashamed that I had ignored them for so long. Being gay, although it certainly informs my positions on social issues, does not change my economic positions. I am still the same anti-tax, low-spending, deregulatory free trader I always was. For the first time, I started seeking alternatives to the statist-theocrat dichotomy. I found my solution among libertarians.
Libertarians were once a sizable subsection of Republicans, but as the Theocrats got louder they pushed the libertarians out of the GOP. By the time I had come to the libertarians very few of them would self-identify as Republicans. I had to decide whether to join the libertarian tide and leave the Republican party, or to stay and try to fight the theocratic homogeneity (I bet they hate that word simply because of the first two syllables).
I decided to stay and fight. We are in a two party political system and moving to third party almost assures you of being politically irrelevant and unhappy with all outcomes. But more importantly, if we (gays and/or libertarians) leave the GOP because of the obnoxious Theocrats, then the Theocrats become even more dominant in the party. The Republican Party is not going to change from the outside, and it DOES need to change from somewhere.
I am certainly a young, probably naive, idealist, reformer-type. Even if chances of success are very slim it's worth it trying. We can succeed without trying, and the current state of affairs won't do at all. Who knows, maybe (hopefully) in a generation being gay will have no more political meaning to the Republicans than being a woman does.