Now that we’ve closed the books on the first year of what has to be the most wackadoodle presidency ever, I’m moved to once again reflect on how in the hell we got here. I think it’s pretty obvious that single issue voters absolutely did us in this time. They wanted one or more interests of theirs advanced, and it didn’t matter what tub of goo landed in the Oval Office in the name of achieving those interests. Abortion, according to statistics, is the number one issue that tends to focus voter interest and dictate their choice of candidate. But there were clearly other issues that drove the election and led conservative Evangelicals to vote for one of the most un-Christianlike candidates possibly in the history of our country. Single issue voting obviously occurs in every political party, but since the Republicans won the big enchilada this time, let’s focus on their issues.
I think it’s commendable that anyone would want to save lives. However, the members of the Republican Party, for all their claims of being pro life, are not; they are pro-fetus. I’m convinced they have no interest in the well-being of the baby after it is born. This is the party who will strike down, cut, diminish, abolish, any government programs that would help the mother take care of the child once it’s born. This is the party who will call government aid to these mothers ‘entitlements.’ Call me a crazy liberal (and it wouldn’t be the first time), but if we’re going to insist that these babies be born, then the mothers are, indeed, entitled to assistance. It’s the very least we can do. And those whose panties are in a twist over the evils of birth control, the same goes for them. So we have babies born to women who clearly don’t want them or who are totally ill-equipped to care for them: What happens next? Who will volunteer to do the dumpster diving for tiny corpses of throwaway infants who will exist if abortion is no longer an option? You can’t have it both ways. If you legally mandate that those babies must be born, then you’ll need to get off your collective conservative asses and walk the walk with these mothers and children. Because if you don’t, you cannot call yourself pro-life. Or even a Christian.
And if abortion is outlawed under any circumstances, as many want, don’t call yourself pro-lifers if you let mothers die when a terminated pregnancy would have saved them. And if a young rape victim is forced to carry the child of her rapist to term, you have just as effectively ended her life. It makes me very cranky to hear folks extoll the virtues of pro-life while not actually caring about those lives. The irony is truly tragic.
Let’s suppose gun control is your single issue. You’re still stinging because Fox News told you that Obama and the Democrats were going to take away your guns. It didn’t happen during Obama’s eight years in office, of course, but it could have. Hannity and Rush said so. So you make sure that a candidate, no matter how inept and damaged, gets into office so that your right to own as much fire power as you feel necessary is completely unrestricted. Good for you. You’re hoping this freedom to own boom-sticks of every caliber and capacity will—what—save lives? Aside from the fact that statistics and the mass shootings almost daily don’t support that, you’re wanting the party of pro-life to make it possible to own more guns with no restrictions on size, number, or user qualifications. Does this seem a tad counter to pro-life beliefs to anyone else? So we’ve brought some unwanted and, sadly, unloved kids into the world so that we can kill them in the streets, in our schools, even in our churches with unrestrained firepower. But that’s okay? Nope, that’s insane. And if you’re about to correct me about the unloved children thing by claiming that you love them, I would beg to differ. Because, unless you do the right thing and take steps to provide for these children once they’re born and beyond, don’t you dare say you love them. What you love is the idea that you have, in your minds, selflessly and heroically saved lives that you haven’t even begun to save. You are no hero to anyone but yourself.
Gay rights, specifically equal marriage rights for all, was certainly an issue for many. The conservative Christians who can’t accept that being gay is a life and not a life choice were crushed and incensed when equal marriage was finally lawful. Again, these folks who live and breathe the Bible and proclaim that God is love are big into love as long as it doesn’t offend them, meets their standards of appropriateness, and fits into their narrow and incredibly hypocritical view of right and wrong. They must, at all costs, protect and observe the sanctity of marriage, as Trump has. Three times. With dalliances with pornstars and the wives of friends along the way. But don’t dare love someone of the same gender because, while God is love, he’s only sort of about love, apparently. But hey, if Pence gets his way, Evangelicals could possibly get theirs. Just don’t expect me to respect you for voting into office a man who is badly in need of a personality transplant and more than a heaping helping of intelligence, decency, and common sense so that the country can regress and remove hard won rights from some of its citizens. But at least the NRA and their heavily armed lemmings will possibly be getting more rights. And that’s all that matters. Apparently.
Last but not least, let’s think about the immigration issue. We’ll lump it in with general bigotry that many clearly embrace. This would be those folks who are having a hard time acknowledging the fact that white men will no longer be the majority in our country. The folks who want the melting pot our nation has, until recently, been to tip over and dump a whole bunch of people of color and various ethnicities onto the ground. The folks who applauded David Duke and watched with glee the celebrations of those like-minded individuals who harken back to a simpler time when men were men, ladies were ladies, and blacks were hanged from trees in hot Southern nights with absolutely no repercussions for the murderers. These voters either saw a similar bent in Trump or saw the weakness that foretold that, with Trump and Pence at the helm, the boat could once again become little more than a slave ship. And, again, those good Christian voters who landed Trump in office can simply change channels when those unfortunate photos of drowned immigrant babies on beaches flash across their screens. God is love, they say, but He doesn’t love the terrified souls who only want to survive in a country that used to throw its arms open to them but now promises to sit on its collective hands while they perish.
I get the single issue voting thing. But I just can’t countenance, respect or regard with anything more than disgust the idea that people would vote the likes of a waste of oxygen like Trump into office as commander-in-chief of the most powerful nation in the world for the sake of scoring a victory over a single issue or two. As I said, single issue voting takes place in all parties. But I, myself, voted for the candidate with tons of experience, a calm demeanor, and the intelligence needed for the job. I embraced the platform of her party with its stands on all of the issues as a whole. And I’m not embarrassed or ashamed of my choice. But I’m sure the fact that she’s a woman also offended the Conservative party. She doesn’t conform to the conservative mindset of barefoot, pregnant, and vacuous that they seem to hold for their women. I have always loved the USA, but the perverse results of this election and the actions of Trump and his amoral Congressional minions since then make me physically ill. Worse, even, this truly does make me ashamed. And embarrassed for my country. And I hate that feeling. I really do.
Other commentaries by Gail Barth:Weary Warriors
2018 Stinky Awards
A Call to March for the Soul of the Country
Fire and Fury: Review
Can the Presidency Survive Trump?
Where’s the Outrage?