When I was a teenager and even into my 20s I was a Republican-voting conservative. In high school I listened to Rush Limbaugh and wore black when Bill Clinton was elected. Now, I’m refusing to vote for Obama because he is not liberal enough. What happened?
The main things that drove me to be a Republican were issues like gay rights and anti-abortion. I believed that homosexuality was wrong and that abortion was murder and that by voting Republican I was standing up for what I believed in. As for Republican economic policy, I could nod and say that it made sense to me.
But here we are, twenty years later. I have friends who are gay. I have studied the Bible and determined for myself that every anti-homosexual passage can be dismissed as “part of that culture back then” just as much as the parts that paint women as property of men with no rights. So I can’t stay a Republican for their gay stance. It wouldn’t match what I believe, and I would be a disservice to my gay friends.
What about abortion? I still think that most abortion is wrong. I wish that it never happened. But I took some time to look at the Republican stance on abortion, that is, just making it illegal, and realized that it is meaningless. Roe v. Wade passed in 1973. Every Republican candidate since then has promised to repeal it. It still stands. Since that time, we’ve had 20 years of Republican presidents, and in all that time, none of them did anything to change the state of abortion in America. So why would I believe that a Republican running now would be able to make any change? By voting Republican to end abortion, I felt like I was beating my head against a wall.
Banning things has never really worked anyway. If abortion was illegal, that wouldn’t mean it would stop. Did drinking stop during prohibition? Are you going to honestly try to tell me that making marijuana smoking illegal has stopped it from happening? By the logic of the Republican party – that banning things will end them forever – murder and rape should never occur. Those are banned.
If we really want to stop abortion, the logical way of dealing with it is not the lazy method of “just make it illegal.” It is far better to look at the causes of abortion – poverty, lack of education, lack of access to birth control – and stop those things. That will save far more fetal lives than just another law that people will still break. But those things cost money and passing a law is a cheap and lazy way of dealing with problems. You can say that you’ve “taken a stand” without having to actually do anything.
The final straw that led me out of the Republican party was neither of these issues. The final straw was the economic policy. It is a simple fact that we have been living under Republican economic policy most of my life, and it doesn’t work. Twenty years ago, I could say, “In the long run it’ll make a stronger economy.” Now it is twenty years later and I’m looking back at the long run. It hasn’t gotten better. It has gotten far far worse.
I just can’t come up with any logical reasons to be a Republican anymore.