I used to vote like that . . .

A post on my G+ feed got me thinking about Republicans and people who vote Republican. My husband often asks me in baffled frustration, “Why do people vote against their own interests?” My only answer is a shrug: I don’t know.
I used to vote Republican. So did John. We grew up in conservative, Republican families, and we  both voted Republican when we got married. In fact, as I began solidifying my political views and realizing I identified more as a liberal, I was afraid to confide in my husband. I believed he was a conservative Republican priesthood-holding Mormon man with possibly homophobic, sexist, and racist views.
I had a valid reason for suspecting this, in my defense! He did vote Republican back then, and he was a Mormon who held the priesthood, and his family frequently espouses homophobic, sexist, and racist views. But then again, if we assume everyone holds the same views as their siblings and parents, it would be reasonable for one to assume I am an anti-gay rights, pro-Romney Republican voter.
Eventually, of course, my husband and I sat down and had a long conversation about our values, which is when we learned (to our delight) that we are both pro-gender equality, pro-immigration, pro-gay rights, pro-choice, pro-tax, pro-union, pro-environment socialist democrats.
As far as the question, Why do people vote Republican,  though, that doesn’t help us at all. Our families have both benefited from government programs like WIC and Medicaid, and they’ve both benefited from quality of life improvements caused by unions, the EPA, and the women’s rights movement. Both our families have espoused views promoting the right of the individual and desiring smaller government. Yet both sides of our family have continued to vote for a party that is actively restricting individual rights and attempting to repeal society’s progress.
Often paraphrased as “My rights end where yours begin.”
I guess what it comes down to is that we’re baffled anyone who cares about their neighbors, their family, and their community would choose to vote for the party that wants to impoverish their neighbors, family, and community. Whatever the GOP used to be, they are no longer the advocate of the common man. The GOP of today does not just want to strip people of their rights, they are actively passing laws to do so. Across the nation, unconstitutional laws are being implemented that are intended to limit accessibility to vote, restrict women’s rights, revoke the rights of minorities and lower-income people, and even revoke worker rights.
The clear and resounding message is that if you make less than $343,927/ year, the GOP doesn’t care about you. If you rely at all on the income of a woman in your household, the GOP doesn’t care about you. If you want to decide for yourself whether to have 2 children, 5 children, or no children — the GOP doesn’t care about you. If you, your wife, daughter, or sister has to terminate her pregnancy due to medical issues, the GOP doesn’t care. Simply put, the GOP is not just waging a war on women, or minorities, or unions.
They are waging a war against the average American — and the damndest part is, they’ve somehow bamboozled a good portion of average American’s into voting against their families, communities and conscious. That’s the amazing part to me: Watching good people, moral people, compassionate people as they try and defend their willfull and ignorant destruction of not only our nation, but the history of their party.
If it was 1860, I would vote for Lincoln. I would dress up as a man and fight to free the slaves, or maintain an Underground Railroad station to smuggle escaped slaves to freedom. I would march for Suffrage and organize unions and fight to protect the rights of children and women. It’s 2012, though — so instead I vote for Obama and protest, donate, and fight to keept the rights of minorities, women, and workers that we have spent a century implementing. The Republican party has betrayed their heritage.
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