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Tuesday, April 21, 2009
As a dyed in the wool Kennedy Democrat, I have always said I could never vote republican. The Republican Party used to stand for something. When I say used to, I mean back in the days of Abraham Lincoln. A lot has changed since then. In the 40 or so years since Richard Nixon first courted what he called The Silent Majority, the religious right has taken over the party like the pod people from "Invasion of the Body Snatchers".
In my lifetime I have seen women's roles in society go from June Cleaver to Hilary Clinton and African Americans have gone from fighting for the right to vote, to having one of their own elected president. The gay rights movement has gone from the Stonewall Riots to marriage equlity in four states.
In 1993, when 1 million Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transgendered people and their supporters marched on Washington demanding equal rights, I was there as a volunteer helping with crowd control. I've taken part in candle-light vigils at the Lincoln Memorial to draw attention to the AIDS epidemic that claimed too many of my friends.
While all of this was going on, the Republican Party, lead by the religious right, did everything they could to stop social progress. In the 70's right-wing nut-job Phyllis Schlaffley made a career out of telling women they shouldn't have careers. (She has a gay son now.)
In the 80's, Ronald Reagan turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to the AIDS crisis, saying that it was only infecting fags, hookers and junkies, so who cares.
In the 90's, Ken Starr spent over $40 million of tax payer money investigating Bill Clinton over allegations of improprieties in a real estate deal, only to come up with Monica Lewinski and the cum-shot heard 'round the world.
We all know what happened with W. We'll be cleaning up that mess for decades.
Enter Meghan McCain, daughter of ex-presidential hopeful John McCain. Last Saturday night, she addressed the Log Cabin Republicans with a speech that has ruffled the feathers of many die-hard, old-school republicans. Her comments included the following:
"I am concerned about the environment. I love to wear black. I think government is best when it stays out of people’s lives and business as much as possible. I love punk rock. I believe in a strong national defense. I have a tattoo. I believe government should always be efficient and accountable. I have lots of gay friends. And yes, I am a Republican."
The younger McCain is just one of a growing chorus in the GOP that is calling for a return to the core values of smaller government, fiscal responsibility, and protection of personal freedoms. These folks have come to understand that by moving to the far right to appease religious conservatives, republicans have sold their collective soul to the devil. They finally realize what the rest of us have known all along, that if you have to demonize gays to win an election, then you really don't have a strong platform to stand on.
Stay tuned for more. You can read the full story on Meghan McCain's blog at The Daily Beast.