The Dallas Voice Website posted an article written by Robert Schlein, president of the Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas, explaining why he’s supporting the Republican family – and it can all be boiled down to one reason: money.
According to Schlein, he finds that conservative policies will benefit Americans – including LGBT Americans in a much truer sense than liberal policies and he trots out the same old line: immigration, taxes, security, and healthcare.
Let’s start with healthcare. Mr Schlein doesn’t want a European-style of healthcare where, he writes “socialized medicine results in less availability of care for all, and with the best care for only those who can afford to travel to another country.” Fair enough, right? Except for two things: firstly, he’s trying to compare the healthcare of one country to that of a whole continent – but that’s just playing semantics, I know. He’s referring of course to “socialized” medicine in countries like France and Germany. He writes his argument as if he actually cares about the uninsured (or the underinsured) – he doesn’t seem to grasp that here in this country we have the best level of medical care for those who can afford it. Preventitive care in this country is a joke unless you’re lucky enough to have a full-time job or are married (and straight) to someone who has insurance through his/her job; otherwise, you’re pinching pennies and trying to figure out ways to pay for treatments that insurance companies find experimental or not vital. You don’t need to look at the statistics, just think of last time you went to CVS and had to plop down an obscene amount of money for your prescription. Or better yet, think about the family member that was unlucky enough to have a heart attack and was stuck in the ER which resulted in a crippling debt despite being “insured.”
The healthcare system in France, Germany and the UK aren’t perfect – and folks on the other side of the pond are continually trying to streamline and figure out the best way of ensuring that everyone has access to healthcare. The question then remains does Mr Schlein believe that healthcare is a right for everyone, including the unemployed, underemployed and insured.
One thing I agree with in Mr. Schlein’s argument is that with President Obama’s policies, our debt worsened and our economy sputtered — all true, but that’s only because President Obama is aping much of right-wing policy and ignoring the advise of sound liberal economists. Instead of really investing in the inftrastructure of the United States, Obama’s administration is looking to Medicare, Social Security and other programs to slash – if President Obama was committed to true liberal fiscal policies (the jury’s still out on that, though I give him the benefit of the doubt), I don’t think we’d be facing this frighteningly enduring lag of unemployment with no real end in sight.
Moving along, Schlein has conveniently boiled down the political need of the LGBT movement into two simple sentences: “For the LGBT community, economic power is the most liberating one. Paying your debts down, burning up your mortgage and having, pardon my language, some “screw you” money in the bank — that stands the best chance to obtain the equality we seek.”
Economic power is important don’t get me wrong, but the whole “money is power” screed is 1) tired and 2) glib and 3) cynical. To the millions of LGBT folks who don’t have access to the kind of economic power that may immure themselves from social inequity, they have to look somewhere else. Continually siphoning money to the wealthy in a misguided attempt at economic “prosperity” is just one of the many reasons why we’re in the awful state right now – and don’t get me wrong, both Democrats and Republicans are to blame – Republicans, because well, that’s just their modus operendi and Democrats because too often are “fearless” leaders on the left are only too pleased to join Wallstreet, big corporations and lobbyists (Great example being Hillary Clinton, a true crusader for healthcare when first lady, who once in elected office became the second highest recipient of campaign money from medical insurance industry).
Also I think Schlein has a bit of a skewed view on how things work with social movements – again, I hate to bring up Hillary Clinton because I admire her and because she’s not really an issue but when running for president she famously lionized President Lyndon B. Johnson’s role in the Civil Rights Movement, while inadverdantly minimizing the work of activists like Martin Luther King, Jr. (I say “inadverdently” because I believe that Clinton was, except for that one terrible moment during her campaign on the right side of the civil rights movement). Schlein writes,
“For if it weren’t for a handful of very wealthy billionaires in New York who were with us, their Republican senate majority leader would have never passed gay marriage in that state.”
Huh, funny. I think the very wealthy billiionares in New York certainly helped. But you know who else did? All the grassroots organizers who picketed, and canvassed and protested. Who wrote letters and made phone calls. I think they helped a little, right Mr Schlein?
Finally he closes his little “article” with this, “Obama has shown that he does not stand with those who seek economic prosperity and to accumulate wealth.” If only this were true. Nothing disappoints me more about the Obama administration than its capitulation to center-right (emphasis on the right) on fiscal and foreign policy.
Because at this point there is nuance instead of difference between the Democrats and Republicans the only real measure of character and difference is social policy! And for that, I don’t think anyone – especially someone from the LGBT community can vote for a social conservative. Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney the noisiest of the Republican slate have all made their unequivocal hostility of social progressive movements clear. Bachmann is touting rolling back Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, while Perry wants to waste tax-payer’s time and money to introduce federal amendments to the Constitution to ban gay marriage. And Romney – he’s only too happy to crassly court moderate voters when necessary, but then abandon any real values of fairness when it means winning polls.
LGBT rights matter. Civil Rights matter. Women’s rights matter. Labor rights matter. But for Schlein these all will somehow magically happen on their own if gays, women, blacks and workers some how magically amass small fortunes in their bank accounts.