Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Letter to My Republican Friends....

Dear Friends,

"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, or philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend." -Thomas Jefferson

I have always tried to heed Jefferson’s advice. Especially during election years. The great hallmark of American democracy is our ability to settle our disputes, hold our civic discourse and yes, conduct our national affairs within a construct of civility and implied shared goodwill.

Or at least that is how I remember it… Now, I am not so sure If America has changed, or if my own perceptions were just somewhat rose colored. Because I will confess, since 2004, and going through to this 2012 Presidential Election, I have been struggling with Jefferson’s admonition.

And it’s time to admit I am losing the struggle.

So as I have done many times before in my life, I am sitting down to write a letter to a friend. Or more accurately, I am writing a letter to all of you, my friends. Specifically those friends who are going to vote, or who are considering voting for Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and their Political Party; the Republicans this November.

I am sure you have your reasons for why you honestly think Mitt Romney should be President. I would like to think that it isn’t just because you don’t want Barack Obama to continue to be President, but rather you truly believe in the ideas that Governor Romney and the Republicans have put forward. So in that spirit…

Maybe your reasons are fiscal. Perhaps, you feel that President Obama has not “put America back to work” fast enough. I can respect your frustration with the slow pace of economic recovery  Perhaps you truly feel that, because President Obama has not managed to repair eight years of damage in less than four years,  America needs to elect  a guy who says he thinks  he can  fix  it over the next  eight to ten years.  It doesn't quite support your feelings of impatience,  but I'm not you. Maybe you truly feel that taxes have been raised too high by this Administration. The numbers dispute that, but  again, I am not in your shoes so I have to  respect your perceptions.

Maybe your motivation for voting for Romney-Ryan is that you truly and honesty feel that the Affordable Care Act needs to be repealed. You may truly believe that there actually is such a thing as “ObamaCare” and, you really do feel  that a law prohibiting  insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, or cancelling coverage when you get sick, is a bad thing,  and needs to go on DAY ONE.   I can’t say I understand that, but I can agree that the AFCA is in many ways an imperfect solution and could be vastly improved.

Maybe you truly are concerned about our budget deficit and the level of our national debt. Despite having voiced none of this concern during the eight years of massive debt and deficit inducing spending that occurred under the last Republican Administration. Yet maybe, you really and truly didn't feel it was as big an issue then, and have now had an honest to goodness epiphany on the subject. If so, I can respect that as well.

Maybe it is that you just don’t like President Obama. You don’t like his style, his approach to being President, his dog or perhaps you just don’t personally care for the guy I can totally understand that. There are lots of people I really don’t care for. Personally I think Michelle Bachmann is a complete nutjob. Given the opportunity to vote her out of office , I'd jump at the chance. So if you honestly just don’t like the President, and would just be happier if he was voted out, that’s your right as an American.

On all of these points, I may not agree with your opinions , but I can respect your right to hold them, and we can, as the old cliché says, even “agree to disagree”.

But it isn't that simple in 2012. The issues we will vote on go far beyond things like taxes, health insurance regulations, the right to own an automatic weapon, or whether or not you like or don’t like a particular politician. As friends of mine, we need to talk about the 2012 election , because one of the things you will be voting for or against is… Me.

When you step into the voting booth on November 6th, you will not just be voting for a collection of local, state and federal candidates. You will be making a clear long-lasting , and far reaching statement about how you feel about me. Not my politics, not my opinions or beliefs, but Me. David Paul Fabie, as a person.

As most of you know, I live in London. Many of you know the reasons why I live here, but it is possible that some of you don’t. In January 2011 I got married,  and at present the fact that I am married to someone who is not an American, means in order to do something as basic as live with person I am married to, I had to leave the United States and move here. I hear some of you asking ; why don’t I just sponsor my spouse for a visa to live in the US? Because I can’t. Current U.S Immigration law does not grant any recognition to couples like us. Because, we are both men.

So let’s be very very clear on what your vote this November really means. For me, and for you, as a friend of mine.

The GOP platform for 2012 calls for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and affirms the party's support for the Defence of Marriage Act, which forbids all federal recognition of same-sex marriages. So even though states like New York, Iowa and Governor Romney’s home state of Massachusetts have equal marriage rights for all their citizens. For me, and my spouse It doesn't make any difference, as immigration law is a federal matter.

So understand that if you vote for Mitt Romney you are voting for his party’s platform. You are voting to amend the United States Constitution to keep me from ever being able to move back the United States. You are voting to keep me out, for the rest of my life.

Even though the GOP platform decries what it sees as the Obama Administration seeking to gain "government control over the lives of its citizens in all aspects," this section of the platform advocates Government regulation of who Americans can love, and states that "the union of one man and one woman must be upheld as the national standard" through "laws governing marriage." Despite what We all know; my marriage doesn’t impact your life in any way. It doesn’t “attack” or “redefine” anything.

According to its platform, the Republican Party wants to reinstate Don't Ask Don't Tell, prevent same-sex marriages from being recognized by the federal government, and stop efforts to prevent gays and lesbians from being persecuted, and even killed overseas in places like Africa.

The GOP platform loudly decries efforts by the Obama administration to oppose laws in African countries that criminalize homosexuality. Some of the legislation being proposed would include prison time and even execution as punishment for homosexuality, but the GOP platform says the Obama administration is "imposing" the "homosexual rights agenda" on "the peoples of Africa" by saying imprisoning and killing people like me is a bad thing. Support for the GOP means you endorse the GOP's "respect and dignity" agenda for Gay people. Which means, you are saying the United States should do nothing to prevent people just like me from being executed or imprisoned outside of the US.

So understand that if you vote for Mitt Romney you are voting for his party’s platform. You are voting in favor of laws that say I am less of an American, and less of a human being than you are. You are voting directly to discriminate against Me. If you vote for the Republican ticket, you are saying that you truly feel that I, am a threat to your marriage, and to your family.

At the end of the paragraph explaining the party's position, the GOP platform states, "We embrace the principle that all Americans should be treated with respect and dignity." So understand if you vote for Mitt Romney you are saying loudly and clearly that "respect and dignity," are not things I am entitled to, but rather gifts the Government might deem to bestow on me, but only with your permission.

If you support Mitt Romney and his party you are, in the truest sense of the word, attacking me. You are voting that I am less than you , voting that I don’t deserve the same treatment under the law as you , voting that my marriage is not as valid as yours. You are saying that love is only real when you feel it. Not when I feel it.

When you vote this November, you are not voting on politics, or public policy or taxes or heath care or foreign policy or even who you think Barack Obama, or Mitt Romney is or is not. You are voting on my life,  you are voting either for or against me, for or against my rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

So understand this. If you are supporting Mitt Romney and the Republican Party, you are saying that you honestly feel that as human beings, my life has less value than yours, and you want Government to make that the law of the land.

 Some of you have said to me "Dave, I don't agree with the GOP position on Gays, but this election is bigger than one issue." Sorry, that is pretty much the same as saying "Dave, I agree with you that second hand smoke is bad, so from now on I will only smoke at your house." You can't parse your vote. Your vote doesn't enable some of the GOP Platform. It enables all of it.

Yes, your vote for Romney may get you the things you want from a President. Things like, an end to graduate students being able to stay on their parents health insurance, and a halt to government support for renewable energy.   But it also will make sure I am treated by my own government as less of a citizen than you .   I would like to think that as a friend of mine,  you might have a problem with that.

So I need to put it to you directly. Friend to Friend. When you step into the voting booth,   you are not just  saying if you  believe in Mitt Romney or Barack Obama, you are also saying if  you believe in me.   You are not just voting to say  if you are "proud to be an American...", You are also saying whether or not,  you proud to say that we are friends.

The question on your ballot is not what you think,  or believe or don't believe about Mitt Romney' s or Barack Obama's religions. The real question on your ballot is;  Do you believe that the God that you believe  created and loves you , also loves me?

The question on your ballot is not about who "Loves Freedom" or about  who respects  the "will of the Founding Fathers", but rather the very real question of;   Do you , my friend,   love and respect me?

So before you cast that vote, I would ask one small favor. If the Platform of the Republican Party and their standard bearers is what you are truly going to vote for this November, then let’s spare the awkwardness. Do what you need to do to “un-friend”  me now. Because clearly we define the concept of being “Friends”, very differently.

Respectfully,

Dave

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dave and Eric - rest assured this family will NEVER unfriend you. Dan & Kay

itscarolee919 said...

Yes I believe the God I believe in loves you and me.

Biki said...

This is the clearest, most heartfelt explanation of why not to vote republican. One that needs a wider audience. Have you given any thought at all to attempting to have newspapers here print it? I know that many of them during election cycles will devote entire pages to readers opinion letters. Seriously, give this some thought, this just might sway some on the fence voters to vote us our freedom from their religion based bigotry.

Patricia Kayden said...

Just saw this on JMG. You write so well. Hope you can come back to the states with your hubby soon.

Patricia Kayden said...

Just saw your comment on JMG. Hope that you and your hubby get to come back to the United States very soon. And God created us just as we are.