THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF WANZIE: Two parties, one choice

By : Michael Wanzie
Comments: 4
Michael Wanzie

Michael Wanzie

I write this column on the very day of the landmark Supreme Court decision that ushered in marriage equality in all 50 of our United States.

So I suppose Watermark readers might anticipate this viewpoint space would be dedicated to that topic, but I simply don’t think I have anything of merit to add to the discourse that hasn’t already been better stated by someone else, not the least of which was President Obama.

On Friday, June 26, 2015, President Barack 0bama said, “This decision affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts: When all Americans are treated as equal we are all more free.” Most importantly, our President issued this admonishment: “Those who have come so far on their journey to equality have a responsibility to reach back and help others join them.”

That statement resonated with me. It is my fervent hope that once the celebrations end, we as a community do not become complacent; that we will work together to lift up our transgendered brothers and sisters, the homeless, the mentally ill, the entire working class, and women until all are treated equally under the law and enjoy equal access to everything our country has to offer. There are many things we as individuals can do to help bring about these changes, but the easiest and most effective is simply to vote for those who embrace the concepts of equality and social justice for all.

I am absolutely bewildered as to how any LGBTQ persons can possibly align themselves with the Republican party.

I am not a fan of our two-party system. It is broken and the division between the two parties so pronounced, so entrenched in blacks and whites, that true governance, which best occurs when we dabble in shades of gray, no longer seems an option. That desirable meeting-of-the-minds arena where consensus is explored—and indeed adopted—no longer exists. At least not in Washington, D.C., and certainly not in the minds of Republicans.

Upon the first-term election of President Barack Obama, the top Republican operatives met and agreed they would put the best interests of the nation on hold for four years. The GOP vowed that rather than actually govern, they would instead dedicate themselves to one objective and one objective only: to oppose everything President Obama might seek to accomplish. I see this mindset, and indeed the subsequent actions of those Republicans in Congress who so steadfastly embraced this totally fucked-up objective, to be treasonous. And I don’t use the word “treasonous” casually. When an elected official decidedly puts the best interests of the citizenry behind other, more personal objectives—thereby defaulting on their solemn oath to “faithfully discharge the duties of the office”—said individuals are quite simply not doing their jobs. They took an oath “to defend the Constitution” but instead devoted all their time, energy, and personal power to crippling the abilities of the President. Republicans brazenly insinua
ted themselves onto the world stage of foreign policy in areas never before traversed by their predecessors for the expressed purpose of undermining the sitting President’s effectiveness in dealing with foreign leaders. That is the exact opposite of defending the Constitution, and once that unsavory set of circumstances was set into motion, those who played a role in those efforts did indeed commit an act of treason. Period. End of story.

What I have just reiterated should be reason enough for any thinking person to distance themselves from those who actively sought to undermine the leader of our country by proactively creating doubt in the minds of our adversaries regarding the very authority of our sitting President. It was shameful. It was despicable. It was treason. When you add this dim scenario to the reprehensible pandering by these same people to the extreme religious right and homophobes among their constituency, thus steadfastly opposing any measure that would ensure equal rights for LGBTQ persons—well I’m sorry, I cannot wrap my brain around how any gay person could possibly be a Republican.

And I am sick to death of hearing how gay Republicans are such merely because their party is more in line with their thoughts regarding economic stewardship and fiscal responsibility. It’s a hollow and laughable argument. Only two Presidents in the past 50 years have lowered the deficit. They were Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Under Clinton unemployment fell dramatically to 3.9%, and by all respected independent measures the top 1% of the richest among us prospered more than during the previous Republican administration. This despite Clinton’s tax hikes on the wealthy which spurred the economy to new heights while at the same time raising the median household income from $661.00 a week to $700 as week. Poverty declined dramatically under Clinton resulting in a decrease in those seeking assistance form social service programs such as food stamps, and Clinton virtually eliminated annual budget deficits. In the end, as we all know, when Clinton left office this country did not have a deficit, but rather a sizab
le surplus. Call me silly, but that sounds like great economic stewardship to me.

It is indisputable that President Obama took office during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Forbes magazine recently proclaimed that President Obama created “the best private sector jobs creation performance in American history!”

Under the leadership of Barack Obama, this county narrowly dodged another depression owing almost entirely to his administration’s bailout of the auto industry, which Republicans decried a disastrous doomsday initiative that would cost the country billions of dollars and tank the economy. Instead millions of industry-related jobs were saved, the industry and the economy rebounded, and to date, every single penny of the loaned money has been repaid sooner than required, with interest. And although figures vary, it is a fact that under President Obama the deficit has dramatically decreased and we are now entering our 64th month of continuing job growth. So shut up about economic responsibility!

Here’s my top ten list: 1: Social Security. 2. Minimum wage and a 40-hour work week. 3: A woman’s right to vote. 4: Voting rights for African Americans. 5. Desegregation of schools and public facilities. 6: Legalization of interracial marriage. 7: The rights of workers to organize for the purpose of collective bargaining. 8: Allowing women the right to make their own decisions concerning their own bodies. 9: Allowing gays to serve openly in the military without fear of reprisal. 10: Allowing two persons of the same sex to legally marry.

Every one of the those cherished rights in my top ten list were championed by the Democratic Party while being vehemently opposed by the Republican Party. THINK ABOUT THAT!

Jeb Bush has promised that the issue of marriage equality is not dead. He declared the Supreme Court decision to be a horrible mistake and vows that if elected President he will dedicate himself to challenging that decision. Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz, and Mike Huckabee all share his view. With all there is to be concerned with in this dangerous world of ours, taking away our hard-won constitutional rights is what Republicans promise to “dedicate” themselves to if elected.

Wake up people! While I am not happy with our two-party system, so long as we remain saddled with it, I entreat you to get on the right side! Be on the right side of history. Exercise your right to vote, and vote for the party that throughout modern history has sought to make life better for all people, rather than only for the wealthy, white, straight males among us.

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