Saturday, March 16, 2013

How Republicans (don't) think

Senator Rob Portman (R. OH) recently "came out" in favor of gay marriage after having opposed it for his entire public life. His opposition, in fact, help make him one of the favorites for Mitt Romney's running mate last election. Here is part of what he had to say:

  " I have come to believe that if two people are prepared to make a lifetime commitment to love and care for each other in good times and in bad, the government shouldn’t deny them the opportunity to get married.

   "That isn’t how I’ve always felt. As a congressman, and more recently as a senator, I opposed marriage for same-sex couples. Then something happened that led me to think through my position in a much deeper way.

    "Two years ago, my son Will, then a college freshman, told my wife, Jane, and me that he is gay. He said he’d known for some time, and that his sexual orientation wasn’t something he chose; it was simply a part of who he is. Jane and I were proud of him for his honesty and courage."

Of course Portman is to be commended for not disowning his son -- or worse. Nevertheless, one can't help but feel that a lot of the intolerance, naivete -- dare I say knee-jerk-ism -- of the "conservative" position can be neatly excised by a modest dose of reality. Coming out of "The Bubble" as Bill Maher might describe it

 I personally know conservatives who want to know why their local government doesn't provide certain services that they demand. When I remind them that their communities can't afford these services, they are flabbergasted, and have said things like: "Surely they can find the money from somewhere in the system" (translation: take it from someone else)...

Maybe if a Republican were victimized by a Wall Street scam, he might support Financial Consumer Protection (Dodd-Frank); maybe if his wife were the victim of tainted meat he might support government food inspection; maybe if his grandchild strangled on a dangerous toy he might support enforcing of Consumer Product Safety Commission rules; maybe ... well, the list goes on. 

Of course, those of us who are imaginative, or sympathetic by nature or training, probably aren't Republicans.

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