With all the talk about what a flagrantly racist, unapologetically misogynistic, constantly lying, gleefully cheating, small-business-ruining, contract-breaking, bankruptcy-declaring, ignorance-espousing, lawsuit-dodging, tax-evading, troop-disparaging serial divorce-enthusiast Donald J. Trump is, it’s perilously easy to overlook the fact that his barely-in-the-closet lackey is a homophobe of the highest order, a religious zealot on a level that would make even a Mormon blush, and a die-hard enemy of women’s rights who is, in reality, a far-scarier prospect than Trump, himself. To put it another way, Mike Pence may well be the dark Sith Lord to Trump’s Darth Vader. What’s worse is that there is a very real possibility that the endgame of the Republican Party is to leverage Trump’s unexpected popularity to pull a pump-fake on the electorate and sneak in a candidate that makes Ronald Reagan’s Golden Age of conservatism look like free kombucha day at the Berkeley farmer’s market. It’s a conceivable outcome, and you should be freaking out right now.
One of the favorite catchphrases of the Right, when trying to leverage and inspire fear and loathing for outsiders in order to push their conservative agenda, has long been, “They hate us for our freedom.” And while the validity of that statement may be arguable, anyone more worried about the threat of foreign terrorists than they are about the very real erosion of domestic civil liberties proposed by this idiot, is living, breathing evidence of the nascent victory of terrorism, itself. This guy wants to roll back pretty much all of the freedoms for which “they” hate us. You know, classic Leftist Utopian stuff like the right of gay people to breathe, the right of women to decide how many people can live inside their own bodies, the right of people not to worship an ancient invisible space-wizard in a state-sponsored mandatory prayer gulag. That sort of thing. Now ostensibly, ISIS (and similar extremist Islamic groups) and Christian fundamentalists are at war. They’ve publicly stated as much for thousands of years. But the thing is, they’re really not all that dissimilar. I’ll put it simply. ISIS and the extreme Right (for whom Pence is a wet dream of a poster child) are like burritos and tacos. On the surface, they appear to be different, sure. They’re different shapes and different sizes…they come in different containers. But on the inside, the ingredients are essentially the same. Look it up, if you don’t believe me. Their ideologies stem from the same original trilogy, and they all believe, more or less, in literal interpretations of the same ancient rules. No rights for women, no rights for gays (or anyone else who is not a straight male with money, really), the formal integration of church and state, and so on. And, unsurprisingly, neither believe in climate change, or much of anything else related to science. Take away the wardrobes, beard length and skin color variation, and there’s not a whole lot of difference.
Not sure just how far right Mike Pence is? Here’s a fun list posted by the incredibly handsome and charming future
me POTUS Gavin Newsom:
- He helped put in place a bill that allowed businesses to refuse services to LGBTQ people in the state.
- He has refused to call leaders in the KKK deplorable.
- He has said he would like to overturn Roe v. Wade.
- He has said that women should not be in the military, and even cited Disney’s movie Mulan as proof (seriously).
- In Congress he authored a bill to defund planned parenthood and even said he would shut down the government over it.
- He signed an anti-abortion bill so extreme that anti-abortion Republican women in his state legislature opposed it.
- He co-sponsored a bill that would have redefined rape and allowed hospitals to deny abortions to pregnant women who could die without the care.
- He supported a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages
- And finally, Mike Pence, the most anti-LGBTQ Governor in America, actually tried to fund so-called “conversion therapy”: the emotional torture against some of our most innocent citizens — our children – telling them that, if they want to live, they have to lie — about who they are, and who they love.
This election isn’t about subtle, debatable differences in political and economic theory. It’s not about whether we should spend 40% vs. 50% on defense, or whether we want to have charter schools, or whether we need this trade deal, or that trade deal. It’s not even really about health care or student loans or whether we believe in science over fairy tales. It’s not about any of the things we really wish it were about – the things it should be about. Because, sadly, the political discussion in this country has regressed to a point where intellectual arguments and rational thought no longer even apply. What this election is really about is our collective level of acceptance of fundamental human rights, and the decision to either move forward to the new millennium, and all of its frightening mysteries, or look backward toward an age that has long-since passed, and the illusion of security with which so many have mistakenly associated it. Are we going to evolve as one human race, toward a future where we respect each others’ differences, embrace our similarities, and encourage progress and change, or are we going to desperately cling ever-tighter to ancient myths that have taught us that fear is stronger than love, that possessions are more valuable than family? That’s what is truly at stake here. It’s actually quite simple, really. You don’t even have to have much of a grasp of “the issues,” this time around. Not for the Presidential race, anyway. It would be nice to have that grasp, especially when it comes to down-ticket votes and choices still to be made on November 9th, and beyond, but it’s not required.
The true question is this: Do you believe in actual freedom, for all people, regardless of how they look, how much money they have, or who they want to see naked, to do what they wish with their own bodies, worship whom or what they like with their own minds, and be granted a reasonable and unbiased opportunity to pursue happiness, or do you believe that you and your group are deserving of special privileges, and that the rest of the population should do as they’re told? Answer that, and you’ll have a pretty clear idea of who to vote for. It’s pretty clear which side of that fence Mike Pence and Donald Trump are on, regardless of which of them ends up being the true Sith Lord, and it’s not the side I want to be on.
Find out more about what a backwoods homophobic religious extremist Mike Pence is, and how he wants to make life harder for the LGBT community, at the politically-neutral and thoroughly cited On The Issues website.