Dear Mr. VP,
I’ve been thinking today about personal responsibility; such a hallmark of conservative philosophy. Can’t afford health insurance? Your fault, work harder. Can’t afford food for your kids? Shouldn’t have had them. But neither should you have terminated an unwanted pregnancy, or a pregnancy that might lead to food insecurity for your family: shouldn’t have had sex in the first place. You aren’t allowed to make mistakes. Compassion does not exist.
Last week, around the election, someone expressed surprise that I have never, ever voted Republican. Not for president, not for Senator, not for dog catcher. In my 16 years of voting, I’ve never checked the box for a Republican candidate. I responded: “The Republican sense of morality is so far from my own, I’ve never found a compelling alignment with any Republican candidate.”
And fundamentally, here’s why: I can’t get behind any philosophy that punishes people with lifetime consequences (a kid, bankruptcy, etc.) for non-violent mistakes, or for an inability to rise above the systemic oppression that is constantly keeping them in their place. Maybe some Republicans claim to be more compassionate than others — and maybe they aren’t leading arenas in “lock her up” chants or releasing ads blaming Democrats for cop killing — they they believe in these lifetime consequences.*
While is why I have not, and will never, vote Republican. I believe in understanding extenuating circumstances and in seeing the humanity in others.
*Lifetime consequences, unless you’re a rich white man, and in that case you were “just a kid” and shouldn’t have to face any consequences whatsoever.