The midterm election cycle presents many options for gays and lesbians all across the country, whether to pull the lever for a party that claims to stand for equality while defending ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in court, a party which chooses sweeping healthcare mandates over achieving tax equity for domestic partners, and a party which failed to even bring up employment non-discrimination for a vote — or voters can choose a party that stands for lower taxes, a stronger national defense, and fiscal policies that will stimulate small business and put Americans back to work.
This is a strange dynamic for many gays and lesbians, as 2008 was supposed to send a ‘fierce advocate’ to the White House, end ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ and rapidly pass legislation ensuring equal protection under the law. Instead, what voters got was a Democratic National Committee chairman who directed Maine voters to help out with elections in New Jersey, rather than oppose a ballot referendum on marriage equality; a White House senior advisor who labeled being gay as a ‘lifestyle choice,’ and an administration that believes ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is constitutional and worth zealously defending in court.
Considering this sub-par record of Democratic achievement, it is time for gay and lesbian Americans to reexamine why they vote so often for candidates who fail to deliver solutions to the issues challenging their community. As is the case for so many Americans right now, gays and lesbians should be looking for candidates supporting a legislative agenda focused on creating jobs, lowering taxes, halting runaway government spending, and reducing an incomprehensible national debt. After four years of liberal majorities in Congress which they have used to vastly increase government’s role in the market and impose new burdens and uncertainty on America’s business owners, expecting Democrats to do an about-face and encourage any kind of economic opportunity is an exercise in futility. Whatever your sexual orientation, this economy hurts us all. It is time for a change.
There are three compelling reasons for gays and lesbians across the country to vote Republican this year:
— Our money should be ours to spend. Money earned by gays and lesbians is no more the government’s money than anyone else’s, and it should not be doled out to obscure government programs and given as kickbacks to special interests who backed the President and his allies in the last election. We certainly do not need to be propping up public sector unions suckling at the taxpayer teat. If we are mature enough to choose our representation, we can certainly decide what to do with our own money.
— Creativity drives entrepreneurship. Small business owners are America’s job creators, and gay and lesbian employers are some of the most ingenious among them. Voting Republican will help ensure a business climate that encourages, rather than discourages, job growth. Gay and lesbian small business owners today are faced with mountains of needless regulations, forcing them to focus more on paperwork and avoiding administrative tripwires and less on creating stronger, more prosperous communities. That reality will not change with two years of tax-and-spend Democrats in Congress who simply don’t understand what it takes for businesses to succeed.
— The pursuit of happiness can’t be found in a handout. Nothing is more attractive than a strong sense of personal freedom, but with it comes the mantle of individual responsibility. Taking ownership of our failures and working to correct them is the true mark of adulthood. Relying on government programs and bail-outs does not foster respect for oneself or from others. Voting to enable this reliance on Washington is a step backwards for us, and for the country. We are better than that.
As voters go to the polls next Tuesday, they will be faced with a choice: more of the same failures and excuses with another Democratic Congress, or the opportunity to engage and support free enterprise candidates who put the United States back on the road to prosperity. As to gay rights? A GOP which wins because of the core conservative values of fiscal responsibility and rugged individuality is a GOP that doesn’t care about matters of sexual orientation. Something to think about when picking up a ballot this November.
R. Clarke Cooper is executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, an organization charged with building an inclusive Republican party and advocating for gay rights legislation. He is also executive director of Liberty Education Forum, a non-partisan educational foundation. Previously, he served in the George W. Bush Administration as a diplomat last serving as an alternate representative to the United Nations Security Council. He is also a combat veteran from the Iraq campaign and remains a Captain in the Army Reserve.