Ron Hill bills his site Republicans 4 Freedom as “Advocates For The Rational Wing of the Republican Party.” And that he is. Hill wrote for conservative CNN commentator David Frum’s web site, and has advocated for repeal of “DADT” and for marijuana legalization. He wrote this in response to Mike Signorile’s Advocate commentary, “Lessons Learned,” about GOProud, the Tea Party and the grip of the fundamentalists on the Republican party.
Gay Republicans and Democrats: Time to Work Together
By Ron Hill
I must admit to surprise when one gay activist on the left contacted me to report that he would not work with me or support my blog because I’m a Republican. I think this is short-sided.
I find that the American people – Democrat or Republican – all want the same thing for our country: Peace, prosperity, low crime, good jobs, and freedom.
I also find that most Americans – Democrat and Republican – tend to be well-meaning, hard-working, decent folk.
I suspect the majority of people in both major parties agree on where we want our leaders to take us; we just disagree on how to get there. Democrats believe more government will reduce unemployment and lead to more security for our citizens; while Republicans believe less government and lower taxes will lead to greater prosperity and security for our citizens.
It doesn’t have to be an issue of one side always being right and another always being wrong.
Yes, there are extremists in both parties, and the 24 hour news cycle only seems to amplify the nuts on the far right and on the far left. But the truth is, we don’t have to demonize and hate one another (which is, apparently, the job of Peter LaBarbera, Tony Perkins, and Bryan Fischer).
The rest of us can, and should, be civil to one another. We can disagree without being disagreeable. When gay Democrats and gay Republicans refuse to work together in areas where we have common ground – like supporting equal treatment under the law for all Americans – it only hurts the cause of equality.
For the sake of the next generation of gay and lesbian Americans; Republican and Democratic activists and bloggers need to work together and support each another in those places where we agree. We can agree to disagree – and fight for our side with everything we’ve got – when it comes to taxes, spending, the proper role of government, and free markets. But when it comes to equal treatment under the law and fighting discrimination, we should stand united.
Working together we can accomplish more that we can by engaging in mere partisan bickering.
I am grateful to Democrats and Republicans who have helped make America a freer place – some current Republicans include the Log Cabin Republicans, who successfully challenged “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, which helped pressure Congress into repealing the law; and Ted Olson, who helped the cause of marriage equality by lending his strong conservative credentials and prestige. GOProud may be controversial, but they would not have even been possible in the GOP 15 years ago. As gay Republicans and gay equality continue to gain increased acceptance within the GOP – which appears inevitable given changing demographics, we can expect to see more conservative gay voices.
We Democrats and Republicans may not always agree – but there is little to gain from criticizing others in the struggle for greater equality and acceptance, while there is much potential for gain if we stop criticizing one another and start working together on those areas where we do agree.
I will work with anyone – Libertarian, Republican, Democrat, green, Log Cabin or GOProud – to advance freedom in America for all of our citizens. To do otherwise is foolhardy. I hope my fellow activist and bloggers on the left can see the wisdom in this approach.
And like I said, we can always fight like alley cats over other issues – and then have a beer together when the vote is over with like civilized Americans.
Comment by Pam: I’ve always believed (and blogged here) that we need a strong out gay presence in the GOP in order to achieve full equality, a presence that would challenge the religious fundamentalist base full out. We see that happening outside the party structure from the Log Cabin Republicans from the legal perspective regarding DADT, along with the work of Ted Olsen pairing with David Boies on marriage equality. The focus has been on why LGBT equality is a constitutional issue — a conservative principle about freedom from government intervention.
That’s the challenge for an organization like GOProud — it’s hard to take a stand against marriage equality on that basis and still call the group conservative. Is it possible to work within the party as it stands now, or is success going to come from taking legal actions outside the party that actually represent constitutional conservative values?
The right answer would be both, but the back of the right wing evangelicals needs to be broken. The party hasn’t figured out how to replace that fundie voter base, so it continues to cleave to these retro social values. That’s a FAIL as a long term plan for party growth, and they know it (just look at the ridiculous alienation of the Latino vote by the party).