It’s no surprise that I’m a Democrat. I’m a gay man, I got married to my husband Brad, and I don’t particularly like being told my marriage should be invalidated because I don’t have the same rights as other people. But mind you, I don’t forget that it was a Democratic President (FDR) who abused his power 70 years ago and put my family and me in an internment camp without charge, trial or cause. Now that was Big Government at its very worst. So I am leery of excessive government power or control of any kind.
That’s why I want to take a moment here to talk about the 800 pound gorilla in the room: To ask why the GOP has allowed itself to be hijacked by extremists who aren’t Republican at all.
At their core, Republicans are for smaller government. That means LESS governmental intrusion into our lives, our affairs, our money. Consistently applied, this is a sound and important philosophy that acts as a counterweight to wasteful government spending, excessive taxation, and Big Brother intrusiveness. It is a “live and let live” attitude. Good people may disagree respectfully whether more or less government is needed in areas such as healthcare and education, whether a larger military or more international intervention is needed, and whether we should cut taxes on the wealthy or raise them. I personally can completely understand the economic rationales behind the GOP platform, even if I don’t think we should retry them right now.
What I simply can’t understand is why the GOP ignores the gorilla in their tent when it comes to social issues. For a party that prides itself on less government intrusion, it sure seems busy these days telling women and LGBT persons what they can and cannot do. This is not only inconsistent, it is a poor strategy for keeping the party strong, growing, and current. If religious fundamentalists want to push their extremist agendas, they should do it in some other party, so that I don’t have sit there in awkward conversations with my Republican friends, secretly wondering how they can continue to pander to such drivel.
It would be as if the Democrats suddenly had their ranked filled by hard-core Communists who steadily called upon the total abolishment of private business. (And no, that’s not what Obamacare does, notwithstanding the rhetoric. You may disagree with the individual mandate, but it’s not a government take-over, it’s a tax–as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court himself concluded.) If someone like Fidel Castro or Hugo Chavez showed up at a Democratic Party function and waved Mao’s little red book around, I would say, “Sorry, I know Democrats. I’ve worked for years with Democrats. You’re no Democrat. And you can’t sit with us.”
It’s time for true Republicans to regain control of their party. For Republicans who believe in a woman’s right to choose not to have to pretend that they don’t. For those who believe that two people who love each other should be allowed to get married, who the hell cares, to say so. And for those who would like to see more Ron Pauls and fewer Mike Huckabees to stand up and say, “Actually, WE’RE the real Republicans. Now get off our lawn.”
SAM KIMURA is an elderly veteran and war hero from World War II, living alone and hardened against the world. He has not spoken to his family for over fifty years, but remains haunted by a longing for things lost decades ago. Sam stands with the “old guard” of the Japanese American Citizens League, who condemned those who resisted the draft during World War II or showed any other sign of disloyalty to the United States. But a surprise visit from a stranger, just after the events of 9/11, rekindles memories, and Sam rediscovers things he once knew, and learns new inf