This country’s two main political parties are not the same at all, and voting matters
Are you tired of being told how bad things are? Are you sick of being bombarded with terrible news all of the time? Do you wish that you could read about something positive for a change?
Then you might want to skip this column.
Man, where do I start?
How about we start with the primary election. As many suspected would happen, Tudor Dixon — who I just found out used to be an intern on The Rosie O’Donnell Show…Wut? — won the Republican Primary, and now Michigan voters have the choice between Gov. Gretchen Whitmer or flushing Michigan down the toilet. Dixon is wildly unqualified to run the state and hates LGBTQ people to boot. Not great.
But she is endorsed by Trump who was just (checks notes) waxing wistfull about fascism during his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
Texas Monthly reporter Michael Hardy live tweeted Trump’s speech and didn’t mince words: “Trump’s rhetoric is significantly more extreme than even a few years ago. This might be [the] most frightening speech I’ve ever heard. Full-on, unapologetic fascism. Trump has either been reading Mein Kampf or having someone read it to him….This is some seriously bloodthirsty shit.”
Keep in mind, this is the same man who inspired thousands of people to violently attack the Capitol Building and try to overturn the election just a couple years ago. And now he’s even more extreme.
According to Hardy, Trump also shrugged off the right-wing extremists who plotted to kidnap and kill Gov. Gretchen Whitmer: “Gretchen Whitmer was never in any danger.”
Trump has already made his disdain for Whitmer very public, so one can only imagine how ugly he and his supporters are going to get in their support of Dixon. Not excited about it.
Besides Trump, CPAC featured Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who received a standing ovation. Orbán is racist and anti-Semitic, something he seems proud to admit to, and also anti-LGBTQ and anti-democracy.
As Robin Abcarian writes in the Los Angeles Times, “It’s a measure of how badly our political discourse has deteriorated that a man responsible for taking his country from democracy to autocracy over the course of his long political career is being celebrated as a hero by American conservatives who clearly yearn for a Viktor Orbán of their own. (And very nearly had one in Donald Trump. It’s terrifying to contemplate what this country would look like had the former president prevailed in 2020.)”
I have contemplated it. And yes, it is terrifying.
But this is who conservatives are: celebrating autocrats and insurrections and hate. Not just as CPAC. Everywhere. Every day.
And yet the media continues to present political news in the old “horse race” fashion, as if both sides are equal. They aren’t.
On the one hand, you have Democrats who want everyone in this country to have reproductive freedom. On the other hand, you have Republicans who say that 10-year-old rape victims should have to carry a pregnancy to term.
On the one hand, you have Democrats who are in favor of fully funding public schools and treating teachers like the professionals they are. On the other hand, you have Republicans who want to do away with public school altogether in favor of Christian education and who accuse any LGBTQ or allied teachers of being “groomers.”
On the one hand, you have Democrats who want to protect and expand voting rights. On the other hand, you have Republicans who continue to lie about the 2020 election being stolen, claim the Jan. 6 insurrectionists are martyrs, and want to radically curtail voting rights so that they may remain in power no matter how unpopular their policies.
On the one hand, you have Democrats who support LGBTQ+ rights and recognize LGBTQ+ people as full human beings deserving of love. On the other hand, you have Republicans who want to see marriage equality overturned and any books about LGBTQ+ people banned from libraries and schools.
On the one hand, you have Democrats who oppose racism and know that the police killing unarmed Black people is bad. On the other hand, you have Republicans who want to make it illegal to teach about our country’s racist past and present and who find the declaration “Black Lives Matter” offensive.
The parties are not the same. Voting matters. Electing Democrats matters at all levels of government. Republicans claim to be the party of freedom, but that’s a lie.
Stop saying Republicans are using dog whistles or “saying the quiet part out loud.” They’re using sirens and screaming from the rooftops. Heed their call and vote them the fuck out.
D’Anne Witkowski is a writer living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBTQ+ politics for nearly two decades. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.