All this talk about immigration and a gay marriage ban amendment pisses me off, because it's so obviously a red herring, so obviously playing into the fears of people and the hot buttons of the ultra-religious. And let's be clear, the issue of illegal immigration has nothing to do with national security. If it was about terrorism, we should turn our attention to the Canadian border instead.
And it got me thinking about the Republican Party. I don't like writing about politics, because I'm not going to convince any of you to change your mind. No one ever changes their mind about politics or religion by arguing. But let me tell you about where I'm coming from at least.
My dad was surprised, shocked in fact, that I'm conservative. Even though he reads the New York Times every day, my dad is conservative. He couldn't believe that his college educated 20 something year old son was already jaded to the world and voting Republican. My mom takes it another step and is a card carrying Republican. She called me in 2004 to remind me to vote for Bush.
My parents are, in that way, typical for Asian immigrants. Most Asian immigrants of my parents' generation came to this country thinking that they could come here, get an education that was unavailable to them or job opportunities that were nonexistent. They love the Republican Party, because they cannot imagine working so hard, scratching out a living, putting two kids through college without a drop of debt, and supporting a bunch of people on handouts? Medicaid? Disability? It's utterly egregious.
Growing up with such influences, I had a strong Republican bias as well. It fit with my conception of government: minimalism, laissez-faire, etc. And when I was coming up in my political awareness, I leaned conservative. And I still do, but read that conservative, not Republican.
Because at the same time, I grew up very Catholic, and very aware that there is much in this world that is wrong that requires us to work very hard to change. There are people starving, people suffering, people requiring social change and justice.
And so, by college, I realized that I am what can be tritely called a centrist. I am one of those socially liberal but fiscally conservative voters, realizing quite acutely that the two party system no longer is able to describe my political ideology.
And until recently, that political view has led me to vote mostly Republican, because if there's one thing that this country needs, it's fiscal responsibility. And only recently did I realize how utterly misguided my voting has been. Because these nuts have been throwing away money like it's going out of style.
And I can't help but feel utterly detached from the entire political system, forced to choose between a party run by rabid fundamentalists who are wasting money and actually building bigger and more government, or a party that is rudderless and without vision or direction.