26 October 2012

Romney in Defiance

I'm from the small town of Defiance, Ohio. Raised Catholic, and raised in a VERY conservative community. And my parents always voted. I vaguely remember going with my mom to the polling station at Anthony Wayne Elementary School (if you don't know who that is, brush up on your history) for the 1992 election (I was almost 3), and again for the 1996 election (I was in 1st grade, and I got to get out of class to go vote with my mom). I never knew who my parents voted for, they always said it was a secret, and we never had signs in our front lawn. But I always knew that voting was important. Couple that with the fact that my dad was a huge history buff, and we lived in an old town stuffed with monuments from the French and Indian War, it's really no wonder why I love history an politics like I do.

But the town itself was (and still is) very conservative. The thing to do on Friday night was go to the high school football or basketball game. The bowling alleys were stuffed with high schoolers on the weekends, simply because there wasn't anywhere else to go. We have hicks from the dairy farms, workers from the GM plant (that employs well over 50% of the town's workforce) and the Johns Manville plant (JM), teachers, and small business owners. People loved their guns and camo. There was even a kid at my junior prom who had a camo vest complete with the camo baseball cap. It is what it is. And I didn't know any better.

Then I came to Utah, and started out in the bustling metropolis of Cedar City, enrolled as a Political Science major at Southern Utah University. SUU was more liberal than the rest of the town, certainly... But with the student body being primarily LDS (as was I, but that's a whole different story), and hailing from Utah, Idaho, and Nevada (mostly), it was still pretty conservative. As was I.

And then there was the fateful day when I finally realized that I was gay. I certainly was not out of the closet (I still had aspirations for a mission), but I had finally accepted it as reality. That's when my brain started turning. I now am unable to marry (unless it was to a man... Yuck), I am unable to be a foster parent, and although it is legal for me to adopt children, Utah law gives priority to married, heterosexual couples, rather than to "unwed cohabiting adults" (as my wife and I would be referred as). Utah, as a state, still has no discrimination protection for the LGBT community, so I might also be evicted, or fired from my job, solely because of my sexual orientation (though Salt Lake City has passed a law protecting those rights, excluding religious organizations). All that legal stuff aside, being Mormon carried its own terrifying stigmas... The Church is notorious for their treatment of the LGBT community within its membership (including me, with my attempt to serve a full-time mission). There are countless Ensign articles, and General Conference addresses, that speak on the matter (that'll be another post for another day). Needless to say, I was petrified all around. But my first step was to change my political opinion. Because if I continued to vote for candidates from a political party, whose platform supported legislation that made me into a second class citizen; and an "undesirable #1" (plug for Harry Potter *holla*), then I truly was a fool.

Long story short, I moved to Salt Lake City, transferred to the University of Utah, and went from a conservative Republican, to an independent, and finally to a Democrat. (my friend Amanda called me a Democrat for months before I finally caved and registered as one). And I got A LOT of flack for it. Too many Mormons believe that the Republican Party is God's anointed party. WRONG. And I can't tell you how many people in my classes (and even a Poli Sci Professor at the U) called me a hypocrite for being a liberal who was pro-choice, and pro-same sex marriage, while being Mormon. If only they knew.........

Today (or yesterday really... It's 3am) Mitt Romney showed up in my little hometown of Defiance, Ohio and held a campaign rally. *facepalm* My twitter and Facebook exploded with pro-Romney bilge. I wanted to scream at them... The GM bailout that President Obama provided, is the only reason Defiance is still standing. The vast majority of the workforce is employed by the GM plant, and companies that support it. Thousands of people would've been out of a job had the plant gone under. Thousands. And the people are biting the hand that feeds!! Bitching and moaning about Obama and the economy. Now... I'll be the first to say that the economy could better. It could be 1000 times better. And it's something that the President is going to have to work on big time in his next term (assuming he's elected). But without the bailout, without Obama, Defiance wouldn't have an economy to bitch about.

All that aside, it's nice to see Defiance on the national stage. Even if it involves Mitt Romney. And it's now the second election in a row that the GOP candidate has campaigned in Defiance. John McCain tapped us in 2008.

So there's my rant on politics. And how I switched teams (every pun intended) hahahahaha!

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