Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

It's the Ideology, Stupid

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

It's the Ideology, Stupid

Article excerpt

Don't whine to me that the lack of a boyfriend or a girlfriend in your life is more important than politics

The other day I had lunch with an Internet entrepreneur--someone smart, politically aware, successful--and she told me she is not planning to vote. She said this to the wrong person. I reasoned, cajoled, hectored, pleaded, but despite my best efforts to persuade her that too much is at stake for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people in the 2000 election for her to sit it out, I am not sure I convinced her that she matters. She is not alone in this view. Transforming GLBT ennui into votes is the most critical challenge we face this election season.

Voting is deviant behavior. Only 49% of eligible voters cast ballots in the 1996 presidential election. And yet voting matters more than ever to us this fall because we will have real choices to make. If the motto for the 1992 election was "It's the economy, stupid," the motto for this one is "It's the ideology, stupid." How we choose to vote will determine our lives for the next decade or more.

What's at stake ideologically? A menu of options from fascism (Buchanan) to traditionalism--meaning they don't have a lot to say about GLBT people, people of color, or women--to progressivism (Nader), neoliberalism (Gore), and neoconservatism (Bush) presents itself in the presidential election.

What's at stake? You know as well as I do: the U.S. Supreme Court, the passage of civil rights laws that include GLBT people, funding for GLBT organizations, recognition of civil unions or marriage. Whether we can create families with children or without, whether we can live openly, or whether we will be forced into a cultural policy of "don't ask, don't tell."

What's at stake? Health care access for the elderly, the uninsured, and the employed. Social Security. Education policy. What we do about crime and prisons. Remedies for racial inequality. How we handle poverty and the destructive impact of globalization. Reproductive choice for women.

What's at stake? Five seats will shift the control of the Senate between parties. Winning or losing fewer than 130 of the thousands of state legislative races at play will shift the control of state legislatures. …

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