Dear Person in my life who is voting for Mitt Romney,
I have no doubt you have seen me post things on Facebook and Twitter regarding this year’s presidential election. Now that it’s coming down to just two weeks before the election, and I am on the precipice of losing so much in my life, I have a message for you, a person who is using your voting power, and is voting for the Republican candidate.
In a lot of cases, you’re a person I grew up with, a person I have known for years, or someone dangling somewhere in my family tree. You’re the person who has lightly chastised me for weighing my vote and everyone else’s vote so heavily, because your vote is different from mine. You didn’t mean to use your vote as a personal dig or threat to me, but unfortunately, it is.
2012 is an election we can’t ignore. On the one hand, we have a President who has vowed his advocacy for the GLBT community, and has, for the first time in history, stated we as gays deserve the exact same rights everyone else does. On the other is a man who has pledged that he will amend the constitution to deny me the right to get married, to have children, to have those people in my life be with me when I die, or vice versa. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are two people who in days may likely become the leaders of our country, and they feel that I, along with just about 10% of the American population are not as worthy of rights as you.
I’ve heard it all before. You’re concerned with the economy. You don’t want to be taxed. And as someone who is an independent contracter and works full-time for a small business with just my abilities as an artist to fall back on, I assure you that I too am concerned with the vitality of our economy. But more than that, I know that as we navigate the ebbs and flows of a natural economic system, we’re on the right track. Things are slowly improving, as we knew they would four years ago. In fact I predicted four years ago that this would take a while. But while the economy is up for debate, civil rights is something that will impact my life and many others around me for years to come. Electing Mitt Romney as President of the United States does in fact make me think that I will never have the quality of life you have. I will without a doubt *WILL* lose my rights.
We are breaking up as friends/acquaintances/relatives for one reason. With your vote, you are taking into account that I will stand to lose more in my life than the dollars you feel you may save when Mr. Romney takes the helm of the ship known as the USA. You are aware of this, yet you pedal back to talking about the economy, or jobs, or your feelings on President Obama, or that you care about me but we just have different priorities. Yet, you can not look me in the eye and tell me you understand you are voting to take my equality away and explain why that is more important than potential tax breaks.
Last I checked, you had it good. You aren’t begging for money on the street. You have a roof over your head, and most of you have income. Trust me, I know that things are tough. That is why I decided to go back to school and take a risk. We all do take risks, and when they pay off, it can be wonderful. But after November 6, I don’t know that I will be able to take comfortable risks again. Not only will I likely never be able to ask a man “Will you marry me?” but I may likely never know what it means to have someone call me “dad,” or to live my life openly to everyone and anyone. People can make their personal reservations and judgments, but to have your government mandate a negative judgment on you and who you love seems bitterly un-American to me. And 2012 is a bit too late in the game for me and my fellow gays to walk around wearing scarlet letters.
Just as you feel confident in your vote, I feel confident saying that you are not someone I should keep in my life. It had to come down to this. We are free to exercise our rights in the United States, and you are exercising yours to vote and lead to the day when mine are taken away even more. The religious restrictions that have crept into the halls of our government offices are the very ones that kept me in the closet longer than I had wanted to be, afraid and ashamed to come out. But once I did, back in the days of Bush, I felt that I could only move forward from this point on and that things would maybe get better. They have. My life is, yes, better than it was four years ago.
Please feel confident in your decision, but know that decisions have consequences. Respond to this, and say your piece, by all means. If you can look me in the eye and tell me it is fine for you to vote for a cyclical economy over the progress of giving all Americans (this includes both you and I) equal rights and protections across the board, then I will take this opportunity to look you in the eye back and sadly say that your interests no longer concern me, either.