Are Republicans truly the Party of Freedom?

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Guest Commentary
by Gina Roberts

It is time for me to say something about the Republican Party and some of its members — and the way they treat certain people.

I often find myself staring at a poster on the wall of my house that says, “Join the party of Freedom, Join the Republican Party.” Freedom. Now, that is a powerful word. What does it mean to you?

Well, to me it means that we have the ability to live our lives in the way we need, as long as our freedom doesn’t impose on another’s freedom. That may be a bit more Libertarian than Republican, but my meaning and understanding should be clear.

So why do I refer to this wonderful poster and its message? We, Republicans, were founded on the principles that are espoused in the Declaration of the Independence and better defined in The Constitution and the Bill of Rights: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

This passage is often referred to as the most important passage in the English language; it was touted by our first Republican President Abraham Lincoln, who considered the Declaration of Independence to be the foundation of his political philosophy. He argued that it is the statement of principles through which the United States Constitution should be interpreted.

We, the Republican Party, led the country into a bloody civil war to act upon these rights and to ensure that an entire group of human beings, held as slaves, be freed and allowed to practice the freedom guaranteed by our fundamental founding documents. We led the fight for freedom! We stood for all mankind for freedom; we sacrificed hundreds of thousands of human lives to do two things, first, to keep the United States of America as a single country and second, to wipe out the scourge of slavery from our land; which is what precipitated the division in the country. Yes, that division was also about state’s rights, but those rights were mostly being used to enslave an entire group of the American people.

So, my big question, what happened? Why is it that within our party, there are whole groups of people that choose to marginalize and denigrate entire other groups of people that should be free to live their lives the way they need, without imposing their will on others?

That is the definition of freedom, right?

There are people within our party that are using their right to religious freedom, another fundamental right acknowledged in the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights, to impose their beliefs, their lack of tolerance, their “direction from God and His almighty word as presented in the Bible,” to cause hurt and harm to an entire sub-section of the national population.

I’m referring to the total distain and lack of understanding and denial of freedom for those people loosely referred to as being in the LGBTQIA community — Lesbian, Gay, BiSexual, Transgender, Queer (Questioning), Intersexed and Asexual. (LGBT will be used in later references.) Yes, I understand that the acronym is getting very long and tiring, but that isn’t the issue. I don’t care what they call themselves, what is important is that these people are Americans, they are citizens, they are human beings and they should be treated as such.

For those of you that haven’t figured it out, I’m in the Transgender part of that world, and I truly and proudly identify as Transgender. I rarely make a big deal out of that designation, because it isn’t what defines me, it is merely part of who I am, but it does make me a bit more sensitive to some issues that may not seem like a big deal to people that are not in the LGBT community. What I have seen recently has incensed me to a new level of discontent.

Let me explain what has elevated this issue to the point where something needs to be said. In Virginia’s 13th House of Delegates District an election was held between the 25-year incumbent, Robert Marshall, and a new candidate, who is Transgender and a Democrat, Danica Roem. I’m a fan of Roem, not because she is a Democrat or a Transgender person, or because of her policies. What makes me a fan is that her opponent chose to focus on Roem being Transgender instead of the issues that affect his constituents. Because of this approach, Ms. Roem won easily, and out fundraised her opponent 5 to 1.

Robert Marshall in his 25 years in the Virginia House is best known for proposing a Transgender Bathroom Law, which died almost instantly in committee, but throughout his campaign he continually referred to his opponent using male pronouns, and generally disrespecting her because she is Transgender.

Next, upon Roem’s successful election as the highest elected Openly Transgender political figure in the United States, the Republican-held House of Delegates chose to change the way they refer to the Delegates, from “gentleman” and “gentlewoman” to the generic “delegate.” What? So, they don’t have to refer to her as “gentlewoman”? Wow.

Simply, Marshall (self-described as the “Chief Homophobe of Virginia”) lost because instead of focusing on the issues in the district, his team focused on Ms. Roem’s gender status and her need to advance the “transgender agenda” and “teaching transgenderism to kindergartners.” Seriously, that is the one thing you attacked? Sorry Mr. Marshall and the people that supported you, but you deserved to lose, you went low and you lost, and because of that the Republican hold on the House of Delegates is tenuous at best.

I feel very fortunate, I live in California and our state party in general has been very accepting of me as who I am, a Conservative Republican that happens to be Transgender. I’ve had a couple of people ask weird and rude questions, but they are the exception and I’m proud to be who I am in the party and work to advance our Republican values. But one thing that is not a Republican value is to treat others with anything other than respect and dignity.

Religious freedom implies many things, it implies that you are free to practice your religion as you choose, but it also implies that others are free to practice (or not practice) their choice of religious persuasion, and not have others trying to get them to comply with their rules driven by their beliefs. If people are imposing their beliefs on others, what makes them different than say, radical Muslims or others that live and die to force people into their beliefs, or punish them for not being part of the faithful?

If your religion requires that you marginalize others because of how they live their life, you really need to consider that your God is not happy in how you are working in his name; as one of the basic tenets is to, “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37).

So, folks, if you are in a position in which you are exposed to people of a different belief system or life situation than your own, it’s really okay; it does not affect you directly; it does not detract from your life (unless you let it do so). It is your life; do you wish to spend it hating others or loving others for how they can contribute to the world?

I’ve heard people make the comment that the LGBT community is only five percent of the population and they don’t influence elections. I beg to differ, that seemingly small five percent is supported by over 60 percent of the electorate, and they tend to vote more emotionally than some. Want to win elections? Think about it…

One thing that our esteemed Chairman Tony Krvaric of the San Diego Republican Party has said is that our parties in the United States are not like those in other countries; we have two major parties and as such they tend to be a much more heterogeneous mix of ideas and people. We tend to have people of all sorts of views and orientations and life goals; these people often share a great deal of ideas in common which identify us as Republicans.

As a great Republican once said, “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally — not a 20 percent traitor.” We need to live by the words of Ronald Reagan, but more importantly we need to understand that everybody in the world does not enjoy the same circumstances as we do. We are in no place to judge anyone’s life but our own.

Gina Roberts is a Member of the San Diego Republican County Central Committee, a delegate to the California Republican Party, President of the Log Cabin Republicans of San Diego, Vice Chair of the Log Cabin Republicans of California, a Tea Party member, Board Member of the Escondido Republican Women’s Federated, Founding Board Member of the San Diego County Gun Owners PAC, and oh, by the way, a Transgender Woman.

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Comments 13

  1. LOL. I didn’t know people still believed that Lincoln fought the “Civil” War to free the slaves! Thanks for the laugh!

  2. From the article above:
    “Yes, that division was also about state’s rights, but those rights were mostly being used to enslave an entire group of the American people.”

    Pulitzer Prize winning writer James McPherson:
    “The Civil War started because of uncompromising differences between the free and slave states over the power of the national government to prohibit slavery in the territories that had not yet become states. When Abraham Lincoln won election in 1860 as the first Republican president on a platform pledging to keep slavery out of the territories, seven slave states in the deep South seceded and formed a new nation, the Confederate States of America. The incoming Lincoln administration and most of the Northern people refused to recognize the legitimacy of secession. They feared that it would discredit democracy and create a fatal precedent that would eventually fragment the no-longer United States into several small, squabbling countries.”

    Dan, please provide Rostra readers your perspective as well.

  3. Dan,

    The seceding states were kind enough to memorialize what the dispute was actually about. Most states approved a Declaration of Immediate Causes. Here’s an excerpt from South Carolina’s:

    “But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution. The States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa, have enacted laws which either nullify the Acts of Congress or render useless any attempt to execute them. In many of these States the fugitive is discharged from service or labor claimed, and in none of them has the State Government complied with the stipulation made in the Constitution. The State of New Jersey, at an early day, passed a law in conformity with her constitutional obligation; but the current of anti-slavery feeling has led her more recently to enact laws which render inoperative the remedies provided by her own law and by the laws of Congress. In the State of New York even the right of transit for a slave has been denied by her tribunals; and the States of Ohio and Iowa have refused to surrender to justice fugitives charged with murder, and with inciting servile insurrection in the State of Virginia. Thus the constituted compact has been deliberately broken and disregarded by the non-slaveholding States, and the consequence follows that South Carolina is released from her obligation.

    The ends for which the Constitution was framed are declared by itself to be “to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”

    These ends it endeavored to accomplish by a Federal Government, in which each State was recognized as an equal, and had separate control over its own institutions. The right of property in slaves was recognized by giving to free persons distinct political rights, by giving them the right to represent, and burthening them with direct taxes for three-fifths of their slaves; by authorizing the importation of slaves for twenty years; and by stipulating for the rendition of fugitives from labor.

    We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.

    For twenty-five years this agitation has been steadily increasing, until it has now secured to its aid the power of the common Government. Observing the forms of the Constitution, a sectional party has found within that Article establishing the Executive Department, the means of subverting the Constitution itself. A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery”

  4. Gina – I think your intent was to communicate the value of our talk matching our walk. Will attempt to move the discussion back in that direction.

    Let me say this. If I consider myself a Christian and/or conservative and advocate government force to accomplish anything other than the defense of our God given freedoms I am at best a contradiction to myself theologically, economically and Constitutionally.

  5. Sorry for the generic reference to the Civil War, it was to make a point, not rehash the numerous causes and issues leading to the dissolution of the country as I made reference to the issues of state’s rights, but in the end it became about the Emancipation of slaves.

    Thank you Eric for your insightful redirection.

  6. To your main point, Gina, by the phrasing of your headline question, it sounds as if you are doing some soul searching, as well you should. I trust you and others in a similar circumstance to draw your own conclusions and act accordingly. What follows may sound harsh, but it’s undeniable, and there must be a part of you that knows it.

    Your party is actively working against you, your basic rights, your dignity as a human being.

    Your party has acted to declare you unworthy of serving your country through military service. Your party has fought to prevent you from entering a committed and loving relationship with the person of your choice. Your party has acted to deny you the right to adoption, to secure housing and employment opportunity. Your party works to elect people and pass laws to tell you what bathroom you can use. Your party supports Roy Moore who wants to criminalize you.

    You may feel insulated from these acts personally. You may justify your support by seperating the California wing of the GOP from the national one, but every dollar or unit of work you contribute feeds the machine that currently assists Trump and Moore. Your dollars, your labor, your intelligence are being used to take rights and dignity from people just like you in other places.

    Maybe you can accept these truths as part of a package of other policies and actions you feel outweigh systematic discrimination. That’s your call.

    I became a Democrat years ago when I learned one small part of my brother’s experience as a gay man. He was in a long term relationship with a man battling HIV. Eventually, my brother cared for his partner through a long and painful death from AIDS. The partner’s family had abandoned him, so my brother was alone in the journey. It was illegal at the time for hospitals to grant visitation rights to gay partners. So they had to shop around for a hospital that was willing to break the rules. They found one. Perhaps ironically, it was a Catholic hospital in New York called St. Vincent’s. When I learned this story a few years after the fact, what stuck with me was the indignity of my brother having to hunt for a hospital to do the right thing during a moment that had more than enough painful challenges. It was wrong. The thought of it still makes me sad and angry when I retell it. It changed my politics.

    For me, there is no fiscal, foreign, energy, tax, or education policy that outweighs the importance of basic human dignity, opportunity, and fairness for all Americans.

    You deserve better, Gina. And I will continue to fight for your rights, even if your talents and resources are on the other side of that fight.

  7. Why would you identify with a party in which a significant percentage of its base wants you executed or at least legally marginalized ……….It’s called masochism.

  8. We’re going to let Paul Therrio’s asinine comment stand to have record of the fact he’s nothing but a troll.

  9. Thor,

    I agree that Paul’s post is blunt and shocking. I can understand you having a visceral reaction to it. But that’s not the definition of trolling. It may be uncomfortable for you, but his post is absolutely correct.

    Gina is opting to support and identify with a party that is nominating judges to the federal bench that declare her part of Satan’s plan.

    Not a figure of speech—literally. Go read the comments section on Breitbart, Fox News, Newsmax, etc., and you’ll find plenty of evidence that the base agrees. I think Gina would agree that the right thing to do is not to dismiss and deny, but rather to deal with the reality directly.

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/20/politics/kfile-jeff-mateer-lgbt-remarks/index.html

  10. Thor’s assistant: Ted Cruz attended at least two events for him that were sponsored by a “preacher” who has publicly stated his belief that homosexuals should be executed.

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