… and for this, I apologize. Time got away from me, and there have been numerous things I’ve wanted to comment on, mostly to do with the pending elections. Some of these things have long since passed their shelf-life, so instead I’ll start with a clean slate, beginning with a particular issue that’s been on my mind since the campaigns have geared up.

Namely the, “If you’re all about voting issue instead of voting party line, how come you say you outright refuse to vote Republican, no matter what, in the upcoming election?”

No one has actually said this to me outright, however I think it’s an important question to address. I was recently commenting in another blog about priorities one has — unrelated to politics, in this particular case, however nonetheless relevant. It was actually right around New Years (perhaps a day or two before), when I was reading the paper (either the NY Times or Newsday, both of which my boyfriend’s parents subscribe to), and there was an article with a cutout box of each candidate on either side and where they stood on the issues (at this point, there were a LOT more candidates than there are now). After reading these, I thought to myself that I wouldn’t feel terribly compromised voting for any of the Democrats (though I liked some more than others), and I saw no reason whatsoever to vote for any of the Republicans.

To sum, here are my issues, in this order:

1. Roe v. Wade.
Yes, I am listing this as the top, because I see it as a slippery slope. First, it will be overturning it and leaving the question of abortion to the States. Then it will be outlawing abortion entirely, on a national basis. Then, it will be restricted access to contraceptives. And so on, and so on, and so on.

Not to mention, this is a civil rights issue. Not only in that an unborn fetus is NOT entitled to any civil rights, but more importantly in that a woman IS entitled to decide whether or not she wants to give birth. Giving birth is messy, it’s dangerous, it’s physically and emotionally taxing, it’s expensive, and it’s a HUGE responsibility that one should be able to choose when and how one wants to take it on. A woman should not be forced into seeing a pregnancy to term. Period. If a a woman chooses to have a child and raise it, or if a woman chooses to put her child up for adoption, than those are wonderful choices, and the woman should be offered encouragement and support. However if – FOR WHATEVER REASON – a woman chooses to end her pregnancy, safe, inexpensive options should be available.

I won’t get into how many of these same people are fighting for the “rights” of adopted children to have access to information about their birthparents; or, worse, how these same people crow about how “welfare mothers” have “made their beds” and should be treated like second class citizens. Because these two things don’t contribute to a woman’s motivation to end her pregnancy. Nope, not at all. These, by the way, are also major civil rights issues that need to be addressed before the question of abortion should be brought up. Making it illegal isn’t going to change any of the problems that necessitate its existence in the first place.

2. Health Care.
Health care is a MAJOR, MAJOR issue in this country. We need to stop looking at health care as a commodity. Health care, like education, needs to be available to everyone, because the healthier our populous is, the stronger we are. There’s nothing saying that if you happen to be able to afford it, or if your employer wants to woo you with an added perk, that additional, “better” insurance can’t be purchased. Aren’t we also able to send our kids to expensive private schools if we so choose? Health care and education are interchangeable, and we need to change our attitudes regarding it. Think about it from this perspective — if you can’t afford to get yourself antibiotics, making you still contagious, than everyone you come in contact with is exposed. And maybe some of those people have health insurance. But isn’t it cheaper to treat one person rather than fifty?

3. Gay marriage.
This is third only because it doesn’t affect me directly, however it also dovetails into the civil rights issue. Now, while I understand that some of the GOP candidates aren’t for the “Marriage Amendment” (which is a complete abomination that it’s even suggested in a so-called highly educated society), however they’re also not necessarily for noting that the right for same-sex marriage falls under the Equal Protection clause in our Constitution. If your church is against this, fine. Don’t marry gays. You have the right to refuse to marry anyone you want in your Church, as it’s private property. However, don’t take the right away for another Church to perform this ceremony, or for a Justice of the Peace to perform it. They have a right to have their families just as much as anyone else, and for us to deny that is simply unacceptable.

4. Education.
This is where I put my “State’s Rights” hat on. NCLB has failed. Miserably. There was no NCLB when I went to school. There is now. And, now, kids are getting into college – GOOD colleges – and aren’t even able to write a sentence with any command of simple grammar and syntax. HOW is this a good thing? Education is not one-size-fits-all, and having a “national standard” that’s so rigid is not going to make our schools stronger.

5. Iraq War.
Yes, of all of these, this is my last issue. But, the reason it’s last on the list is part of why it has to be here to begin with. We have so many major domestic issues to deal with, a sub-prime mortgage crisis, and debt up to our eyeballs, and what do we choose to spend our money on? A war over oil. Why not take that money and fund health care and education LIKE IT SHOULD BE FUNDED, and also fund research for alternative energy sources (particularly, ones that DON’T involve raping our farmlands by producing ethanol, which the production of not only spends more energy than it saves, but also has raised the prices on all produce as farmers would rather get ethanol subsidies than grow vegetables and raise cattle). It’s not even about the troops, or the mistakes of the past, or any of that rhetoric for me, at this point. It’s a waste of resources on something that very few in this country still support, and it’s only making an exacerbated domestic crisis worse than it already is.

So, seeing that the Republican candidates, by and large (to various degrees), are anti-abortion, pro-HMO, anti-gay marriage, pro-NCLB, and pro-war, they stand for everything that I stand against. So, yes, this election, I AM voting issue. It just happens to be that the Democrats are the only ones who stand for these issues.