Do Social Issues Get in the Way of ‘Real’ Issues?

If you’ve been a reader of my blog for a while, you know that the issue of equal rights is near and dear to my heart. Having grown up in an environment that spanned two opposite ends of the equality spectrum, I’ve walked into adulthood with some pretty interesting stories to tell, but more importantly, an open-minded perspective and a confident stance in my faith.

So here we are in another election year – and here I am wondering if things will ever change. 

I woke up ridiculously early this morning and caught an interview with Samuel Wurzelbacher (aka “Joe the Plumber – remember that guy?), who’s currently running for Congress. During the interview, Wurzelbacher was asked to defend/explain comments he had made previously related to his thoughts on homosexuals:

“At a state level, it’s up to them. I don’t want it to be a federal thing. I personally still think it’s wrong. People don’t understand the dictionary–it’s called queer. Queer means strange and unusual. It’s not like a slur, like you would call a white person a honky or something like that. You know, God is pretty explicit in what we’re supposed to do–what man and woman are for. Now, at the same time, we’re supposed to love everybody and accept people, and preach against the sins. I’ve had some friends that are actually homosexual. And, I mean, they know where I stand, and they know that I wouldn’t have them anywhere near my children. But at the same time, they’re people, and they’re going to do their thing.”

When this was brought up during the interview, of course Samuel danced around what he said, wouldn’t comment on whether his opinion on homosexuals in this quote were accurate, and got very uncomfortable.

It’s a common trend amongst stark conservatives, isn’t it? Ask anyone: Romney, Santorum, Gingrich, Bush, whoever – what their thoughts are on gay marriage. They wiggle. They squirm. And usually they throw out buzzwords like “job” and “recession” – in other words, they’re really bad at changing the subject. It’s pretty mind blowing, albeit entertaining, to watch.

Probably because they know, outside of religious beliefs, there’s no valid argument against equal rights – but that’s beside the point.

It’s hard to imagine someone like “Joe the Plumber” representing us in Congress, just like it’s impossible for me to imagine Rick Santorum being our President (my wife and I have already decided we’re moving to Canada if that happens). But this brings up a bigger point:

It’s damn near impossible for me to take any potential candidate running for office seriously when they aren’t on board with equal rights. I can’t even look at Santorum’s plan for the economy when he says rape victims should “make the best out of a bad situation”.

I may very well cite with Gingrich’s plan for the economy. I may think “Joe the Plumber” has a brilliant plan for creating job. But I don’t care, because I disagree with them on such an intimate and personal level, it clouds me from looking at their position on other issues.

Social issues matterthey may even matter more to Generation Y, but my question to all of you, as voters, as thinkers, as human beings – does your stance on social issues get in the way of the “real” issues, like the economy, immigration, or education?

Is it possible to look past someone who “wouldn’t let a homosexual near his kids” and see a man who may have a ridiculously awesome plan to help working-class America?

For me, personally, I don’t think it is. Social issues ARE real issues. It’s unfortunate, very unfortunate, that we can’t agree on such basic things as equal rights for all. If we could, maybe, just maybe, we could find common ground on the other issues that matter.

What do you think? What’s your take? What matters most to you?

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