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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?

(Photo credit)

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  1. Yes, they do. Social issues are garbage issues. It’s not that they aren’t important, it’s that there is a pretty simple and clear cut right and wrong in the United States. I’m not talking about a religious imperative either.

    When our nation was founded (for the second time) we were given a pretty clear and precise outline for what the Government’s morality should be. It was a blueprint for the future, and even though the politicians of the time weren’t able to make the nation exactly as they envisioned it, they knew that their descendants would.

    Issues like gay marriage or birth control are throw away issues because we all know exactly where we should be standing on those issues.

    The Constitution tells us, without any room for error.

    All people are equal.
    All people have a right to a healthy happy life.All people have a right to be protected from the corruption of business.

    It’s all there in the text. 

    I think my biggest problem with Conservatives is that they claim to be defenders of the Constitution, when in reality, there isn’t a politician out there that seems to me to be able to understand it.

    The fact that we’re still fighting over such blatantly obvious wrongs is weakening us as Americans.

    We can’t deal with the real issues because we’re too busy fighting battles that should have been settled decades, if not centuries ago. 

  2. I may tend to oversimplify, but sometimes I feel as though social issues are the ONLY issues.  If we are incapable of understanding such basics as human equality then we have no chance of solving any other issues.  We can’t continue to build a house without a solid foundation unless we want to continue watching the walls fall down around us.

  3. I come from Jewish Heritage, but not in a particularly religious family.  I grew up in the midst of the Civil Rights era.  Israel stands in Statehood after thousands of years of bloodshed paving the rights to EXIST and be RECOGNIZED.  With my fair skin and red hair, I’ve been called a Mick all my life.  That’s fine, even though I am 100% Russian decent.  I can roll with it.  Through 51 years, I’ve been called a Christ Killer.  I got into school yard scraps as a kid because I had glasses, freckles and frizzy red hair.  I call my hair, when bereft of product – JewFro.  I can pass or claim as I want to.  On this Internet, I will CLAIM my heritage that is otherwise unseen.  Anyone socially interacting on the internet has made a lot of good room in their mental Equality Space.  We don’t know who we are talking to – so – we respect EVERYONE as EQUAL until they misbehave in some social breech of manners by outrageous statement, profane or disruptive interactions.  It has nothing to do with what their ethnic, color or sexual orientation is behind the keyboards. 
    The Founding Father’s were all about equality as it meant in their time.  Slaves were not equal.  Women were not equal.  Both were property of MEN.  The continual need to remodel the Equality Space in our American belief sets is ELASTIC by design.  America remains elastic as long as we are a nation who keeps to it’s Constitution.  As the majority core values open, per era and issue of the day … our ability to replace fear of ‘difference’ with acceptance makes room and RIGHTS for all of us “huddled masses”.  There will be prejudice as long as there are humans.  Someone will be bullied, culled or bled until they stake their claim no matter how long it may take.  
    There’s always a new group to cull out and question the personal rights to live in the same environment of FREEDOM as you or me.   Are you RED or are you BLUE?  I believe I am purple if you mix the two and take a middle view of good and bad life in America.  This long GOP contest for the nomination is really showing the majority of INCLUSIVE citizens how over the top and fractured the “Conservative” party truly is.  The party definitions of Fiscal Conservative became Christian Conservative during the Reagan era.  If Ronald Reagan ran for the GOP in 2012, he’d be dragged through the streets as some kind of nut job by his own party.  You can have outrageous Joe Plumber’s, Michelle Bachmann’s and Rick Santorum’s getting play, but eventually being left out of the race because they do not INCLUDE most people.  You have a slacker Republican like Ron Paul who won’t drop out of the race because he’s a hybrid Libertarian.
    It’s Mitt or Newt.  And no one likes either of them.  The latest ridiculous turn on women’s health care insurance went into Bizarro World.  Your tax dollars will be directly funding birth control so women can be wanton became a HEATED DISCUSSION.  That’s how desperate these rubes have shown themselves to be!  Planned Parenthood by design of it’s NAME says what they really do.   They are vomited upon by over indulged GOP candidates each election cycle. 
    The EQUALITY of Gay people WILL become the Law of the Land.  The majority of us accept and understand that sexual orientation in the USA as NORMAL.   Very soon, common sense and dignity will Constitutionally AMEND inequity for this population of OUR CITIZENS.  So … Matt – let’s talk about legalizing pot so we can pull our states out of the economic toilet – or, how about the gas prices robbing our wallets by continued Wall Street rampant abuse in speculation?   This 14 month campaign ahead of the election may not be so bad after all!  Show us all the crazy this far away from the election – and Obama will win his second term.  

  4. The gay rights thing is just equality; it shouldn’t even be an issue, they’re just people. I also don’t understand how a gay person being around children would do any more harm to a child than a straight man.

    Why would these gay men still let Joe The Plumber hang out when he won’t even share such a big part of his life with them?