Many times I’ve encountered other gay, queer or otherwise non-straight, non-cis persons and been confronted with the uncomfortable realization that they have conservative views. “I’m socially liberal and fiscally conservative,” they say. Is professing social liberalism enough to excuse a divisive mindset against those in impoverished environments, even indirectly, by supporting fiscal conservatism?
Behind this train of thought is the trickle-down economic theory. One can argue it’s validity ’til the end of time, but cold hard data and historical facts show that all this theory does is make rich people more rich.
It seems like an excuse for conservative LGBTQIA-plus-identifying persons to say their unfledged economic opinions help everyone, while ignoring the more progressive economic policies that actually directly help those in need. What is left is a fancified fantasy of a chance of helping someone. It must be nice to be so worry-free about the indigent, the homeless, people of color, even fellow LGBTQIA+ or any combination thereof and their well being.
“Trickle-down economics says that the Reagan and Bush tax cuts should have helped people at all income levels. Instead, the opposite occurred. Income inequality worsened. Between 1979 and 2005, after-tax household income rose 6 percent for the bottom fifth. That sounds great until you see what happened for the top fifth. Their income increased by 80 percent. The top 1 percent saw their income triple. Instead of trickling down, it appears that prosperity trickled up.” [Taken from TheBalance.com]
In a notoriously conservative state like Arizona, the minimum wage continues to rise. Need there be a citation of proof which shows how an income raise could benefit a person, a family? No. However, one might speculate on the validity of the current minimum wage.
According to MIT, “A single-mother with two children earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour needs to work 139 hours per week, more hours than there are in a five-day week, to earn a living wage.”
In case you’re wondering, that leaves 29 hours of free time a week for said single mother. Guess how many hours a day that leaves for her to sleep, eat, shower, run errands, do everything else she would do in her day other than work — only 7.25 hours! The average 9-to-5 employee has a little over 18 hours to enjoy their lives.
To say tax cuts for the rich will bring prosperity to Americans is like saying giving people with homes more food will help feed the homeless because there is more to go around. That ignores the simple fact that people hardly choose to share what’s theirs. Sounds like we need a law to make people share for the betterment of society. Oh yeah — that’s called taxes.
A minimum wage increase is often viewed as a handout for lazy people who just want more money. No one is saying the working class shouldn’t have to work hard to take care of themselves and their families. What liberals such as myself are saying, though, is that we should be able to prosper by working hard at one job, or two if we please. When we are unable to attain a decent standard of living that way, something must be done for the well-being of our citizens.
When you compile these general economic dilemmas with the way it disproportionally affects the LGBTQIA+ community, especially those of color, the fiscally-conservative position becomes an indirect act of bigotry. According to the Williams Institute, “…African-American same-sex couples are significantly more likely to be poor than African-American married heterosexual counterparts and are roughly three times more likely to live in poverty than white same-sex couples.”
Considering all this, is there any part of you that actually still believes conservative economics is beneficial to our community, to people of color, to even an average working class family?
Now let’s take a break from the financial aspect of being a gay Republican and shift our focus toward what it actually means to support the Republican Party at this time in U.S. politics.
“…back to 2000, when Pence was running for Congress. His campaign web site at the time touted his call to add a stipulation to the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act.” [from Snopes.com]
“Congress should support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus. Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.” [taken from the Mike Pence campaign website statement, via Web.Archive.org]
Gay Republicans can say they hate Trump and Pence and conversion therapy all they want, but realistically, taking claim to any aspect of the Republican Party puts you face-to-face with the unavoidable reality that there’s this thing called a party platform and in the Republican version, it contains a haunting clause: “We support the right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children.”
Some would say this just means a parent can get care for their child however they want. This could be considered fairly benign. But when you actually take into consideration what it could mean vs. what it should mean, that meaning of the clause becomes debatable.
The vague language would absolutely mean support for parents trying to “cure” their children with conversion therapy.
What gay Republicans should now ask themselves is: “Do I want to be associated with a party that advocates such homophobic atrocities?” You might say you are exempt from this question, because you don’t approve of such actions. But with the fiscal ideals you think you have, you actually are indirectly approving of the suffering of poor, underage, homeless, indigent, LGBTIA+ individuals and people of color.
Is this really what you want to represent?
Joey Moreno is currently enrolled in El Centro College as a PR/Literary Arts double major. He has worked in the Dallas high-end restaurant industry for more than three years and is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.