One of the many problems with politics in America is its insistence on rigid party lines. As I stood alongside the Pride Parade route in Chicago a few weeks ago, the gay Republicans rolled past, prompting boos and bead throwing in the opposite direction from parade-goers. My friend Tyler and I looked at each other and cheered for them because, with that reaction, we aren’t going to get anywhere.
The person who seems to understand that quite well these days is Meghan McCain: John McCain’s daughter, The Daily Beast columnist and — as of late — the most vocal supporter of gay rights among Republicans. Unlike her father, however, many Republicans consider her a hack — saying she’s not conservative enough, and not fully supportive of the party.
“I’d be flattered to be considered the anti–Ann Coulter, the anti–Rush Limbaugh,” the 24-year-old McCain told OUT.
As the article points out, she is not shy about firing back at her critics, who claim her pro-gay marriage stance should be enough to get her booted from the GOP. Out notes “…conservative columnist Laura Ingraham … dismissed [McCain] as a “plus-sized model” (“Kiss my fat ass,” McCain retorted on an episode of The View.)”
To many of us growing up during the reign of Bush, “Republican” became synonymous with being anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-choice and racist qualities George H.W. Bush definitely helped bring out in the party. On the most basic level, however, Republicans stand for (or used to stand for) minimal government involvement in the lives of citizens — a point McCain hangs on to:
“’If two people fall in love, they should have the option to get married just like I can,” she told Stephen Colbert, pointing out the inherent hypocrisy of a party that believes in keeping government out of people’s private lives, except when those people are gay men and women.
McCain’s fight for gay marriage has picked up steam in recent months. She posed for the NO H8 photo campaign , writes about the issue often for The Daily Beast and perhaps most notably, gave quite a controversial speech to the Log Cabin Republicans in April:
I am concerned about the environment. I love to wear black. I think government is best when it stays out of people’s lives and business as much as possible. I love punk rock. I believe in a strong national defense. I have a tattoo. I believe government should always be efficient and accountable. I have lots of gay friends. And yes, I am a Republican.
She didn’t end there, saying that “old-school Republicans” were “scared s–tless” of the future and that people are ready to move forward. In the Out interview, she discusses SamuelWurzelbacher (aka Joe the Plumber) who gave an interview to Christianity Today, hating on “queers,” saying, “I wouldn’t have them anywhere near my children.” How Christian of him! McCain, whose father’s campaign hoped Joe would give them a much-needed boost late in the election, retorted: “Joe the Plumber — you can quote me — is a dumbass. He should stick to plumbing.”
For the record, McCain still considers herself “pro-life” and is against stem cell research, but I can’t help but wonder if those declarations were made while her dad was still running for President.
Maybe McCain doesn’t “belong” in the Republican party, but is there really any party worth belonging to anymore? Obviously, most of us support those who will work toward our goals and who share our beliefs and ideals, but how often does that actually happen? How much of politics is lip service? Maybe instead of booing at the gay Republicans, we can sit down and talk to them, find out that we all have more in common than we think.
You don’t have to agree with someone 100 percent in order to find a common ground. McCain recognizes that, and she knows that until Republicans loosen up — they aren’t going to go very far.
What do you think of Meghan McCain?