This time around the comment of the week was left by Derek Washington on my post, "Ken Mehlman's Apology [Open Thread]." He and I couldn't disagree more.
I'd said that I would accept Ken Mehlman's apology for his anti-equality work on behalf of the Republican party since he was making amends now and apologized. I said we needed folks on both sides of the aisle if we were going to succeed as a movement. Derek replied:
Derek VegasstyleGuy Washington
I completely disagree on the idea that we need folks from both sides of the aisles. What we need is to elect pro-equality democrats. The republican party has spent years trying to throw us in the ovens and doesn't deserve anything other than irrelevance. As far as KM is concerned, I'm sure he regrets what he's done. That doesn't mean the lives he helped ruin will ever be whole again. However, my dad taught me that if someone is man enough to apologize, you must accept it. But, keep an eye on him.
Simply put, we live in a government comprised of a two-party system. One party will not always remain in the majority. We might as well give up entirely if we pin our hopes on having enough pro-equality Democrats to pass our legislation when they're in power. As we say right after Obama's elections, a candidate's views on LGBT issues is not a litmus test for Democrat voters. Hell, they can't even walk in lockstep on issues like a woman's right to choose or union membership. They'll never be there for us in enough numbers that we won't also need some help from the Republicans.
New York state is a perfect example. Those few Republicans that voted their conscience tipped the balance in our favor. Growing the ranks of pro-equality Republicans is also a worthy strategy so we don't have to be dependent upon one political faction for our civil rights. Does the far right currently dominate the Republican party? Of course. But just as the religious right engineered a takeover of that party, moderate and progressive Republicans will have to stage a comeback.
Will it take forever and a day to swing the party generally pro-gay like the Democrats already are? Definitely. But we don't need the entire party. We need 50% plus one to get our legislation passed. It doesn't matter what political description they attach to themselves, I just want their vote in favor of LGBT civil rights. I understand partisan politics and I always vote Democrat, but, still, we'll need as many votes as we can get to succeed.