Republicans Aren’t Counterculture; You’re Just Dicks

by Penny Robo

Young Republicans: You’re not counterculture, you’re just dicks.

When I saw the headline I was shocked. Being republican is counterculture? As I tried to wrap my head around this, I suddenly recalled another article from last year’s Pride Month, claiming that it’s easier to be gay than Republican.

And as I noted the similarities (not exactly revelatory insights, I admit, but still noteworthy) I began to get a clearer picture of what I already knew when I resided in my home state of California: republicans from liberal areas don’t understand republicans.

What does that mean, exactly? These people are outside the echo chambers that blur the lines between rhetoric and fact and, just like doctors that attempt to keep trans people at an objectifiable distance, view their party in a more conceptual and ideological light. They see the stated ideals and objectives rather than the actions, and fail to perceive it as a living entity capable of deviation from the rigid framework they’ve constructed around it.

Existing in communities where overt racism, homophobia, sexism, and xenophobia are regularly met with disapproving gasps, where they’ve convinced themselves not that prejudice is okay but that it has ceased to exist, creates a filter over their views of the party.

In light of a hard push in political agendas toward regressive treatment of numerous disadvantaged groups, many organizations have opted to turn Pride month and its accompanying celebrations into active resistance against these stances. Unsurprisingly, this has presented as obviously partisan. A recent article featuring interviews with members of the LGBT community showcased a small but noteworthy divide in the feelings surrounding that.

The sentiments on display center around the rejection of gay and trans support as being the exclusive domain of democrats and independents, that individuals can still hold socially, fiscally, and diplomatically conservative views and not withhold support from the LGBT community. And that’s technically true. But in practice, that’s not what we see.

A common claim, one that encapsulated by the birthplace namesake of United States’ oldest and most prominent conservative gay political group, the Log Cabin Republicans, is that Abraham Lincoln’s role as one of our great progressive presidents is historical proof of the Republican party’s ability to stand for equality.

Except that holding onto that view of history requires one to ignore the history that follows. Like Bob Hope’s joke about democrats being brain dead zombies, and how it’s been latched onto by republicans as some type of proof of mainstream media being biased now in a way it wasn’t before, it’s entirely ignorant of the context: the GOP used to be a progressive group, with the democratic party the traditionalist stalwarts of status quo maintenance.

Used to be.

In the mid 20th century, the republican party was feeling its shrinking base lose its power in light of shifting demographics and their solution, while simple, would install a voter and politician base that drastically shifted the course of the party, their rhetoric, ideology, and policy focuses in a way that continues to this day: calling upon the religious to infuse themselves in politics in a way that until then had been considered inappropriate.

This influx of religious support saved the party’s power in the short term, but killed its spirit in the long term. President Lincoln’s Republican party is not the party in power today; it’s been thoroughly skinned and is now worn by something entirely different.

Today, the party is decidedly regressive.

When gay republicans say they can’t believe that only 14% of their community voted for Trump, they’re saying that they can’t believe only 14% of their community voted for a VP that openly supports anti-gay conversion therapy, and the mental gymnastics necessary to maintain that belief are surely incredible. When only 10% of black women vote other than democrat or independent, when only 2% of trans women vote other than democrat or independent, it’s difficult to understand how anyone could be blind to the bigotry on display

Homophobia, transphobia, racism, gerrymandering… the Republican party is a cesspool of regressive, hateful, ugly views, ones clearly obvious in policy and voting records.

Coming out as LGBT isn’t easy, but it’s getting easier. The cultural background noise of us as dangerous deviants is fading, and people are increasingly aware of these factors of our person being separate from our value as people. And at the same time, ideological alignment with the GOP is becoming increasingly connected to implicit or explicit support of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, and jingoism.

Yes, coming out as Republican is often harder than coming out as gay. Because doing so tells everyone that you’re a-ok with bigotry as an ideal to strive for.

And finally, here’s the thing about counterculture: it isn’t about holding a position less occupied, it’s about consciously rejecting and visibly opposing what is considered “the norm”.

So here is what is the norm: a political group routinely rejects the will of the populace it governs in order to increase their power and wealth. Of the gerrymandering cases in the last 20 years, most have been committed by republicans, in a brazen cheating of the system to permit them to routinely lose elections yet win majority status through technicalities… democrats have won the popular vote in 4 of the last 5 presidential elections yet only ascended to the presidency in 2 instances. These are the same politicians that have so successfully engaged in propaganda that a strong majority of voters support the ACA when called by its name, yet that number drops significantly when called Obamacare. This is a party that routinely engages in bad faith politics and negotiations yet will be the first to call the other side obstructionist.

This is the party in power, this is the institution, these are the people in direct control of all that happens, good or bad. This is the machine.

To claim counterculture means only one of two things, the first being that you don’t know what that term means. And the second, much less flattering option is that you’re right but, as republicans hold all the power, your rejection of the cultural norm is entirely based on the moral and ethical principles of the Democratic party. Their failures to progress any of those causes (that the majority of the population uphold) mean that the only thing to reject and counter are their ideologies, in favor of Republican ideologies.

The same ideologies that let blatant racism, xenophobia, and bragging about sexual assault slide because doing so enables them to pursue even more power. Over the past year they’ve displayed time and again their total lack of anything resembling a moral compass, to bend their stated principles to suit any situation. The last 18 months have been a prolonged declaration that their sense of right and wrong and, seemingly, every single exclamation of love for God and country, exist purely as tools of misdirection and plausible deniability.

If you’re truly counterculture by being republican, then it’s because you’re a shitty human being. 

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About Zinnia Jones

My work focuses on insights to be found across transgender healthcare, public health, psychiatry, and history of medicine, integrating these many perspectives and guided by the lived experiences of trans people. I live in Orlando with my family, and work mainly in technical writing.
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One Response to Republicans Aren’t Counterculture; You’re Just Dicks

  1. D Aaron says:

    You do know they are part of a lose coalition of international dicks and some are women as well (need chimeric non-intersex vocal here)

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